Research summary

Dr. Eftekhar Eftekharpour’s laboratory is focused on examination of molecular events in neuronal health and disease. The lab aims to understand how neurons maintain their complex structure and function.

Neurons rely on high levels of oxidative phosphorylative respiration for energy production and therefore are exposed to high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This increases the possibility of oxidative damage of cellular proteins.

Neurons have developed efficient protein degradation systems to recycle the old and damaged proteins by their proteasome and in their lysosomes. Deficiency of these systems in aging and in neurodegeneration diseases result in accumulation of damaged and undigested proteins, causing neuronal death. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of these diseases and is identified by accumulation of Amyloid plaques and formation of neurofibrillary tangles.

The lab focuses on understanding why these events occur, and the thioredoxin system, a major antioxidant system, which is known to decrease in AD brain.

Dr. Eftekharpour’s research has shown that thioredoxin deficiency can unleash a series of events resulting in alteration of lysosomes and in neuronal nuclei.

Information driven from this basic research has led us to formulate novel therapeutic approaches for targeting neuronal cell death after spinal cord injury and AD.

Another aspect of Dr. Eftekharpour’s research in our group investigates the involvement of cellular redox status in neural stem cells proliferation, differentiation, and death.

Using patient derived neurons to model neurodegenerative diseases, we aim to enhance our understanding of the disease and to use them for drug discovery approaches.

Research themes 

  • Autophagy-apoptosis cross talk
  • Cellular antioxidants
  • Neurobiology of diseases
  • Neuron-glial interaction
  • Oxidative stress
  • Protein degradation systems
  • Stem cell biology 

Research interests 

  • Role of oxidative stress in pathophysiology of neurodegenerative disease
  • Neuroprotection strategies for treatment of spinal cord injury
  • Examination of nuclear events in neurodegenerative diseases
  • Role of thioredoxin system in health and disease
  • Aging and neurodegeneration
  • Neural stem cells biology and their application for human diseases


  • Aging
  • Lysosomes
  • Neurobiology
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Oxidative stress
  • Regulated cell death systems
  • Thioredoxin system

Research groups


Dr. Eftekhar Eftekharpour is an associate professor in the physiology and pathophysiology department and the regenerative medicine program at the Max Rady College of Medicine. He is a cellular neurobiologist with interest in molecular biology, biochemistry and subcellular neuroimaging. 

Eftekhar holds a bachelor of science in animal sciences and master’s degree in human histology from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran and is a PhD graduate from the University of Saskatchewan (anatomy and cell biology). After graduation from PhD, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Michael Fehlings at the Toronto Western Research Hospital and focused on cellular and molecular changes in spinal cord injury and models of central nervous system demyelination. Using neural stem cells transplantation, he showed that myelination can rectify the altered molecular structure of the injured and demyelinated axons. 

His independent research at UM started in 2014 and is focused on molecular mechanisms that regulate neuronal autophagy and apoptosis. Using molecular assays and imaging tools, his research has uncovered new concepts in structure and function of lysosome and nucleus in the context of in vitro and in vivo models. These new discoveries are currently used for translational research in the fields of neurotrauma and neurodegenerative diseases.


PhD (anatomy and cell biology), University of Saskatchewan (2001)

Master of Science (human histology), Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran (1991)

Bachelor of Science (animal sciences), University of Tehran, Iran (1989)


Synthes Basic Science Award, American Association of Neurological surgeons (2007) 

Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship Grant (2005-2007)

Lawson Foundation Postdoctoral fellowship, Toronto Western Hospital (2004-2005)

Arthur Smyth Scholarship, University of Saskatchewan (2000-2001)

Contact us

Physiology and Pathophysiology
432 Basic Medical Sciences Building
745 Bannatyne Avenue
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0J9 Canada