Neurosciences & Mental Health
Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati is a Staff Neuropathologist in The Hospital for Sick Children’s (SickKids) Department of Paediatric Laboratory Medicine and an Associate Scientist at SickKids Research Institute.
She obtained a PhD in neurobiology under the supervision of Dr. Andre Parent at Laval University. This was followed by post-doctoral studies at Yale in Dr. Goldman-Rakic and Dr. Richard Robitaille's lab at University of Montreal. She obtained her MD from University of Montreal, and residency training in neuropathology was achieved at University of Toronto. Her research interest has evolved over time from anatomical organization of basal ganglia and related structures to long-term effects of head trauma and neurodegenerative disease.
The central theme of Dr. Hazrati’s research is molecular mechanisms involved in neurodegeneration induced by trauma. She has extensive training and background in the neuropathological changes seen in the late stages of these different conditions, and her approach is to generate and test hypotheses from observations made in human brains.
Her research in brain and spinal cord trauma focuses on effects of concussion on the central nervous system, and recently, she’s developed a rodent model of concussion that recapitulates the changes seen in chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Her research has demonstrated that specific inflammatory pathways are the main driving force inducing long-term degenerative changes seen after trauma. Inhibition of such pathways can address the acute and chronic effects of trauma on brain.
More recently, her team unraveled the chronic inflammation noted in brains with history of trauma, is generated by senescent glial cells. They have hypothesized that trauma (even mild subtypes) can generate DNA damage in neurons and glial cells. These damages can get repaired in most cases, but if trauma is repeated, with aging and possibly genetic background of individuals, the DNA damage becomes permanent in glial cells. The latter transform and become senescent cells and acquire senescence associated secretory phenotype, excreting exosome with inflammatory cargo that can affect surrounding neurons and their function.
- 2009–2015: Staff Neuropathologist, University Health Network, Toronto
- 2009–2015: Principal investigator, TanzCRND, University of Toronto
- 2009–2012: Lecturer, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto
- 2012–2018: Assistant Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto
- 2018–Present: Associate professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto
- 2015–Present: Staff Neuropathologist, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario
- 2019–2024: Principal Investigator. Long-term Effects of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Through Premature Cellular Senescence. CIHR.
- 2019–2024: Co-investigator. Neuropathological Assessment of TBI-related Neurodegeneration and Neurocognitive Decline - Center Without Walls (NATBI CWOW). NIH-U54.