Dr. NicolasCermakian, PhD
Associate Professor

Molecular biology

Douglas Mental Health University Institute
6875 LaSalle Blvd
H4H 1R3
514-761-6131 ext. 4936


Dr. Cermakian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University and the Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Chronobiology in the Research Centre of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. His work deals with the molecular mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms and their links with physiology, in particular the immune system. More specifically, research in his laboratory focuses on the following topics: 1) The molecular mechanisms of circadian clocks: This research axis deals with the function and regulation of mouse clock genes. Recent work in the laboratory has underlined the role of orphan nuclear receptors in the clock and the function and post-translational regulation of the transcription factors CLOCK and BMAL1. Present work seeks to identify new players in the mammalian circadian clock. 2) The circadian control of immune functions: In collaboration with Dr. Nathalie Labrecque (Université de Montréal), work in the laboratory aims at defining how the circadian system regulates the immune response and, more specifically, the response of T lymphocytes to antigen presentation. This work will help understand the link between the circadian system and defence against pathogens and how disturbed rhythmicity can lead to disease such as cancer. 3) The regulation of human clock genes: A collaboration with Dr. Diane B. Boivin (McGill University, Douglas Mental Health University Institute) consists in the study of the expression of human clock genes and its use as a marker for human peripheral clocks. Ongoing research aims at better defining the environmental cues that affect human peripheral clocks and how to use this knowledge to help shift workers and other circadian-rhythm compromised subjects.

Undergraduate: BSc, Biochemistry, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
Graduate: PhD, Biochemistry, Université de Montréal

Postdoctoral Fellow : Dr. P. Sassone-Corsi's lab, Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Strasbourg, France

President of the Canadian Society for Chronobiology
Secretary of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms

Member of the Editorial Board of the journal Chronobiology International

Yang, Y., Duguay, D., Bédard, N., Rachalski, A., Baquiran, G., Na, C.H., Storch, K.F., Peng, J., Wing, S.S., Cermakian, N. (2012) Regulation of behavioral circadian rhythms and clock protein PER1 by the deubiquitinating enzyme USP2. Biology Open, 1:789-801, doi:10.1242/bio.20121990.

Fortier, E.E., Rooney, J., Dardente, H., Hardy, M.P., Labrecque, N., Cermakian, N. (2011) Circadian variation of the response of T cells to antigen. Journal of Immunology, 15;187(12):6291-300. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Duguay, D., Bélanger-Nelson, E., Mongrain, V., Beben, A., Khatchadourian, A., Cermakian, N. (2011) Dynein light chain Tctex-type 1 modulates orexin signaling through its interaction with orexin 1 receptor. PLoS ONE, 6(10): e26430.

Dufour, C.R., Pham, N.H.H., Levasseur, M.P., Eichner, L.J., Wilson, B.J., Duguay, D., Poirier-Héon, J.F., Cermakian, N., Giguère, V. (2011) Genomic convergence between ERRα, PROX1 and BMAL1 in circadian control of metabolism. PLoS Genetics, 7(6):e1002143.

Duguay D, Cermakian N. The crosstalk between physiology and circadian clock proteins. Chronobiology International. 2009;26(8):1479-1513.

Duguay D, Cermakian N. The crosstalk between physiology and circadian clock proteins. Chronobiology International. 2009;26(8):1479-1513.

Mongrain V, Ruan X, Dardente H, Fortier EE, Cermakian N. Clock-dependent and independent transcriptional control of the two isoforms from the mouse Rorγ gene. Genes to Cells. 2008;13(12):1197-1210.

James FO, Boivin DB, Charbonneau S, Bélanger V, Cermakian N. Expression of clock genes in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells throughout the sleep/wake and circadian cycles. Chronobiology International. 2007;24(6):1009-1034.

James FO, Cermakian N, Boivin DB. Circadian rhythms of melatonin, cortisol and clock gene expression to during simulated night shift work. Sleep. 2007;30(11):1427-1436.

Dardente H, Fortier EE, Martineau V, Cermakian N. CRYPTOCHROMES impair phosphorylation of transcriptional activators in the clock: a general mechanism for circadian repression. Biochemical Journal. 2007;402(3):525-536.