Valerie Mongrain, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Neurosciences, Université de Montréal
Director of the Molecular Sleep Physiology Laboratory
514-338-2222 ext. 3323


Postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience at the University of Lausanne (2010)
Postdoctoral fellowship in psychiatry at McGill University (2008)
Ph.D. in neurological sciences from the University of Montreal (2007)
M.Sc. in Neurological Sciences from the University of Montreal (2005)
B.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Montreal (2002)

Research interests

Molecular regulation of sleep and biological rhythms. Links between sleep homeostasis and synaptic plasticity. Involvement of synaptic adhesion proteins in the homeostatic and circadian regulation of sleep. Pathophysiology of sleep disorders and associations between sleep disorders and psychiatric or neurological diseases.

Methodological approaches

Electrophysiology (electroencephalography and electromyography), spectral analysis of the electroencephalogram, telemetry, molecular biology (e.g. quantification of the expression of messenger RNA and proteins, measurements of protein-protein or protein-DNA interaction by immunoprecipitation), immunohistochemistry and histology, behavioral and cognitive measures in rodents (e.g. neurological deficit, spatial memory).


Canada Research Chair in Molecular Sleep Physiology

NSERC Discovery grant

CIHR project grant - co-researcher with Jonathan Brouillette

Current team

Julien Dufort-Gervais, M.Sc.

Research Coordinator

Cassandra C. Areal, M.Sc.

Medical Student
Université de Montréal

Maria Neus Ballester Roig, M.Sc.

Ph.D. candidate
Université de Montréal

Morgane Regniez, M.Sc.

Ph.D. candidate
Université de Montréal

Tanya Leduc, B.Sc.

M.Sc. candidate
Université de Montréal


Chloé Provost

Animal Health Technologists

Research Assistant

Lydia Hannou, M.Sc.

Université de Montréal

Emma O’Callaghan, Ph.D.

Université de Montréal

Erika Bélanger-Nelson, M.Sc.

Research Coordinator

McGill University

Marlène Freyburger, Ph.D.

Université de Montréal

Meriem Sabir, M.Sc.

Université de Montréal

Renaud Massart, Ph.D.

McGill University

Adeline Rachalski, Ph.D.

Université de Montréal

Pierre-Olivier Gaudreault, Ph.D.

Université de Montréal

Janine El Helou, M.Sc.

Université de Montréal

Selected publications

Khlghatyan J, Evstratova A, Bozoyan L, Chamberland S, Chatterjee D, Marakhovskaia A, Soares Silva T, Toth K, Mongrain V, Beaulieu JM. Fxr1 regulates sleep and synaptic homeostasis. EMBO J 2020;39(21):e103864. doi: 10.15252/embj.2019103864.

Dufort-Gervais J, Provost C, Charbonneau L, Norris CM, Calon F, Mongrain V, Brouillette J. Neuroligin-1 is altered in the hippocampus of Alzheimer’s disease patients and mouse models, and modulates the toxicity of amyloid-beta oligomers. Sci Rep 2020;10(1):6956. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-63255-6.

Hubbard J, Gent TC, Hoekstra MMB, Emmenegger Y, Mongrain V, Landolt HP, Adamantidis AR, Franken P. Rapid fast-delta decay following prolonged wakefulness marks a phase of wake-inertia in NREM sleep. Nat Commun 2020;11(1):3130. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16915-0.

Areal CC, Cao R, Sonenberg N, Mongrain V. Wakefulness/sleep architecture and electroencephalographic activity in mice lacking the translational repressor 4E-BP1 or 4E-BP2. Sleep 2020;43(2). pii: zsz210. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz210.

Guisle I, Gratuze M, Petry S, Morin F, Keraudren R, Whittington RA, Hébert SS, Mongrain V, Planel E. Circadian and sleep/wake-dependent variations in tau phosphorylation are driven by temperature. Sleep 2020;43(4):zsz266. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz266.

Hannou L, Roy PG, Ballester Roig MN, Mongrain V. Transcriptional control of synaptic components by the clock machinery. Eur J Neurosci 2020;51(1):241-267. doi: 10.1111/ejn.14294.

Dufort-Gervais J, Mongrain V, Brouillette J. Bidirectional relationships between sleep and amyloid-beta in the hippocampus. Neurobiol Learn Mem 2019;160:108-117. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2018.06.009.

Seok BS, Cao F, Bélanger-Nelson E, Provost C, Gibbs S, Jia Z, Mongrain V. The effect of Neuroligin-2 absence on sleep architecture and electroencephalographic activity in mice. Mol Brain 2018;11(1):52. doi: 10.1186/s13041-018-0394-3.

Hannou L, Bélanger-Nelson E, O’Callaghan EK, Dufort-Gervais J, Ballester Roig MN, Roy PG, Beaulieu JM, Cermakian N, Mongrain V. Regulation of the Neuroligin-1 gene by clock transcription factors. J Biol Rhythms 2018;33(2):166-178. doi: 10.1177/0748730418761236.

Lina JM, O’Callaghan EK, Mongrain V. Scale-free dynamics of the mouse wakefulness and sleep electroencephalogram quantified using Wavelet-Leaders. Clocks Sleep 2018;1(1):50-64. doi: 10.3390/clockssleep1010006.

Freyburger M, Poirier G, Carrier J, Mongrain V. Shorter duration of non-rapid eye movement sleep slow waves in EphA4 knockout mice. J Sleep Res 2017;26(5):539-546. doi: 10.1111/jsr.12532.

Kiessling S, O’Callaghan EK, Freyburger M, Cermakian N, Mongrain V. The cell adhesion molecule EphA4 is involved in circadian clock functions. Genes Brain Behav 2018;17(1):82-92. doi: 10.1111/gbb.12387.

Bedont JL, LeGates TA, Buhr E, Bathini A, Ling JP, Bell B, Wu MN, Wong PC, Van Gelder RN, Mongrain V, Hattar S, Blackshaw S. An LHX1-regulated transcriptional network controls sleep/wake coupling and thermal resistance of the central circadian clockworks. Curr Biol 2017;27(1):128-136. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.11.008.


Molecules involved in the recovering aspect of sleep

The main goal of our research program is to identify the molecular mechanisms of neuronal plasticity that govern the regulation of sleep and its functions (e.g. its functions in brain recovery). Our work is particularly interested in the roles in the circadian and homeostatic regulation of sleep of synaptic adhesion molecules as well as those of other proteins involved in different forms of neuronal plasticity such as synaptic plasticity and structural plasticity. At the same time, the program aims to identify the molecular relationships between psychiatric / neurological diseases and the regulation of wakefulness and sleep.

Our research generates essential data for the development of new therapeutic approaches that target sleep in order to benefit the mental health of individuals with sleep disorders (ex: anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, head trauma, neurodegenerative diseases). Given the high prevalence of sleep disorders and the intimate relationship between mental health and sleep disorders, our program therefore has a direct implication on human health.