Carol Schuurmans

Department of Biochemistry


Sunnybrook Health Science Centre
2075 Bayview Ave., Room S116a, Toronto, Ontario Canada M4N 3M5
Research Interests
Brain & Neuroscience
Appointment Status
Accepting PhD students

Dr Carol Schuurmans is the Dixon Family Chair in Ophthalmology Research and Senior Scientist at the Sunnybrook Research Institute.

She completed her BSc and MSc degrees in Microbiology at the University of Alberta and her PhD degree in Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto.

She then undertook postdoctoral studies at the Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire in Strasbourg, France.

Dr Schuurmans joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary as an Assistant Professor in 2001, and became full Professor in 2014.

In July, 2016, Dr Schuurmans joined the Sunnybrook Research Institute and became full Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto.

In 2018 she was cross-appointed to the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Patholobiology at the University of Toronto.

Research Synopsis

The focus of my research is on the specification of neural cell fates in the developing central nervous system, in particular in the developing retina and neocortex.

I am now applying my knowledge of neural development to understand the injury response, and to mobilize endogenous stem cells for tissue repair.

My lab is also developing lineage conversion strategies for neural cell replacement therapies.

Selected Publications

Han S, Dennis D, Balakrishnan A, Dixit R, Britz O, Touahri Y, Olender T, Brand M, Zinyk D, Guillemot F, Kurrasch D, Schuurmans C. 2018. A non-canonical role for the proneural gene Neurog1 in reducing the rate of neocortical neurogenesis. Development. In press.

Rahimi Balaei M, Jiao X, Dixit R, Schuurmans C, Marzban H. 2018. Zebrin II is ectopically expressed in microglia in the cerebellum of Neurogenin 2 null mice. Glia. in press

Tachibana N, Touahri Y, Dixit R, David LA, Adnani L, Cantrup R, Aavani T, Wong RO, Logan CC, Kurek K, Schuurmans C. 2018. Generation of an animal model of Ptenhamartoma tumour syndrome in the retina. Disease Models and Mechanisms. 2018 Apr 24. pii: dmm.031005. doi: 10.1242/dmm.031005. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 29716894

Dennis D, Wilkinson G, Li S, Dixit R, Adnani L, Balakrishnan A, Han S, Kovach C,  Gruenig N, Kurrasch D, Dyck R, Schuurmans C. 2017. Neurog2 and Ascl1 together regulate a postmitotic derepression circuit to govern laminar fate specification in the neocortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Jun 20;114(25):E4934-E4943. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1701495114. PMID:28584103.

Zhang Q, Zagozewski J Cheng S, Dixit R, Zhang S, de Melo J, Mu X, Klein WH, Brown NL, Wigle JT, Schuurmans C, Eisenstat DD. 2017. Regulation of Brn3b by Dlx1 and Dlx2 is required for late-born retinal ganglion cell differentiation in the vertebrate retina. Development. May 1;144(9):1698-1711. PMID:28356311

Tachibana N, Zinyk D, Ringuette R, Wallace V, Schuurmans C. 2017. Heterochronic pellet assay to test cell-cell interactions in the mouse retina. Bio-protocols. Feb 5;7(3). pii: e2117. doi: 10.21769/BioProtoc.2117. PMID:28367479

Marsters C, Thornton H, Aslanpour S, Klenin N, Wilkinson G, Schuurmans C, Pittman Q, Kurrasch D. 2016. Oligodendrocyte development in the embryonic tuberal hypothalamus and the influence of Ascl1. Neural Development. 2016. Nov 18;11(1):20

Tachibana N, Cantrup R, Dixit R, Touahri Y, Kaushik G, Zinyk D, Daftarian N, Biernaskie J, McFarlane S, Schuurmans C. 2016. Pten regulates amacrine cell differentiation by modulating Akt, Tgfb and ERK signaling. J Neuroscience. Sep 7;36(36):9454-71. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0936-16.2016.PMID:27605619

Balakrishnan A, Stykel M, Touahri Y, Stratton JA, ¡Biernaskie J, ¡Schuurmans C. 2016. Temporal analysis of gene expression in the murine Schwann cell lineage and the acutely injured postnatal nerve. PLoS One. Apr 8;11(4):e0153256. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153256. eCollection 2016. PMID:27058953. 

Smiley S, Nickerson P, Comanita L, Daftarian N, El-Sehemy A, Tsai S, Mattan-Lithwick S, Yan K, Thurig S, Touahri Y, Dixit R, Aavani T, deRepentingy Y, Baker A, Tsilfidis C, Biernaskie J, Sauve Y, Schuurmans C, Kothary R, Mears A, Wallace VA. 2016. Establishment of a cone photoreceptor transplantation platform based on a novel cone-GFP reporter mouse line. Scientific Reports. Mar 11;6:22867. doi: 10.1038/srep2286. PMID: 26965927

Adnani L, Langevin LM, Gautier E, Dixit R, Parsons K, Li S, Kaushik G, Wilkinson G, Wilson R, Childs S, Nguyen MD, Journot L, Dehay C, Schuurmans C. 2015. Zac1 regulates the differentiation and migration of neocortical neurons in part via Pac1. J Neuroscience. Sep 30;35(39):13430-47. PMID:26424889

Touahri Y, Adnani L, Mattar P, Markham K, Klenin N, Schuurmans C. 2015. Non-isotopic RNA In Situ Hybridization on Embryonic Sections. Curr. Protoc. Neurosci. Jan 5;70:1.22.1-1.22.25. doi: 10.1002/0471142301.ns0122s70. PMID:25559002

Li S, Mattar P, Dixit R, Lawn S, Wilkinson G, Meier C, Kurrasch DM, ¡Chan JA,  Schuurmans C. 2014. RAS/ERK signaling functions as a proneural lineage switch in cortical development and gliomagenesis. J Neuroscience Feb 5;34(6):2169-90. PMID:24501358.

Dixit R, Wilkinson G, Cancino G,  Shaker T, Adnani L, Li S, Kurrasch DM, Chan JA, Olson E, Kaplan D, Zimmer, C, Schuurmans C. 2014. Neurog1 and Neurog2 control two waves of neuronal differentiation in the piriform cortex. J Neuroscience 8 January 2014, 34(2): 539-553. PMID: 24403153

Kovach C, Dixit R, Li S, Wilkinson G, Mattar P, Elsen G, Kurrasch DM, Hevner R, Schuurmans C. 2013. Neurog2 simultaneously activates and represses alternative gene expression programs in the developing neocortex. Cerebral Cortex. 23(8): 1884-900. PMID: 22735158