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Alain R. Simard, PhD

NOSM University
935 Ramsey Lake Road
Sudbury, ON P3E 2C6
Phone: 705-662-7196
Associate Professor, Medical Sciences Division, NOSM University
Core Faculty Member, Biomolecular Sciences Graduate Program, Laurentian University
Cross-appointed, Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, Laurentian University
Adjunct Professor, Département de chimie et biochimie, Université de Moncton



Associate Professor, Département de chimie et biochimie, et Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick
Université de Moncton


Assistant Professor, Département de chimie et biochimie, et Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick
Université de Moncton


Postdoctoral fellow, Neurochemistry
Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Arizona


Postdoctoral fellow, Developmental Neurobiology
The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San        Diego, California


Ph.D. in Physiology-Endocrinology
Université Laval, Québec City, Québec


M.Sc. in Chemistry
Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario


 B.Sc. in Biochemistry
Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario

Research Investigations

My research program aims to provide critical insights into how the body naturally controls inflammation, by using a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to study emerging neuro-immune crosstalk mechanisms. For instance, it is established that nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) can regulate inflammation. However, little is known regarding the systemic, cellular, pharmacological, and molecular mechanisms involved in nAChR-dependent immune regulation. My current research focuses on identifying the mechanisms by which acetylcholine is used to communicate with nAChRs expressed by immune cells, thereby mediating their functions. To do so, we will:

  1. Determine the roles of the various nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in immune regulation.
  2. Ascertain the physiological, pharmacological and molecular mechanisms by which nAChRs mediate immune function.
  3. Identify novel non-neuronal sources of ACh used for inter-cellular communication.


Immunology, neuroimmunology, immune regulation, myeloid cells, neurodegenerative diseases, inflammatory diseases, cholinergic system, flow cytometry, animal models of disease.

Selected Publications

B. Han, C. Zhang, S. Liu, Y. Xia, H. Sun, Z. Gong, AR Simard, Q. Liu, J. Hao.  Non-neuronal cholinergic activity is potentiated in myasthenia gravis. BMC Neurology. 2017, 17:28. PMID: 28178923

Jiang, W., St-Pierre, S., Roy, P., Morley, B. J., Hao, J., Simard, A. R. Infiltration of CCR2+Ly6ChighProinflammatory Monocytes and Neutrophils into the Central Nervous System are Modulated by Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in a Model of Multiple Sclerosis. J.Immunol. 2016, 196(5):2095-108. PMID26810225

St-Pierre, S., Jiang, W., Champigny, C., LeBlanc, E., Morley, B. J., Hao, J., Simard, A. R. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors modulate bone marrow-derived pro-inflammatory monocyte production and survival.PLOS ONE, 2016, Feb 29;11(2):e0150230. PMID: 26925951

Simard AR, Gan Y, St-Pierre S, Ariana Kousari, Varun Patel, Paul Whiteaker, Barbara J. Morley, Ronald J. Lukas, Fu-Dong Shi. Differential modulation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by alpha9*- and beta2*-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Immunol. Cell. Biol. 2013, 91:195–200. PMID: 23399696

Shi F-D., Hao JW, Abdelwahab M, Shi SX, Simard AR, Whiteaker P, Lukas R, Zhou K. Nicotinic receptor beta2 determines NK cell-dependent tumor metastasis. PLoS ONE 2013, 8(2): e57495. PMID: 23469004

Hao J.*, Simard AR*, Turner GH, Wu J, Whiteaker P, Lukas RJ, Shi F-D. Attenuation of CNS inflammatory responses by nicotine involves a7 and non-a7 nicotinic receptors. Exp. Neurol. 2011, 227(1):110-9. PMID: 20932827