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Dr. Niles is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and  Behavioural  Neurosciences at McMaster University.

After completing PhD training in physiology/neuroendocrinology at the University of Toronto, he was awarded an Ontario Mental Health Foundation (OMHF) scholarship to pursue postdoctoral studies in neuropharmacology at McMaster University. During postdoctoral training, he  received the Paul Christie Memorial Award (OMHF) for Outstanding Research in a field related to Mental Health. Subsequently, he was awarded an OMHF Long-term Career Fellowship and a faculty appointment in the Department of Neuroscience (name changed later to Biomedical Sciences) at McMaster.

Following further departmental restructuring, he moved to the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences in 1998. He has obtained research funding from national (CIHR, NSERC) and provincial (OMHF, Parkinson Society Canada etc.) agencies. His work is at the forefront of studies aimed at characterizing melatonin receptors and the molecular mechanisms of melatonin action.  Other current studies are focused on neuroprotection by drugs which modify chromatin structure and the epigenetic mechanisms involved.

Featured Publications

Pan Y, Niles LP. Epigenetic mechanisms of melatonin action in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. Mol. Cell. Endocrinol. 402:57-63 (2015).

Carriere C, Kang NH, Niles LP. Neuroprotection by valproic acid in an intrastriatal rotenone model of Parkinson’s disease. Neuroscience 2  67:114-121 (2014).  

Sharma R, Ottenhof T, Rzeczkowska PR, Niles LP. Epigenetic targets for melatonin: Induction of histone H3 hyperacetylation and gene expression in C17.2 neural stem cells. J. Pineal Res. 45:277-284 (2008).                                                                                                 

Rincón Castro, L.M., Gallant, M.J. and Niles, L.P. Novel targets for valproic acid: Upregulation of  melatonin receptors and neurotrophic factors in C6 glioma cells. J. Neurochem. 95:1227-1236 (2005).

Niles, L.P., Armstrong, K.J., Rincón Castro, L.M., Dao, C.V., Sharma, R., McMillan, C.R., Doering, L.C, and Kirkham, D.L. Neural stem cells express melatonin receptors and neurotrophic factors: Colocalization of the MT1 receptor with neuronal and glial  markers. BMC Neuroscience 5:41 (2004).   


  • OMHF Postdoctoral  Fellow, McMaster University, 1981
  • PhD, University of Toronto, Department of Physiology,  1978
  • MSc, University of Toronto, Department of Physiology,  1974
  • BA, University of Western Ontario, Zoology, 1971 

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