Matthew Pamenter, Ph.D.

Canada Research Chair (NSERC Tier 2) in Comparative Neurophysiology

Matt received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto (2003-2008), where he studied neural mechanisms of anoxia-tolerance in turtle brain in the Buck lab. He then travelled to California to undertake a postdoctoral fellowship in the Haddad lab at UCSD (2008-2012), where he studied mechanisms of ischemic cell death in mammalian stroke models. In 2012, Matt began a second postdoctoral fellowship, split between the Powell lab at UCSD and the Milsom lab at UBC (2012-2015), studying neural plasticity in the hypoxic ventilatory response of rodents, including the naked mole rat.

Matt is broadly interested in how hypoxia-tolerant animals have evolved to survive in low-oxygen environments. His primary focus is on the underlying neural mechanisms of hypoxia-tolerance, with a specific interest in how brain cells survive with little to no oxygen and how neural networks control physiological responses to hypoxia.

Lab Members

Dan in nature

Daniel Munro, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Daniel completed his doctoral thesis on the mitochondrial determinants of animal longevity using the longest-lived metazoan, the marine clam Arctica islandica, in Dr Pierre Blier’s laboratory in Rimouski, Québec. He then continued to tackle the link between mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) and longevity for two years in the laboratory of Dr Jason Treberg at the University of Manitoba. Daniel is now interested in delineating the mitochondrial adaptations to hypoxia from those related to longevity. His work concentrates at the level of the architecture of the electron transport system and the metabolism of ROS (production and elimination), in a comparative approach using the naked-mole rat and other models.


Hang Cheng

Ph.D. Student

Liam Eaton

M.Sc. Student

Salome Cadrin-Aubin

B.Sc. Student

Chau Nguyen

B.Sc. Student


Samantha Torne

B.Sc. Student 

Tina Wang

B.Sc. Student 

Kenny Huynh

B.Sc. Student 


Amanda Zhu-Pawlowsky

B.Sc. Student 

Lab Alumni

Lisa Borecky

Lisa Borecky

M.Sc. Student

photo pour labo

Cécile Baldy, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sarah Zhang

B.Sc. Student (2017-2018)

Project title: Hypercapnic ventilatory and metabolic responses in the fossorial Damaraland mole rat: a whole-body and mechanistic perspective

Travis Branigan

B.Sc. Student (2017-2018)

Project title: Behavioural Responses to Environmental Hypercapnia in Damaraland Mole Rats (Fukomys damarensis)

Publication: Branigan, Elkhalifa and Pamenterl. (2018). Behavioral responses to environmental hypercapnia in two eusocial species of African mole rats. Journal of Comparative Physiology A


Nikita Malholtra

B.Sc. Student (2017-2018)

Project title: Thermal adaptations to acute hypoxia in naked mole rats

Amanda Vandewint

B.Sc. Student (2017-2018)

Project title: Exploring the role of a moisture-mediated body temperature cooling strategy in hypoxic naked mole rats

Lewis Han

B.Sc. Student (2017-2018)

Max Clayson

B.Sc. Student (2016-2017)

Project title: The role of carbonic anhydrase in modulating metabolic and ventilatory responses to hypercapnia in naked mole-rats

Sulaf Elkhalifa

B.Sc. Student (2016-2017)

Project title: Behavioural and thermal responses to hypercapnia in naked mole-rats

Publication: Branigan, Elkhalifa and Pamenterl. (2018). Behavioral responses to environmental hypercapnia in two eusocial species of African mole rats. Journal of Comparative Physiology A.

Aaron Ilacqua

B.Sc. Student (2015-2016)

Project title: Behavioural and thermal responses of individual naked mole rats to environmental hypoxia within their thermoneutral zone

Publication: Ilacqua Kirby and Pamenter (2017). Behavioural responses of naked mole rats to acute hypoxia and anoxia. Biology Letters.

Sharn Gill

B.Sc. Student (2015-2016)

Project title: Exploring the role of glutamatergic receptors in the control of ventilatory responses to acute and chronic hypoxia in naked mole rats

Active Collaborators

Nigel Bennet, University of Pretoria

John Denu, University of Madison – Wisconsin

Bill Milsom, University of British Columbia

Jeff Richards, University of British Columbia

Adam Shuhendler, University of Ottawa

Trish Schulte, University of British Columbia

Ken Storey, Carleton University

Glenn Tattersall, Brock University

Jason Treberg, University of Manitoba

Martin Tresguerres, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UCSD