Ivan Skelin

Research Interests

Ivan’s current research is focused on the mechanisms by which the neuromodulator dopamine affects memory acquisition and consolidation, as well as memory based decision-making. He uses high density neural recordings in both urethane-anesthetized and behaving rats, in order to assess the effects of electrical and pharmacological manipulations of the dopaminergic system on the single unit activity, local field potentials and inter-regional coherence in the frontal-striatal circuits. The frontal-striatal circuits have been implicated in the control of behavior and their impairment is proposed to underlie a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder etc.


During his doctoral work (performed at the Montreal Neurological Institute, under the supervision of Dr. Mirko Diksic), Ivan has been studying the effects of various antidepressant compounds on neurochemical parameters (regional cerebral glucose utilization, serotonin synthesis, arachidonic acid signalling, serotonin and dopamine receptor densities) in rat models of depression, using ex vivo and in vitro autoradiography. During his postdoctoral fellowship at McMaster University (under the supervision of Dr. Claudio Soares) he performed longitudinal studies on depressed patients, looking at the effects of antidepressant treatments on patterns of brain activation during the emotional conflict and working memory tasks, using the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).


  1. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals & CIHR/Rx&D Research Fellowship 2009-2011.
  2. Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions Fellowship 2011-present.


Recent Publications

  1. Skelin, I., Hakstol, R., VanOyen, J., Mudiayi, D., Molina, L. A., Holec, V., Hong, N. S., Euston, D. R., McDonald, R. J. and Gruber, A. J. (2014), Lesions of dorsal striatum eliminate lose-switch responding but not mixed-response strategies in rats. European Journal of Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1111/ejn.12518.
  2. Leonardo Molina, Ivan Skelin, Aaron Gruber (2014). Acute NMDA Receptor Antagonism Disrupts Synchronization of Action Potential Firing in Rat Prefrontal Cortex. PLOS One, 9(1), e85842, 2014.
  3. H. SATO, I.SKELIN, M. DIKSIC. Acute desipramine treatment reduces, while chronic treatment elevates serotonin synthesis rates, in a rat model of depression: an autoradiographic study. (Neurochemistry International, in press).
  4. I. SKELIN, T. KOVACEVIC, H. SATO, M. DIKSIC. The opposite effect of a 5-HT(1B) receptor agonist on 5-HT synthesis, as well as its resistant counterpart, in an animal model of depression. Brain Res Bull. 2012 Aug 1;88(5):477-86.
  5. I. SKELIN, T. KOVACEVIC, M. DIKSIC. Neurochemical and behavioral changes in rat models of depression. Review. Croatica Chemica Acta 84 (2011) , 2; 287-299.
  6. I. SKELIN, T. KOVACEVIC, H. SATO, M. DIKSIC. Upregulated arachidonic acid signalling in the olfactory bulbectomized rat model of depression. Neurochem Int. 2011 Mar;58(4):483-8.
  7. H. SATO, I. SKELIN, M. DIKSIC. Chronic buspirone treatment decreases 5-HT2A receptor densities and the serotonin transporter, but increases the density of 5-HT1B receptors in the bulbectomized rat model of depression: an autoradiographic study. Brain Res. 2010 Jul 23;1345:28-44.
  8. B. N. FREY, I. SKELIN, Y. SAKAI, M. NISHIKAWA, C. BENKELFAT, M. DIKSIC. Gender differences in [11C]-aMT trapping, an index of serotonin synthesis, in medication-free individuals with major depressive disorder: a positron emission tomography study. Psychiatry Res. 2010 Aug 30;183(2):157-66.
  9. B. N. FREY, G. B. HALL, S. ATTARD, K. YUCEL, I. SKELIN, M. STEINER, C. N. SOARES. Shift in the brain network of emotional regulation in women: Is the menopausal transition the turning point? Menopause. 2010 Jul;17(4):840-5.
  10. I. SKELIN, H. SATO, M. DIKSIC. Acute challenge with D-fenfluramine decreases regional cerebral glucose utilization in Sham, but not in OBX rats: An autoradiographic study. Brain Res. 2010 Jan 15;1310:162-71.
  11. I. SKELIN, H. SATO, T. KOVACEVIC, M. DIKSIC. Chronic therapy with citalopram decreases regional cerebral glucose utilization in OBX, and not Sham-operated rats: An autoradiographic study. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009 Dec;207(2):315-23.
  12. T. KOVACEVIC, I. SKELIN, M. DIKSIC. Chronic Fluoxetine Treatment has larger Effect on the Density of a Serotonin Transporter in an FSL Rat Model of Depression than in Normal Rats. Synapse. 2009 Nov 18;64(3):231-240.
  13. K. Q. NGUYEN, Y. TOHYAMA, A. WATANABE, S. HASEGAWA, I. SKELIN, M. DIKSIC. Acute effects of combining citalopram and pindolol on regional brain serotonin synthesis in sham operated and olfactory bulbectomized rats. Neurochemistry International. 2009 Mar-Apr;54(3-4):161-71.
  14. I. SKELIN, F. YAMANE, M. DIKSIC. Flesinoxan challenge suggests that chronic treatment with paroxetine in rats does not desensitize the receptors controlling the 5-HT synthesis. Neurochemistry International, 2008 Nov-Dec;53(6-8):236-43.
  15. I. SKELIN, H. SATO, M. DIKSIC. Olfactory bulbectomy reduces cerebral glucose utilization: 2-[14C] deoxyglucose autoradiographic study. Brain Research Bulletin, 2008 Jul 30; 76(5):485-92.
  16. H. SATO, I. SKELIN, G. DEBONNEL, M. DIKSIC. Chronic buspirone treatment normalizes open field behavior in olfactory bulbectomized rats: Assessment with a quantitative autoradiographic evaluation of the 5-HT(1A) binding sites. Brain Research Bulletin. 2008 Mar 28:75(5):545-55.