Dr. Galea obtained her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Western Ontario in 1994 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University in New York City until 1996. She has been an invited speaker and a keynote speaker at numerous international conferences over the past 10 years. Dr. Galea is a Distinguished University Scholar, has held a Michael Smith Senior Scholar Award, an Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)- Discovery Accelerator Supplement, Cattell Sabbatical Award and won the Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction award (Technology, Science and Research). She was recognized as a Fellow at International Behavioral Neuroscience Society (IBNS) and the Kavli Foundation. She has over 120 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and has over 6000 citations with over 500 citations per year for the past four years. Dr. Galea is an editor of the scientific journals Neuroscience and eNeuro and serves on the editorial boards of Endocrinology, Hormones and Behavior, and Frontiers in Neurogenesis. Dr. Galea serves on a National Institute of Health (USA) peer-review study section and has served on peer review panels for the major federal agencies: Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and NSERC. She has held operating grants from CIHR, NSERC and Alzheimer Society of Canada and has secured $3.9M as the principal investigator and $2M as co-principal investigator PI in operating grants over her career.
Liisa Galea is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, and a member of the Centre for Brain Health and Neuroscience Program at the University of British Columbia. The vision for her research is to establish how sex hormones influence brain health and disease in both females and males. Her goal is to improve brain health for women and men by examining the influence of sex and sex hormones on normal and diseased brain states such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Although sex differences exist in many brain diseases, research targeting sex as a factor in brain health has been scarce. Dr. Galea’s research is vital in filling this knowledge gap, specifically in understanding how sex and hormones influence neuroplasticity in females as too often women’s health is ignored in research. This preclinical work is essential for developing tailored treatments for brain disease in both women and men. Her research examines the effects of hormones, stress and reproductive experience on neuroplasticity, including adult neurogenesis (the birth of new brain cells in the adult), and subsequent behaviour. Liisa developed the first animal models of postpartum depression, was among the first researchers worldwide to study hormonal control of adult neurogenesis and the impact of motherhood on the brain in later life. An understanding of how neurogenesis is regulated may provide clues for devising new therapeutic treatments for diseases that involve neuronal loss and show greater prevalence in women, such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression.