Gerald Zamponi

Dr. Gerald Zamponi



Professor - Medicine

Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology

Senior Associate Dean (Research)

Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology

Full Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Child Health & Wellness Researcher

Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute

Contact information

Web presence

Phone number

Office: +1 (403) 220-8687


Educational Background

Dipl. Ing. (MSc equivalent) Engineering Physics, Johannes Kepler University, 1990

Doctor of Philosophy Neuroscience, University of Calgary, 1994


Dr. Gerald Zamponi is Senior Associate Dean for Research and Full Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary where he commenced his faculty position in 1997. He previously served as the Head of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. He received his undergraduate training in Engineering Physics from the Johannes Kepler University in Austria, followed by a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Calgary and postdoctoral work at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Dr. Zamponi’s research addresses how ion channels and receptors contribute to neurological disorders such as chronic pain, with the goal of developing strategies to regulate ion channel function for therapeutic intervention. His work also deciphers the functional connectomics of brain circuits that process pain signals. The translational impact of his work is evident from his co-founding of NeuroMed Pharmaceuticals and Zymedyne Therapeutics, and inventorship on 12 issued US patents pertaining to new pain therapeutics. He has published over 325 articles, has given over 270 invited lectures across the globe and has attracted in excess of $25 Million in research support to his lab.  Dr. Zamponi is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards. In addition to having been an Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions Scientist and Canadian Institutes of Health Research Investigator, he is currently a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Neurobiology. He is an elected Fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, which represents top honors for those in the basic and medical science, respectively.



Areas of Research

Molecular Mechanisms

Dr. Zamponi’s broad research focus has been on the roles of voltage gated calcium channels in controlling the electrical activities of neurons and how they are compromised in various neurological disorders. This resulted in numerous important contributions to basic and applied science, including advances in understanding:

  • calcium channel structure, function and molecular pharmacology
  • their regulation by G protein coupled receptors and its physiological consequences
  • the role of signalling complexes between calcium channels and other channels/receptors -
  • how genetic mutations in calcium channels of patients with epilepsy trigger seizures -
  • the roles of calcium channels in afferent pain signalling

In addition, Dr. Zamponi’s lab uses optogenetics approaches to decipher brain circuits that control sensory and emotional components of pain.

Participation in university strategic initiatives


  • Visiting Professorship, Kyoto University Foundation, 2002
  • Watanabe Distinguished Achievement Award, Faculty of Medicine, 2001
  • award, 2000
  • J.A.F. Stevenson Visiting Professorship Award of the Canadian Physiological Society, 2000
  • Merck Frosst Young Investigator Award of the Canadian Society for Pharmacology, 2000
  • salary support award, 2000
  • New Opportunities Award, Canada Foundation for Innovation, 1998
  • Research Scholarship Award, EJLB Foundation, 1998
  • Medical Research Scholarship, Medical Research Council of Canada, 1997
  • Scholarship, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, 1996
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, 1994
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Medical Research Council of Canada, 1994
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, 1994
  • Graduate Student Award for excellence of research, American Physiological Society, 1992
  • Medical Research Studentship, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, 1992
  • Parex Innovation Fellow, University of Calgary. 2021
  • Distinguished Career Award, Canadian Pain Society. 2021
  • Election as Fellow , National Academy of Inventors (USA). 2020
  • Alumnus of Distinction, Cumming School of Medicine. 2020
  • Molecular Pain Award, Association for the Study of Neurons and Disease. 2018
  • Canada Research Chair Tier 1 (second renewal), CRC Program. 2017
  • Killam Graduate Supervision Award, University of Calgary . 2015
  • Killam Annual Professor Award, University of Calgary. 2012
  • Astech Award for Outstanding Leadership in Alberta Science, ASTECH. 2011
  • Election as Fellow , Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. 2010
  • Election as Fellow, Royal Society of Canada. 2008
  • Smith Distinguished Achievement Award, Faculty of Medicine. 2007
  • Medical Research Scientist Award,, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. 2007
  • Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Supervision, Faculty of Graduate Studies, U. Calgary. 2005
  • Alta Pharm Senior Scientist Award, Canadian Society for Pharmacology. 2004
  • Independent Investigator Award, Natl. Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia & Depression. 2002