Patrick Whelan

Dr. Patrick Whelan, PhD



Comparative Biology & Experimental Medicine


Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology


Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Clinical Neurosciences


Faculty of Kinesiology

Full Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Child Health & Wellness Researcher

Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute

Associate Member

McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health

Contact information

Web presence

Phone number

Office: +1 (403) 220-4210


Office: HMRB168
Lab: HSC2068

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Research partners


Educational Background

Doctor of Philosophy Neuroscience, University of Alberta, 1996

Neuroscience Neuroscience, University of Alberta, 1996

Science Biological Science, University of Guelph, 1990


Dr. Patrick Whelan received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Alberta in 1996 and completed his postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda Maryland before joining the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary in 2000. He joined the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 2005 and is currently jointly appointed in the Cumming School of Medicine and the Faculty of Kinesiology. He is the Associate Dean Professional Development in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. His research has made a number of discoveries centred around the control of walking. His work is focused on identifying new therapeutic targets for restoration of motor function in Parkinson's and Spinal Cord Injured patients.  


Areas of Research

Spinal Cord Injury

Our work centers on understanding the mechanisms that promote walking. Our work is relevant to many medical conditions such as spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s Disease. We know that rehabilitation can induce plasticity in brain circuits at the spinal cord and brain level. We are interested in understanding the structure and function of brain circuits and in developing ways to stimulate these areas using deep brain stimulation. This work is performed in collaboration with Dr. Zelma Kiss (Clinical Neurosciences) and Dr. Murari (Engineering). Gait rehabilitation and initiation represent major areas of brain dysfunction that greatly impact the quality of life for those afflicted. Our long-term goal is to generate new therapeutics to help promote recovery of function in spinal cord injured and Parkinson’s patients. We are members of the Movement Disorders and the Spinal Cord, Nerve Injury and Pain groups within the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. 


Participation in university strategic initiatives


Course number Course title Semester
BMEN 61931 LEC 04 04 Spec Problems in BMEN 2021
MDSC 50765 LAB 03 B03 Spec Prob in Medical Science 2021
MDSC 50765 LEC 03 03 Spec Prob in Medical Science 2020
VETM 321 LEC 01 01 Physiology 2020


  • Great Supervisor Award, The University of Calgary. 2016
  • UCVM Research Excellence Award, The University of Calgary. 2016
  • Students Union Teaching Award, The University of Calgary. 2013
  • Senior Scholar, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. 2007
  • Killam Trust - Faculty Research Prize, 2011
  • Heart and Stroke New Investigator, 2002