Quentin Pittman

Dr. Quentin Pittman



Professor - Medicine

Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology

Child Health & Wellness Researcher

Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute

Full Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Deputy Chair

Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology

Full Member

Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education

Contact information

Web presence

Phone number

Office: 403.220.7383
Mobile: 403.978.7383

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Kelly Johnston
Senior Communications Specialist

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Preferred method of communication

Administrative Assistant

Laurel Becker



Educational Background

B.A. Biological Sciences, University of Lethbridge, 1972

Doctor of Philosophy Physiology, University of Calgary, 1976


Quentin Pittman obtained his BA&Sc at ULethbridge and a PhD at UCalgary, then trained as a postdoctoral fellow at McGill and the Salk Institute. In 1980, he returned to Calgary, where he has received nearly 40 years of external, competitive salary awards as well as continuous research program support from the MRC/CIHR and other agencies. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and American Physiological Society and has given a number of named lectures to various societies and institutions. He has held committee and executive positions in a number of national and international scientific societies and has been a reviewing/assoc editor for several scientific journals. He has held several leadership positions within the Cumming School of Medicine, Hotchkiss Brain Institute and Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

Dr. Pittman’s work, which has collectively been cited over 16,000 times, has been focused in 3 major areas: 1. Innate immunity, inflammation and the brain; 2. Cellular actions of peptides, mediators and neurotransmitters; 3. Early life programming of the brain and febrile seizures.

Aside from neuroscience, his other passions include skiing, hiking and cycling, but he can be distracted by a good Scotch.


Areas of Research

Synaptic and Neuronal Function

Dr. Pittman’s research activities focus upon the effects of inflammation on the brain. In collaboration with colleagues Keith Sharkey, Mark Swain, Simon Hirota and Matt Hill, we explore how chronic peripheral inflammation in the form of animal models of colitis, arthritis and liver disease cause changes in the brain that may underlie psychiatric co-morbidity in these diseases.  We also ask how CNS inflammatory states seen in animal models of multiple sclerosis (with Marie Eve Trembley - UVic) and epilepsy (with Cam Teskey and Matt Hill) can lead to behavioral co-morbidities.  In neonatal animals we are attempting to understand causative factors leading to febrile seizures ( with Morris Scantlebury and Richard Wilson), as well as to define and understand the long term effects of neonatal inflammation on the brain.  We are interested in the roles of cytokines and transmitters such as cannabinoids, neuropeptides and amino acids. We use approaches ranging from whole animal models where we study physiology and behavior to cellular studies of morphological, molecular, electrophysiological and synaptic properties of individual cells.


Participation in university strategic initiatives


  • Distinguished Member, International Regulatory Peptide Society. 2021
  • Fellow, American Physiological Society. 2019
  • Theodore M. Brody Distinguished Lecturer, Michigan State University. 2018
  • Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. 2016
  • Joseph Eralnger Distinguished Lecturer, American Physiology Society. 2016
  • Honor Roll Award for Great Teaching ( Teaching citation ), Faculty of Medicine. 2014
  • Mortyn Jones Memorial Lecturer, British Neuroendocrine Society. 2013
  • Hellbender Honor Roll (teaching citation), Faculty of Medicine. 2013
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada. 2010
  • Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Scientist, Competition renewal . 2010
  • Distinguished Lectureship Integrative Physiology , University of Saskatchewan. 2008
  • Smith Distinguished Achievement Award, University of Calgary. 2008
  • Golden Apple Award, Outstanding Teaching Award, 2008
  • Sarrazin Award Lectureship , Canadian Physiological Society. 2008
  • University Professor , University of Calgary . 2006
  • NeuroScience Canada Foundation Alberta Scholar, 1998
  • MacIntosh Visiting Professorship Award of the Canadian Physiological Society, 2004
  • Grass Travelling Scientist, 1996
  • Medical Research Council of Canada Senior Scientist, 1995
  • Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Scientist (competition renewal 1995-2000, 1995
  • Alumnus of the Year, University of Lethbridge. 1994
  • MRC-INSERM Visiting Scientist, 1992
  • Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Scientist, 1990
  • Canadian Association for Neuroscience Visiting Lecturer, 1989
  • International Brain Research Organization Visiting Lecturer, 1987
  • Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Visiting Scientist, 1987
  • J.A.F. Stevenson Visiting Professorship Award of Canadian Physiological Society, 1985
  • Medical Research Council Scientist , 1985
  • Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Scholarship , 1985
  • Medical Research Council Scholarship , 1980
  • Medical Research Council Centennial Fellowship , 1978
  • Fogarty International Fellowship , National Institutes of Health ( awarded -not accepted). 1978
  • Medical Research Council Fellowship , McGill University. 1976
  • Medical Research Council Studentship , University of Calgary. 1974
  • Davies Medical Research Scholarship, University of Calgary. 1974
  • Undergraduate Scholarship, Province of Alberta. 1971
  • Matriculation Scholarship, Province of Alberta. 1969