Faculty: W. McIntyre Burnham, PhD

Mac BurnhamW. McIntyre Burnham, PhD Professor Emeritus, Pharmacology
Director, University of Toronto Epilepsy Research Program

General Research Area: Neuropharmacology
Studies of Seizures & Anticonvulsant Drugs

About a third of people with epilepsy cannot achieve seizure control using the present medications. Better anti-seizure drugs are needed. The cannabinoid extracts, CBD and THC, are anticonvulsant  and might be potentially useful in the treatment of epilepsy. CBD is of particular interest because it is not psychotoxic. Our laboratory is testing CBD and THC, alone and in combination, in animal models of epilepsy, and the epileptic comorbidities of epilespy - anxiety, depression and psychosis. 


Selected Recent Publications:

1: Wu YV, Liu J, Chen Z, Burnham WM. Benzyl alcohol suppresses seizures in two different animal models. Neurol Res. 2019 Jul;41(7):652-657. doi: 10.1080/01616412.2019.1609204. Epub 2019 Apr 26. PubMed PMID: 31025607.

2: Taha AY, Trepanier MO, Coibanu FA, Saxena A, Jeffrey MA, Taha NMY, Burnham WM, Bazinet RP. Dietary Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Deprivation Does Not Alter Seizure Thresholds but May Prevent the Anti-seizure Effects of Injected Docosahexaenoic Acid in Rats. Front Neurol. 2019 Feb 5;9:1188. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2018.01188. eCollection 2018. PubMed PMID: 30804888; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6370649.

3: Wu YV, Burnham WM. Progesterone, 5a-dihydropogesterone and allopregnanolone's effects on seizures: A review of animal and clinical studies. Seizure. 2018 Dec;63:26-36. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2018.10.012. Epub 2018 Oct 28. Review. PubMed PMID: 30391663.

4: Wu YV, Burnham WM. The anti-seizure effects of IV 5α-dihydroprogesterone on amygdala-kindled seizures in rats. Epilepsy Res. 2018 Oct;146:132-136. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2018.07.022. Epub 2018 Jul 29. PubMed PMID: 30149307.

5: Baba S, Onga K, Kakizawa S, Ohyama K, Yasuda K, Otsubo H, Scott BW, Burnham WM, Matsuo T, Nagata I, Mori N. Involvement of the neuronal phosphotyrosine signal adaptor N-Shc in kainic acid-induced epileptiform activity. Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 8;6:27511. doi: 10.1038/srep27511. PubMed PMID: 27273072; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4897738.

6: Trépanier MO, Kwong KM, Domenichiello AF, Chen CT, Bazinet RP, Burnham WM. Intravenous infusion of docosahexaenoic acid increases serum concentrations in a dose-dependent manner and increases seizure latency in the maximal PTZ model. Epilepsy Behav. 2015 Sep;50:71-6. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.05.034. Epub 2015 Jul 1. PubMed PMID: 26141815.

Contact Address:

University of Toronto 
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Room 4379, Medical Sciences Building 
1 King's College Circle 
Toronto, Ontario 
M5S 1A8 
Phone: 416-978-0779
Email: mac.burnham@utoronto.ca