Dr. Steven Prescott graduated from the MD/PhD program at McGill University. His doctoral research focused on the spinal processing of pain signals. He then trained in computational neuroscience as a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute before starting his own lab at the University of Pittsburgh in 2008.
In 2012, he returned to Canada, joining The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the University of Toronto. Since 2018, he has led the Neuroscience Platform in the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto.
The Prescott Lab studies the neural basis of sensation. Specifically, they seek to decipher how somatosensory information is normally processed and how disruption of that processing causes chronic pain in order to identify novel and fundamentally more effective ways of treating pain.
Their research synergistically combines computational simulations, mathematical analysis and diverse experimental techniques including in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, calcium imaging and optogenetics. This interdisciplinary approach reflects Dr. Prescott’s own training as a clinician, theorist and experimentalist.
Education and experience
- 1992–1996: B.Sc. (Hons), Dept of Biology, McGill, Montreal, Quebec
- 1996–1997: M.Sc., Dept of Biology, McGill, Montreal, Quebec
- 1996–2005: MD CM, Faculty of Medicine, McGill, Montreal, Quebec
- 1999–2005: PhD, Dept of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, McGill, Montreal, Quebec
- 2005–2008: Postdoctoral fellow, Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA
- 2008–2012: Assistant Professor, Dept of Neurobiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
- 2012–2015: Scientist, Neurosciences and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON
- 2012–2015: Assistant Professor, Dept of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
- 2015–Present: Senior Scientist, Neurosciences and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON
- 2015–2020: Associate Professor, Dept of Physiology and Inst of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
- 2018–Present: Head, Neuroscience Platform, Dept of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
- 2020–Present: Professor, Dept of Physiology and Inst of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
- Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation
- New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
- 53rd Mallinckrodt Scholar Award
- Rita Allen Foundation Scholar in Pain Award
- Human Frontiers Long-term Fellow
- Lee KY, Ratté S, Prescott SA. Excitatory neurons are more disinhibited than inhibitory neurons by chloride dysregulation in the spinal dorsal horn. eLife 2019, 8: e49753.
- Lankarany M, Al-Basha D, Ratté S, Prescott SA. Differentially synchronized spiking enables multiplexed neural coding. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2019, 116: 10097-10102.
- Ratté S, Prescott SA. Afferent hyperexcitability in neuropathic pain and the inconvenient truth about its degeneracy. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 2016; 36: 31-37.
- Ratté S, Zhu Y, Lee KY, Prescott SA. Criticality and degeneracy in injury-induced changes in primary afferent excitability and the implications for neuropathic pain. eLife 2014; 3: e02370.
- Ratté S, Hong SH, De Schutter E, Prescott SA. Impact of neuronal properties on network coding: roles of spike initiation dynamics and robust synchrony transfer. Neuron 2013; 78: 758-772.
- 2019–2026: PI. Foundation Grant, CIHR. Neuropathic pain through misregulated excitability and abnormal neural coding.
- 2019: PI. John R. Evans Leaders Fund, CFI. Imaging and electrophysiology equipment for multi-neuron stimulation and recording.
- 2016–2021: Co-PI. SPOR Project. Chronic Pain Network. Improving personalized medicine through discovery of pain mechanisms using patient-derived neurons.