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Dr. Liisa Galea

Treliving Family Chair in Women's Mental Health
Senior Scientist, Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute
Professor, Departments of Psychiatry, and Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Toronto
Lead, Women's Health Research Cluster
Principal Editor, Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology
President, Organization for the Study of Sex Differences
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About Dr. Galea

Liisa Galea is the inaugural womenmind Treliving Family Chair in Women’s Mental Health, Senior Scientist at CAMH, and leads the Women’s Health Research Cluster. She comes to CAMH after being a Professor at University of British Columbia. Her PhD in Neuroscience (Western University) was followed by postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University. Dr. Galea was a Distinguished University Scholar, NSERC Discovery Accelerator Award holder (2x), a Fellow at International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, Mortyn Jones Prize, and the Vancouver YWCA Women of Distinction award winner. She is the Principal Editor of Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, the President of Organization for the Study of Sex Differences and co-Vice-President of Canadian Organisation for Sex and Gender Research. She serves on advisory boards, editorial boards, and peer review panels internationally and nationally. Dr. Galea is a tireless advocate for women’s health research and for sex and gender-based analyses to improve mental health for all.

Areas of Research

Although sex differences exist in many diseases, research targeting sex as a factor in brain health is scarce. Dr. Galea’s research is vital in filling this knowledge gap, specifically in understanding how sex and hormones influence neuroplasticity in females. Dr. Galea is a world-renowned expert in sex hormone influences on brain and behaviour in both health and disease states, with a focus on dementia and stress-related psychiatric disorders. Her preclinical work is essential for developing tailored treatments for brain disease in both women and men. 

Her research examines the intersection of hormones, sex and stress on brain plasticity. Her research reveals novel insight into the mechanisms by which pregnancy impacts risk for psychiatric disorders in the short term and the trajectory of cognitive ageing in the long term. Her work targets diseases that show greater prevalence in women, such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression. 

The fun stuff

Liisa is very proud of her Estonian/Maltese heritage and specializes in baking Estonian Kringle. She is most proud of her two greatest accomplishments, her two adorable ‘adult’ children, to whom she has passed on her love of science and cookie dough. She lives currently in Toronto, after spending 25 years in beautiful Vancouver. She enjoys trail hiking with her very bad dog, Koko, and snuggling with her cat, Bella Luna, after the hike. Indeed you can find Liisa most weekends searching for good hiking trails in Toronto and the vicinity.

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