Silvia Pagliardini

Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Physiology Dept


Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry - Physiology Dept
(780) 492-9054
3020F Katz Group Centre For Research
11315 - 87 Ave NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5


Area of Study / Keywords

respiratory neurobiology neuroscience in vivo physiology optogenetics brainstem sleep states sleep disordered breathing immunohistochemistry inspiratory/ expiratory activity EMG/EEG confocal imaging sleep chemogenetics electrophysiology


Dr. Silvia Pagliardini is currently appointed as Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.


neuromodulation of breathing; state dependent modulation of breathing; sleep disordered breathing; respiratory rhythmogenesis.

Breathing is an automatic behaviour that is essential for mammalian life and requires a coordinated contraction of respiratory muscles that must occur continuously, from birth until the last breath. In humans and other mammals the part of the brain that controls respiratory activity is the brainstem, where specialized groups of neurons generate a continuous rhythm that ultimately drives respiratory muscles. Two regions in the brainstem contribute to generate respiratory rhythms, the preBötzinger Complex (that drives inspiratory muscle activity) and the paraFacial Respiratory Group (that drives expiratory muscle activity).

Respiratory activity is also highly influenced by brain state activity, with abnormalities and irregularities occurring most frequently during sleep, when voluntary respiratory control is lacking, and chemosensitive and propriosensory feedback systems are often insufficient to maintain a rhythmic respiratory drive and airway patency (sleep disordered breathing).

Research conducted in the Pagliardini laboratory aims to gain an understanding of the neuronal mechanisms that control breathing and affect its function during sleep, when the majority of respiratory disorders of central origin occur. We are currently interested in delineating the function of a region in the brainstem that is crucial for the generation of expiratory activity, the paraFacial Respiratory Group. Its contribution to ventilation in health and disease is yet not clear. We are also interested to study how brain state and different neuromodulators affect breathing rhythm and pattern.

We use a combination of physiological, anatomical, pharmacological,chemogenetic and optogenetic techniques to test our hypotheses.


Respiratory Physiology (PHYSL210); Neurophysiology (PHYSL310); PHYSL Honors Research coordinator (PHYSL461,467,468/469); PHYSL reading course (PHYSL466); Optogenetics&Chemogenetics (PMCOL371). 

Neuroscience undergraduate program coordinator.


PHYSL 461 - Undergraduate Research Project

Individual study, open to Physiology Honours undergraduate students who have identified a supervisor in the Department of Physiology. Co-supervision with Professors from other Departments is possible, provided that a supervisor from the department of Physiology is identified. Students will spend one term in the laboratory of a faculty member and carry out a laboratory physiology research project. Registration package and further information are available on the Physiology Department website. Prerequisites: PHYSL 210 or PHYSL 212/214 and consent from the course coordinator.

Browse more courses taught by Silvia Pagliardini

Featured Publications

Saini J.K., Janes T.A., MacLean J.E., Pagliardini S.

Journal of Sleep Research. 2022 August; 31 (4) 10.1111/jsr.13539

International Society of Arterial Chemoreception (ISAC) XXI Meeting, Lisbon June 2022.. 2022 June;

Routine use of Post-Bronchodilator Testing in Pulmonary Function Testing Labs.

Preventing Overdiagnosis 2022 Conference, Calgary (AB).. 2022 June;

Hauer B.E., Pagliardini S., Dickson C.T.

Hippocampus. 2022 June; 32 (6):466-477 10.1002/hipo.23420

Cardani S., Janes T.A., Saini J.K., Di Lascio S., Benfante R., Fornasari D., Pagliardini S.

International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2022 May; 23 (9) 10.3390/ijms23094816

Joseph V., Pagliardini S., Belaidi E.

Frontiers in Physiology. 2022 February; 13 10.3389/fphys.2022.857627

Rohhad International Consortium.. 2022 February;

Rapid-onset obesity with hypothalamic dysregulation, hypoventilation and autonomic dysregulation (ROHAAD) International Consortium.. 2022 February;

Hauer B.E., Pagliardini S., Dickson C.T.

Frontiers in Neuroanatomy. 2022 January; 15 10.3389/fnana.2021.804872

Etonogestrel, a potent progestin drug, down-regulates gene and protein expression in the Dorsal Vagal Complex of naïve female rats. 2021

Alberta respiratory Centre Research Day. 2021 November;

Etonogestrel, a progestin-based drug, restores CO 2 -sensitivity in a rodent model of central hypoventilation syndrome.

2021 Alberta respiratory Centre Research Day . 2021 November;

Etonogestrel implantation as a potential cure of CCHS.

2021 WCHRI Research Day . 2021 October;

Etonogestrel, a potent progestin drug, alters gene and protein expression in the solitary tract nucleus of female rats.

2021 WCHRI Research Day . 2021 October;

Remembering how to breathe: Can a progestin-based drug rescue breathing in a rodent model of central hypoventilation syndrome?

2021 WCHRI Research Day. 2021 October;

2021 Experimental Biology.. 2021 May; 10.1096/fasebj.2021.35.S1.01939

2021 Experimental Biology.. 2021 May;

Biancardi V., Saini J., Pageni A., Prashaad M. H., Funk G.D., Pagliardini S.

Journal of Comparative Neurology. 2021 March; 529 (4):853-884 10.1002/cne.24984

Baddam P., Biancardi V., Roth D.M., Eaton F., Thereza-Bussolaro C., Mandal R., Wishart D.S., Barr A., MacLean J., Flores-Mir C., Pagliardini S., Graf D.

DMM Disease Models and Mechanisms. 2021 February; 14 (2) 10.1242/dmm.047738