Alex Edwards

  • Master’s Student
  • B.Sc Biology and Biotechnology
  • Contact: email hidden; JavaScript is required


My research focuses on the relationship between the orexigenic peptide ghrelin, secreted by the stomach, and endogenous fatty acid chemicals called endocannabinoids and their corresponding roles in increasing appetite. Interestingly, high levels of GHSR mRNA and protein have been detected in areas of the brain associated with motivated behaviour (e.g. ventral tegmental area (VTA), substantia nigra (SN), and the nucleus accumbens (NA)); areas that also contain cannabinoid receptors. Work in the Abizaid lab has shown that ghrelin targets GHSRs in the VTA to regulate food motivation (anticipation, effort, etc.) and consumption; however, the effect of ghrelin and its interaction with endocannabinoid pathways within the VTA, SN, and NA remain unclear. I am currently investigating the relationship between endocannabinoids and ghrelin with respect to appetite and feeding and whether endocannabinoids mediate the effects of ghrelin on food motivation and consumption in the VTA.


Edwards, A. & Abizaid, A. (2016). Driving the need to feed: Insight into the collaborative interaction between ghrelin and endocannabinoid systems in modulating brain reward systems. Manuscript accepted in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.

Poster Presentation

Edwards A, Tabb P, Khan M, Bush M, Hepworth S. Using a Steroid-induction System to Identity Transcriptional Targets of BLADE-ON-PETIOLE1/2 That Control Inflorescence Development in Arabidopsis. Poster presented at: Proceedings of the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists and Plant Development Workshop; 2011 Dec 2-3; Ottawa, ON.

Edwards A, Tabb P, Khan M, Hepworth S. Creating a Steroid-induction System to Identify Transcriptional Targets of BLADE-ON-PETIOLE1 That Control Inflorescence Development in Arabidopsis thaliana. Poster presented at: Carleton’s 13th Annual Undergraduate Research Day; 2011 April 10; Ottawa, ON.


  • NSERC – Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (2012/2013)
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, declined – (2012/2013)
  • Carleton University – Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement (2012)
  • 13th Annual Undergraduate Research Day Biology Department 2nd place poster prize (2012)
  • NSERC – Undergraduate Student Research Award (2011,2012)