Dr. Hector Caruncho

Dr. Hector Caruncho
Division of Medical Sciences
Office: Medical Sciences Building, room 226

Dr. Hector Caruncho is a tenured full professor and Canada Research Chair in Translational Neuroscience in the Division of Medical Sciences at the University of Victoria. He also holds a position as Affiliate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, and as Adjunct Professor of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan.

Prior to these appointments, he was a full professor of Pharmacy at the University of Saskatchewan (2013-2017), and a Faculty member for twenty years in the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain (1994-2013). He also held an adjunct position in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago (1996-2002).

From 1992-1994 he was a Research Assistant professor at Georgetown University, and from 1990-1992 held a Fulbright postdoctoral scholarship at the National Institute of Health. His academic credentials include a Bachelor of Science degree (Biology), Master of Science degree (Cell Biology), and a PhD degree (Cell Biology) all of them from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He also has a diploma in Business Administration from the School of Industrial Organization (Madrid, Spain).

Dr. Caruncho has made important contributions in different fields in Neuroscience since 1990. While his initial research focused on the comparative neuroanatomy of the fish brain, he later moved to studies on the molecular biology and pharmacology of GABAA receptors; animal models of neuromotor disorders; and, lately, to the neurobiology of schizophrenia and depression, including the development of biomarkers and discovery of novel drug targets in mood and psychotic disorders. He has been awarded research funding from Spanish agencies, the European Union, the US, and Canada. He has served in numerous grant committees in Spain, the European Union, and Canada. In addition, he has been very active in outreach activities, including talking to the public media and engaging with several associations of patients with psychiatric disorders.

 Recent Publications:

  1. Caruncho HJ, Kalynchuk LE, Loza MI, Olivares JM. Editorial: Novel Approaches to the Neuropharmacology of Mood Disorders. Front Pharmacol. 2019 May 17;10:589. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.00589. eCollection 2019. PubMed PMID: 31156442; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6533613.
  2. Caruncho HJ, Rivera-Baltanas T, Romay-Tallon R, Kalynchuk LE, Olivares JM. Patterns of Membrane Protein Clustering in Peripheral Lymphocytes as Predictors of Therapeutic Outcomes in Major Depressive Disorder. Front Pharmacol. 2019 Mar 12;10:190. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.00190. eCollection 2019. Review. PubMed PMID: 30930773; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6423346.
  3. Brymer KJ, Romay-Tallon R, Allen J, Caruncho HJ, Kalynchuk LE. Exploring the Potential Antidepressant Mechanisms of TNFα Antagonists. Front Neurosci. 2019 Feb 11;13:98. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00098. eCollection 2019. Review. PubMed PMID: 30804748; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6378555.
  4. Changes in Membrane Protein Clustering in Peripheral Lymphocytes in an Animal Model of Depression Parallel Those Observed in Naïve Depression Patients: Implications for the Development of Novel Biomarkers of Depression. Romay-Tallon R, Kulhawy E, Brymer KJ, Allen J, Rivera-Baltanas T, Olivares JM, Kalynchuk LE, Caruncho HJ. Front Pharmacol. 2018 Oct 15;9:1149. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.01149. eCollection 2018.
  5. Mitochondria and Mood: Mitochondrial Dysfunction as a Key Player in the Manifestation of Depression. Allen J, Romay-Tallon R, Brymer KJ, Caruncho HJ, Kalynchuk LE. Front Neurosci. 2018 Jun 6;12:386. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00386. eCollection 2018. Review.
  6. Peripheral Etanercept Administration Normalizes Behavior, Hippocampal Neurogenesis, and Hippocampal Reelin and GABAA Receptor Expression in a Preclinical Model of Depression. Brymer KJ, Fenton EY, Kalynchuk LE, Caruncho HJ. Front Pharmacol. 2018 Feb 20;9:121. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00121. eCollection 2018.
  7. Cytokines dysregulation in schizophrenia: A systematic review of psychoneuroimmune relationship. Rodrigues-Amorim D, Rivera-Baltanás T, Spuch C, Caruncho HJ, González-Fernandez Á, Olivares JM, Agís-Balboa RC. Schizophr Res. 2017 Nov 24. pii: S0920-9964(17)30718-1. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2017.11.023. [Epub ahead of print] Review.
  8. Comparative study of two protocols for quantitative image-analysis of serotonin transporter clustering in lymphocytes, a putative biomarker of therapeutic efficacy in major depression. Romay-Tallon R, Rivera-Baltanas T, Allen J, Olivares JM, Kalynchuk LE, Caruncho HJ. Biomark Res. 2017 Sep 22;5:27. doi: 10.1186/s40364-017-0107-6. eCollection 2017.
  9. Cyclical corticosterone administration sensitizes depression-like behavior in rats. Lebedeva KA, Caruncho HJ, Kalynchuk LE. Neurosci Lett. 2017 May 22;650:45-51. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2017.04.023. Epub 2017 Apr 13.
  10. Selective plasticity of hippocampal GABAergic interneuron populations following kindling of different brain regions. Botterill JJ, Nogovitsyn N, Caruncho HJ, Kalynchuk LE. J Comp Neurol. 2017 Feb 1;525(2):389-406. doi: 10.1002/cne.24071. Epub 2016 Jul 7.
  11. Epigenetic RELN Dysfunction in Schizophrenia and Related Neuropsychiatric Disorders. Guidotti A, Grayson DR, Caruncho HJ. Front Cell Neurosci. 2016 Apr 5;10:89. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2016.00089. eCollection 2016. Review.
  12. Reelin-Related Disturbances in Depression: Implications for Translational Studies. Caruncho HJ, Brymer K, Romay-Tallón R, Mitchell MA, Rivera-Baltanás T, Botterill J, Olivares JM, Kalynchuk LE. Front Cell Neurosci. 2016 Feb 25;10:48. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2016.00048. eCollection 2016. Review.
  13. Serotonin transporter clustering in blood lymphocytes predicts the outcome on anhedonia scores in naïve depressive patients treated with antidepressant medication. Rivera-Baltanas T, Agis-Balboa RC, Romay-Tallon R, Kalynchuk LE, Olivares JM, Caruncho HJ. Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2015 Dec 21;14:45. doi: 10.1186/s12991-015-0085-8. eCollection 2015.
  14. Limbic but not non-limbic kindling impairs conditioned fear and promotes plasticity of NPY and its Y2 receptor. Botterill JJ, Guskjolen AJ, Marks WN, Caruncho HJ, Kalynchuk LE. Brain Struct Funct. 2015 Nov;220(6):3641-55. doi: 10.1007/s00429-014-0880-z. Epub 2014 Aug 22.
  15. Imipramine protects against the deleterious effects of chronic corticosterone on depression-like behavior, hippocampal reelin expression, and neuronal maturation. Fenton EY, Fournier NM, Lussier AL, Romay-Tallon R, Caruncho HJ, Kalynchuk LE. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Jul 3;60:52-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2015.02.001. Epub 2015 Feb 12.
  16. Aberrant hippocampal neurogenesis after limbic kindling: Relationship to BDNF and hippocampal-dependent memory. Botterill JJ, Brymer KJ, Caruncho HJ, Kalynchuk LE. Epilepsy Behav. 2015 Jun;47:83-92. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.04.046. Epub 2015 May 11.
  17. Reelin influences the expression and function of dopamine D2 and serotonin 5-HT2A receptors: a comparative study. Varela MJ, Lage S, Caruncho HJ, Cadavid MI, Loza MI, Brea J. Neuroscience. 2015 Apr 2;290:165-74. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.01.031. Epub 2015 Jan 28.
  18. Reelin expression in brain endothelial cells: an electron microscopy study. Perez-Costas E, Fenton EY, Caruncho HJ. BMC Neurosci. 2015 Mar 24;16:16. doi: 10.1186/s12868-015-0156-4.
  19. Differential effects of corticosterone on the colocalization of reelin and neuronal nitric oxide synthase in the adult hippocampus in wild type and heterozygous reeler mice. Romay-Tallon R, Rivera-Baltanas T, Kalynchuk LE, Caruncho HJ. Brain Res. 2015 Jan 12;1594:274-83. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2014.10.050. Epub 2014 Oct 31.

For a complete list, visit the following sites for a current list of Dr. Caruncho's publications:



  • Josh Allen. PhD Candidate
  • Jenessa Johnston. MSc Candidate
  • Carla Liria Sanchez-Lafuente. MSc Candidate
  • Aleah Ross. Volunteer


  • Raquel Romay-Tallon. Postdocotral Fellow


Kaertor Foundation

NeuralHealth Program (University of Saskatchewan)

Xunta de Galicia GAIN Program Grant (Spain)