Welcome to Dr. Sameera Abuaish’s website

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

Albert Einstein

About me

Dr. Sameera Abuaish is an assistant professor at the Department of Basic Science at the College of Medicine in Princess Nourah Bint Adulrahman University. She studies how different early-life environments affect different aspects of neurobiology (behaviour, physiology, and molecular biology) in individual in both rodent models and humans.

She has obtained her PhD degree in Cell and Systems Biology from the University of Toronto in Canada. During that time she was a member in Dr. Patrick McGowan’s laboratory studying the effects of maternal obesity and stress on offspring anxiety behavior, neuroendocrinology, and epigenetics.

Previously, she completed her MSc. in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from the University of Ottawa, where she was a member in Dr. David Park’s laboratory working on identifying genetic interactors of one of Parkinson’s disease genes (LRRK2), using a Drosophila melanogaster genetic screen. She graduated Cum Lauda from the University of Ottawa with a Bacholar’s degree with Honors in Biology with specialization in cellular and molecular biology with a minor in Psychology.

Througout her education she was keen to understand how the brain works in health and disease using different animal models. She continous to explore this further in her research.


Dr. Abuaish’s research interst is examining early life maternal environmental factors in shaping the health outcomes of individuals with specific focus on neuroendocrinology. She does that mainly in animal models, however she is keen in translating knowledge obtained from animals to humans. Her approach is to integrate several biological levels from behaviour and physiology to molecular changes in gene expression to understand the health and disease in these models.

Research Expertises:

  • Animal models of obesity and neuropsychatric disorders
  • Animal behavior (several behavioral tests in rodents)
  • Animal physiology (RIA and ELISA)
  • Gene expression and DNA methylation (qPCR, pyrosequencing, RRBS)
  • Brain anatomy (microdissection)

ResearchGate Profile


  • Abuaish S, Lavergne SG, Hing B, St-Cyr S, Spinieli RL, Boonstra R, McGowan PO. Sex-specific maternal programming of corticosteroid-binding globulin by predator odour. Proc Biol Sci. 2021 Dec 8;288(1964):20211908. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2021.1908. Epub 2021 Dec 1. PMID: 34847769.
  • Abuaish S, Al-Otaibi NM, Abujamel TS, Alzahrani SA, Alotaibi SM, AlShawakir YA, Aabed K, El-Ansary A. Fecal Transplant and Bifidobacterium Treatments Modulate Gut Clostridium Bacteria and Rescue Social Impairment and Hippocampal BDNF Expression in a Rodent Model of Autism. Brain Sciences. 2021; 11(8):1038. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11081038
  • Abuaish, S., Al-Otaibi, N.M., Aabed, K. et al. The role of sex-differentiated variations in stress hormones, antioxidants, and neuroimmune responses in relation to social interaction impairment in a rodent model of autism. Metab Brain Dis (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11011-021-00732-5
  • Abuaish, S., Tse EK, McGowan PO., 2019. Perinatal high-fat diet impairs pup retrieval and induces sex-specific changes in ultrasonic vocalization characteristics of rat pups. Dev Psychobiol. doi: 10.1002/dev.21923.
  • Abuaish, S., Spinieli, R.L., McGowan, P.O., 2018. Perinatal high fat diet induces early activation of endocrine stress responsivity and anxiety-like behavior in neonates. Psychoneuroendocrinology 98, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.08.003
  • St-Cyr, S., Abuaish, S., Spinieli, R.L., McGowan, P.O., 2018a. Maternal Predator Odor Exposure in Mice Programs Adult Offspring Social Behavior and Increases Stress-Induced Behaviors in Semi-Naturalistic and Commonly-Used Laboratory Tasks. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 12, 1–14. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00136
  • St-Cyr, S., Abuaish, S., Welch, K.C., McGowan, P.O., 2018. Maternal predator odour exposure programs metabolic responses in adult offspring. Sci. Rep. 8, 1–13. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-26462-w
  • Abuaish, S., McGowan, P.O., 2017. Impacts of Maternal High-Fat Diet on Stress-Related Behaviour and the Endocrine Response to Stress in Offspring, in: Rajendram, R., Preedy, V.R., Patel, V.B. (Eds.), Diet, Nutrition, and Fetal Programming. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 213–225. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-60289-9_17                      
  • St-Cyr, S., Abuaish, S., Sivanathan, S., & McGowan, PO., 2017. Maternal programming of sex-specific responses to predator odor stress in adult rats. Hormones and behavior. 94. 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2017.06.005. 
  • Marcogliese, Paul & Abuaish, Sameera & Kabbach, Ghassan & Abdel-Messih, Elizabeth & Seang, Sarah & Li, Gang & S. Slack, Ruth & Haque, M Emdadul & Venderova, Katerina & S. Park, David. (2017). LRRK2(I2020T) Functional Genetic Interactors that Modify Eye Degeneration and Dopaminergic Cell Loss in Drosophila. Human Molecular Genetics. 26. 10.1093/hmg/ddx030. 

Googel Scholar


Basic Sciences Department
College of Medicine
Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University
11671 Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

For any inquiries please do not hasitate to contact me below