Matthew Hill, PHD

Assistant Professor, Hotchkiss Brain Institute;
University of Calgary;
Tier II Canada Research Chair in the Neurobiology of Stress

  • Neurobiology of stress

  • Endocannabinoid signalling

  • Interactions between stress, inflammation and feeding

Dr. Hill’s research is focused on understanding the mechanisms by which stress impacts the brain, with a particular focus on the circuits and signals that regulate changes in anxiety and hormone release following stress. A large portion of Dr. Hill’s work has focused on the endocannabinoid system, the brain’s natural version of cannabis (similar to how endorphins are the brain’s natural version of morphine).

The Hill laboratory has found that endocannabinoid signalling in the brain largely acts to dampen the effects of stress. They have also demonstrated that stress hormones drive an increase in endocannabinoid activity in the brain and that this increase in endocannabinoids is required to end the stress response. More recently, their work has begun to examine mechanisms by which changes in endocannabinoid activity following stress contribute to alterations in anxiety, inflammation and eating behaviours.

"I think people should understand what is happening in their brains and bodies when they are stressed out so that they can understand why they feel the way they do and why they engage in the behaviours they do when they are like that, especially around eating habits. There are multiple ways in which knowledge translation can occur and NeuroTrition has set up a system that will share this information to a wider audience."


Society for Neuroscience

International Cannabinoid Research Society

Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids (Past President)

American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

Canadian Association for Neuroscience

International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology

Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology

  1. Hill, M.N. and Gorzalka, B.B. (2009). Impairments in endocannabinoid signaling and depressive illness. Journal of the American Medical Association, 301(11), 1165-1166.
  2. Hill, M.N., McLaughlin, R.J., Bingham, B., Shrestha, L., Lee, T.T., Gray, J.M., Hillard, C.J., Gorzalka, B.B. and Viau, V. (2010). Endogenous cannabinoid signaling is essential for stress adaptation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA ,107(20), 9406-9411.
  3. Hill, M.N., McLaughlin, R.J., Pan, B., Fitzgerald, M.L., Roberts, C.J., Lee, T.T., Karatsoreos, I.N., Mackie, K., Viau, V., Pickel, V.M., McEwen, B.S., Liu, Q.S., Gorzalka, B.B. and Hillard, C.J. (2011). Recruitment of prefrontal cortical endocannabinoid signaling by glucocorticoids contributes to termination of the stress response. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(29), 10506-10515.
  4. Hill, M.N., Kumar, S.A., Filipski, S.B., Iverson, M., Stuhr, K.L., Keith, J.M., Cravatt, B.F., Hillard, C.J., Chattarji, S. and McEwen BS. (2013). Disruption of fatty acid amide hydrolase activity prevents the effects of chronic stress on anxiety and amygdalar microstructure. Molecular Psychiatry, 18(10), 1125-1135.
  5. Bowles, N.P., Karatsoreos, I.N., Li, X., Vemuri, V.K., Wood, J.A., Li, Z., Tamashiro, K.L., Schwartz, G.J., Makriyannis, A.M., Kunos, G., Hillard, C.J., McEwen, B.S. and Hill, M.N. (2015). A peripheral endocannabinoid mechanism contributes to glucocorticoid-mediated metabolic syndrome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 112(1), 285-290.

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