Michael J. Esser

Clinical Associate Professor



Pediatric NeuroCritical Care and Translational Research

Full Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

M.D. (Doctor of Medicine)

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)


Contact information


Office: 403.955.7911

Web presence



Office : ACHC4-629

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Epilepsy
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Pediatric brain injury
  • neuroinflammation
  • Determinants of Health
  • Health outcomes
  • Knowledge Translation
  • Novel Therapeutics

Research activities

My main area of research is pediatric brain injury using an approach that is translational. As a clinician I see patients in the Intensive care Units with all forms of acquired brain injury and follow them longterm. From this population we derive research questions that incorporate the use of a BioCORE for examining molecular markers in children, and basic science studies on more fundamental mechanisms. As an example we are currently the Canadian Centre of an ERA-NET Neuron Grant (ICON-TBI; CIHR funded) that is examining the link between neuroinflammation and TBI across severities and ages using both experimental models and clinical patients (MRI, clinical outcomes, and blood markers). Our role is the animal model and clinical aspects of pediatric TBI. Other studies are ongoing that are examining the role of neuroinflammation on the premature brain and on neonatal brains following hypoxic ischemic injury.

In addition to my research pursuits, I am also very interested in training students in Neuroscience. While my career and lab emphasis is on translational research I am a keen supporter of students having a strong fundamental knowledge of Neuroscience. I have had the pleasure of training learners from a variety of entry points interested in research including undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellow, as well as medical residents and fellows. In my opinion, being able to provide learners with a mix of clinical and basic science exposure allows then to envison a carreer in research from several different perspectives.