Peter Soja

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Phone: 604 822-2692

Web pages: Faculty listing



  • PDF Neuropharmacology, UCLA School of Medicine, 1986
  • PhD, Pharmacology, University of British Columbia, 1983
  • MSc, Pharmacology, University of British Columbia, 1980
  • BSc, Biology, UMASS-Dartmouth, 1976


  • Neuropharmacology
  • Neurophysiology
  • Anesthesia
  • Synaptic plasticity
  • Sleep, Sleep Disorders
  • Pain, pain - sleep interactions
  • Sensorimotor processing & modulation
  • Spinal cord, brainstem interactions

Research Interests

Current research interests focus on how synaptic transmission through identified ascending spinal sensory pathways and motoneuron pools differs during distinct behavioral states such as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and REM sleep, or general anesthesia vs. wakefulness. Data derived from our studies will help to further elucidate the neural network interactions between sleep, pain, and anesthesia, which traditionally, have been studied as insular, separate fields. Moreover, our studies may provide novel targets for developing novel approaches for treating the cataplexy associated with narcolepsy, the sensory dyesthesias of restless legs syndrome and/or the abnormal motor tone that occurs in REM behavior disorder as well as chronic pain following restricted sleep, and/or recent CNS trauma.

Selected Publications

Namjoshi, D.R., Vukicevic, S., Sanoja, R., and Soja, P.J. (2010). Spinal cord targets of relevance to the anesthesiologist. In: "The Neuroscientific Foundations of Anesthesiology", Oxford University Press, Eds. R.Lydic, G. Mashour, (in press).

Namjoshi, D.R., McErlane, S.A., Taepavarapruk, N., Soja, P.J. (2009). Network actions of pentobarbital in the mesopontine tegmentum on sensory inflow through the spinothalamic tract. J. Neurophysiol. 102: 700-713.

Laverdure-Dupont, Lavigne, G., Montplaisir, J. and Soja, P.J. (2009). Is the manifestation of the Restless Leg Syndrome related to a pain mechanism? In: The Restless Legs Syndrome, Eds. Dr. W. Hening, R. Allen, S. Chokroverty, and C. Earley, Saunders, Elsevier, Philadelphia, pp 206-218.

Soja, P.J. (2008). Glycine-mediated postsynaptic inhibition is responsible for REM sleep atonia. Sleep, 31: 1483-1486.

Soja, P.J. (2007). Modulation of prethalamic sensory inflow during sleep versus wakefulness, In: Sleep and Pain, International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) book series. Eds., G. Lavigne, M. Choiniere, B. Sessle, P. Soja, pp 45-76.




BC Health Research Foundation Scholar

Medical Research Council of Canada Development Grant