University of Calgary

Hamid Habibi

  • Professor
  • Integrative Cell Biology

Research Interests

Research in my laboratory is centered on the endocrine control of reproduction and growth. Emphasis is placed on two levels of regulatory systems: i) Control of pituitary gonadotropin and growth hormone gene expression by hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and gonadal steroids, and ii) paracrine regulation of ovarian function by GnRH and growth factors. My research provided novel information on GnRH functional diversity in a number of cell types of fish and mammalian origin and developed technologies relevant to pharmaceutical and agri-food industries. These include development of: 1) novel GnRH agonists with improved ovulatory and antitumor properties, and 2) method for enhancing growth rate in cultured fish species, using transgenic canola seeds expressing fish growth hormone. 

To date, there have been a number of opportunities for translation of this basic research into technologies relevant to pharmaceutical and agri-food industries. These technologies include 1) identification of novel tumor-specific GnRH analogs, and 2) large-scale production of recombinant carp growth hormone and development of a food supplement for improving growth rate in cultured fish. In addition, we are involved in a collaborative effort to develop a valid method of measuring environmental compounds with steroid-like activity. It is anticipated that these studies will provide fundamental information on hormonal control of growth and reproduction as well as developing technologies related to environment, aquaculture and medicine.

Graduate Students

Kinch, Cassandra Ph.D.  Health impact of emerging contaminants on embryonic and neuronal development
Zare, Ava Ph.D. Health impact of emerging contaminants, using transcriptomics approach
Shaelen Konschuh M.Sc. Membrane thyroid receptors and control of angiogenesis
Cameron Toth M.Sc. Health impact of oil sands process-affected water
Abeer Alhawsawi M.Sc. hormonal control of testicular development
Mahdi Golshan   (visiting PhD, České Republic) Health impact of pesticides and hericides
Azin Mohagheghi Samarin   (visiting PDF, České Republic) Ovarian follicle development


2012 - Faculty of Science Award of Excellence in Community Outreach, University of Calgary.

2005 - 18th Khwarazmi International Distinguished Research Award, Research Organization for Science and Technology.

2002 - Research Achievement Recognition-Celebration of Excellence, University of Calgary.

2001 - Grace Pickford Medal, International Federation of Endocrinological Societies.

2000 - Professorship/Lectureship in Science and Sustainable Development, UNESCO and International Council of Science / the Third World Academy of Sciences.

Selected Publications

  • Google Scholar Link
  • Kinch CD , Ibhazehiebo K, Jeong JH, Habibi HR, KurraschDM (2015) Low Dose Exposure to Bisphenol A and Replacement Bisphenol S Induces Precocious Hypothalamic Neurogenesis in Embryonic Zebrafish, PNAS, in press.

  • Moussavi M, Wlasichuk M, Chang J.P, and Habibi H.R. (2014) Gonadotropin-Inhibitory hormone (GnIH), Gonadotrophin releasing hormone, Growth hormone, Pitutitary, goldfish. J. Endocrinology, in press.   

  • Golshan M, Hatef A, Zare A, Socha M, Milla S, Gosiewski G, Fontaine P,  Sokołowska-Mikołajczyk M, Habibi HR, Alavi H (2014) Alternations in neuroendocrine and endocrine regulation of reproduction in male goldfish (Carassius auratus) following an acute and chronic exposure to vinclozolin, in vivo. Aquatic Toxicology, 155C:73-83. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2014.06.004

  • Hontela A and Habibi HR (2014) Personal care products in the aquatic environment:  a case study on the effects of Triclosan in fish. Fish Physiology, 33: Organic Chem. Tox. Fishes, ISBN: 978-0-12-398254-4, (Tierney K, Farrell T, Brauner C, eds), 411-437 pp.

  • Habibi HR (2014) Environmental contaminants with hormone-like activity: Screening and risk characterization. Canadian Civil Engineer, 31.2: 20-23.

  • Annett R, Habibi HR, Hontela A (2014) Impact of glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides on the freshwater environment. Journal of Applied Toxicology, J Applied Toxicol. 34(5):458-479.

  • Shin HS, Habibi HR, Choi CY (2014) The environmental regulation of maturation in goldfish, Carassius auratus: Effects of various LED light spectra. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 168:17-24.

  • Shin HS, Kim NN, Choi YJ, Habibi HR, Kim JW, Choi CY (2013) Light-emitting diode spectral sensitivity relationship with reproductive parameters and ovarian maturation in yellowtail damselfish, Chrysiptera parasema. J Photochem Photobiol B. 127:108-13.

  • Nelson ER and Habibi (2013) Estrogen receptor function and regulation in fish and other vertebrates. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 192:15-24.

  • Kim NN, Lee J, Habibi HR, Choi CY (2013) Molecular cloning and expression of caspase-3 in the protandrous cinnamon clownfish during sex change. Fish Physiol Biochem, 39(3):417-29.

  • Moussavi M, Wlasichuk M, Chang J.P, and Habibi H.R. (2013) Seasonal effect of GnIH on GnRH-induced gonadotroph functions in the goldfish pituitary. J. Neuroendocrinol 25(5):506-516

  • Evans JS, Jackson LJ, Habibi HR, Ikonomou MG (2012) Feminization of longnose dace (Rhinichthys cataractae) in the Oldman River, Alberta (Canada) provides evidence of widespread endocrine disruption in an agricultural basin. Scientifica, Volume 2012, Article ID 521931, 11 pages

  • Hatef A, Zare A, Hadi Alavi, SM, Habibi HR, Linhart O (2012) Modulations in androgen and estrogen mediating genes and testicular response in male goldfish exposed to Bisphenol A. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 31(9):2069-2077.

  • Allan ERO and Habibi HR (2012) Direct effects of triiodothyronine on production of anterior pituitary hormones and gonadal steroids in goldfish. Mol Reprod & Development 79(9):592-602.

  • Kim NN, Habibi HR, Lee J, Choi CY (2012) Effects of recombinant gonadotropin hormones on the expression of vitellogenin, gonadotropin subunits and gonadotropin receptors in cinnamon clownfish, Amphiprion melanopus. Comp Biochem Physiol B 162(4):73-80

  • Jordan J, Zare A, Jackson LJ, Habibi HR, Weljie AM (2012) Exposure to low concentrations of waterborne contaminants, individually and in a mixture, causes disruption in metabolism in fish.  Journal of Proteome Research 11(2):1133-1143.

  • Moussavi M, Wlasichuk M, Chang JP, and Habibi HR (2012) Seasonal effect of GnIH on gonadotrope functions in the pituitary of goldfish, Mol. & Cellular Endocrinology 350(1):53-60.

  • Nelson ER, Allan ER, Pang FY, Habibi HR (2011) Auto-regulation of thyroid hormone receptors in the goldfish ovary and testis. Gen Comp Endocrinol 172:50-56

  • Jeffries KM, Jackson LJ, Ikonomou MG, Habibi HR (2010) Presence of natural and anthropogenic organic contaminants and potential fish health impacts along two river gradients in Alberta, Canada. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry 29(10):2379-8.

  • Nelson ER, Allan ERO, Pang F and Habibi HR (2010) Thyroid Hormone and Reproduction: Regulation of Estrogen Receptors in Goldfish Gonads, Molecular Reproduction and Development, 77(9):784-94.

  • Nelson ER and Habibi HR (2010) Functional significance of estrogen receptor subtypes in the liver of goldfish. Endocrinology 151: 1668–1676.

  • An KW, An MI, Nelson ER, Habibi HR, Choi CY* (2009) Gender-related expression of TRalpha and TRbeta in the protandrous black porgy, Acanthopagrus schlegeli, during sex change processes. General and Comparative Endocrinology 65:11-8

  • Moussavi M, Nelson ER and Habibi (2009) Seasonal regulation of vitellogenin by growth hormone in the goldfish live. General and Comparative Endocrinology,161(1):79-82.

  • Nelson ER and Habibi (2009) Thyroid receptor subtypes: structure and function in fish. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 161(1):90-96

  • Chang JP, Johnson JD, Sawisky GR, Grey CL, Mitchell G, Booth M,  Volk MM, Parks SK,  Thompson E, Goss GG, Klausen C, Habibi HR (2009) Signal transduction in multifactorial neuroendocrine control of gonadotropin secretion and synthesis in teleosts - studies on the goldfish model. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 161(1):42-52

  • Nelson ER, Habibi HR. (2008) Functional significance of a truncated thyroid receptor subtype lacking a hormone-binding domain in goldfish. Endocrinology 149(9):4702-4710

  • Jeffries KM, Nelson ER, Jackson LJ, Habibi HR. (2008) Basin-wide impacts of compounds with estrogen-like activity on longnose dace (Rhinichthys cataractae) in two Prairie Rivers of Alberta, Canada. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 27:2042–2052.

  • An KW, Nelson ER, Habibi HR, Choi CY* (2008) Molecular characterization and expression of three GnRH forms mRNA during gonad sex-change process, and effect of GnRHa on GTH subunits mRNA in the protandrous black porgy (Acanthopagrus schlegeli). General and Comparative Endocrinology 159:38-45.

  • Nelson ER and Habibi HR (2008) Seasonal-related homologous regulation of goldfish liver Estrogen receptor subtypes. Cybium 32(2): 248-25 .

  • Klausen C, Booth M, Habibi HR, Chang JP (2008) Extracellular signal-regulated kinase mediates gonadotropin subunit gene expression and LH release responses to endogenous gonadotropin-releasing hormones in goldfish. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 158(1):36-46.

  • An KW, Nelson ER, Jo PG, Habibi HR, Shin HS, Choi CY* (2008) Characterization of estrogen receptor beta2 and expression of the estrogen receptor subtypes alpha, beta1, and beta2 in the protandrous black porgy (Acanthopagrus schlegeli) during the sex change process. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 150(3):284-91.

  • Choi CY*, An KW, Nelson ER, Habibi HR. (2007) Cadmium affects the expression of metallothionein (MT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) mRNA in goldfish, Carassius auratus. Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 145(4):595-600.

  • Nelson ER, Wiehler WB, Cole WC, Habibi HR (2007) Homologous regulation of estrogen receptor subtypes in goldfish (Carassius auratus). Mol Reprod Dev. 74(9):1105-12.

  • Soverchia L, Carotti M, Andreu-Vieyra C, Mosconi G, Cannella N, Habibi H, Polzonetti-Magni AM. (2007) Role of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in the regulation of gonadal differentiation in the gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata). Mol Reprod Dev. 74(1):57-67.

  • Habibi HR and Andreu-Vieyra CV (2007) Hormonal Regulation of Follicular atresia in the teleost fish. In: The Fish Oocyte: From Basic Studies to Biotechnological Applications. (Babin, PJ, Cerda, J and Lubzens E eds.), Springer Pub Co., pp 231-250.


  • PhD - Comparative Endocrinology
    University of Aston, 1983
  • BSc
    University of Aston, 1979
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