Harry MacKay Harry MacKay


Welcome! My name is Harry MacKay and I’m a behavioural science fellow currently working at Impact Canada within the Privy Council Office. Here, I work to optimize policy design and implementation using the principles of behavioural science.

My background is in the study of how the brain’s feeding and metabolic circuitry develops from an epigenetic and neuroanatomical perspective.  I am particularly interested in the application of next-gen sequencing methods (bisulfite-seq, RNA-seq, ATAC-seq, etc.,) and bioinformatics to questions in developmental neuroepigenetics. During graduate school I taught several courses in the Neuroscience department, and I also do a bit of graphic design, woodworking, and electronics, so I’ve included examples of these projects as well.


  • St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish NS
    • Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours (Psychology), 2009
  • Carleton University, Ottawa, ON
    • M.Sc. Psychology (specialization in neuroscience), Fast-tracked into Ph.D. program
  • Carleton University, Ottawa, ON
    • Ph.D. Neuroscience, 2015

Research interests:

  • Neuroendocrinology of body weight homeostasis
  • Epigenetics
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Stress
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Endocrine disrupting compounds
  • Adipose tissue function


  • qRT-PCR
  • Immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence
  • Conventional histology
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Stereology
  • Western blot
  • Flow cytometry, FACS
  • Indirect calorimetry
  • Next-gen sequencing


  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • MS Office
  • SPSS
  • Graphpad Prism
  • LaTeX
  • Arduino
  • Sketchup
  • R

Other skills and interests:

  • Graphic design
  • Furniture design
  • Carpentry
  • Arduino/electronics design
  • Playing music (guitar)

Email: harry.m(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)gmail.com

Twitter: @hmack84



NEUR3301: Genetics of Mental Health

I designed and taught this course in the Fall of 2021. Here, I aimed to give students a survey of the methods used in genomics, transcriptomics, and epigenomics and how they are applied to questions of mental health and neurological disease. Similar to my introductory courses, after...

The Neuroscience of Concussions

I originally made this video for the Fall 2014 session of NEUR1201 at Carleton.  I knew I would be missing one lecture due to my attendance at the Society for Neuroscience meeting that week, but I didn't want to cancel class.  This video was made in the 'sped up...

NEUR4200: Seminar on Current Research in Neuroscience

I taught Carleton University's advanced neuroscience seminar as a contract instructor in the Winter 2014 semester.  This course is intended for 4th year undergraduates in Carleton's Neuroscience and Mental Health program.  This course was mainly intended to develop skills in writing and presenting, as well as interpreting the scientific...

NEUR1201: Introduction to Mental Health and Disease

I taught four semesters of NEUR1201 from Fall 2013-Summer 2015.  This is Carleton's introductory neuroscience course, intended for students beginning the Neuroscience and Mental Health program, as well as students from other programs interested in the brain and mental health.  In addition to designing the course content (following in the...


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I built this coffee table from laminated 'spruce select' plywood and aluminum tubing. This was actually the very first project I did that I would categorize as 'woodworking', and I do so...
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I built this TV stand out of laminated 'spruce select' plywood.  It originally was made to support a 25" CRT set, but thankfully I left off any CRT-specific affordances and so this piece hasn't...
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  During graduate school I served in various roles (including president) in the Ottawa Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. During this time, we spearheaded a number of new outreach programs including Brain Awareness Week,...
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I'm a pretty big collector of old brain atlases, among other vintage scientific printed material. In the summer of 2015 I finally got around to making my own brain atlas. Actually I decided to...
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My original wooden Macbook case held up wonderfully for the five years I needed it.  But in 2018 I got a new Macbook and so I had to build a new case.  I made...
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I designed and built this coffee table from ash, with a bit of wenge for the keys and other details.  There are some fairly complicated joints involved in this that these photos don't really...
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This hutch remains my biggest project in terms of physical size and (likely) complexity. I adapted a plan from the New Yankee Workshop to work with cheaper, paint-grade materials.  It currently resides in my...
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I built this with my friend Philip one summer. We didn't really count on rope being so expensive (it would actually take hundreds of feet to properly load the skeins) so the unit is...
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It's become something of a yearly tradition for me to spend my summer vacation time at home in the workshop building a new project. Invariably I fall short of completing the project in that...
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The Waterland lab, where I am doing my postdoc, has an abiding interest in physical activity. Before I arrived, the prohibitive cost of commercial mouse running wheel setups lead the lab to use hamster wheels...
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This was a very special project for me, because it was a wedding present to my sister and her husband who got married in the summer of 2017.  Most of the other furniture I've...
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These are my own submissions for the Brain and Mental Health Art Show, hosted by the Ottawa Chapter of the Society for...
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My sister's bluegrass band is called Chasing Blue. They are presently based in the Boston area. From time to time I'll help them out by making a poster for a gig or something. Check them...
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I designed and built this desk out of mostly solid maple, with some pieces being made of maple plywood.  The desk is designed with a 'mid-century' aesthetic, with inspiration from George...
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I designed and built this laptop case out of solid maple. When I first got my 15" Macbook Pro there weren't too many decent cases available, so I built this one. It's been around the...
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This was the first bit of conventional woodworking I did, and I even followed a plan from a magazine to make it.  Made of solid white pine with a cedar...