Current Research Projects

We currently have five main research streams in the lab:

Memory Destabilization and Updating

For several years, we have investigated the nature of reactivation-based memory destabilization and updating. Our past work has implicated the cholinergic system in object memory destabilization, and we are currently studying the molecular bases of this role, as well as its generalizabilty to other forms of memory and the effects of ACh on memory storage dynamics. This work is currently funded by NSERC.

GABA and Object Representations

Inhibitory transmission is essential to normal brain function. We are interested in how various GABAergic inhibitory interneuron subtypes regulate encoding and long-term storage of object memory representations.

Effects of Drugs of Abuse and their Conditioned Cues on Memory Consolidation

Drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and nicotine, are powerful memory modulators. In collaboration with Dr. Francesco Leri, we are studying the effects of such drugs, as well as their conditioned stimuli, on object memory consolidation and long-term storage.

Early Life Enrichment and Alzheimer’s Disease Model Mice

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by distinctive pathological brain changes and cognitive impairment. However, some people can sustain significant levels of AD pathology without displaying cognitive symptoms. Cognitive reserve theory posits that enriched life experiences can help individuals to develop resistance to the effects of AD pathology. In collaboration with Dr. Bruce McNaughton, we are testing this hypothesis in transgenic mouse models of AD provided with varying levels of environmental enrichment. This work is currently funded by CIHR.

Potential Benefits of Neurosteroids in Alzheimer’s Disease Model Mice

The neuroprotective effects of neurosteroids, particularly testosterone-derived metabolites, have been understudied. Evidence suggests that these neurosteroids may protect against AD pathology and provide cognitive benefits. In collaboration with Dr. Neil MacLusky, we are studying the potential benefit of 5-alpha androstane 3,17-beta diol (3adiol) in transgenic mouse models of AD. This work is currently funded by The Weston Brain Institute.