The Lab

Who are we?

We are a behavioural neuropharmacology laboratory located in the department of Pharmacology and Physiology of the Université de Montréal.

What is our mission ?

Our overall objective is to characterise the neurobiological bases of learning, motivation and reward. Within this context, we aim to better understand drug addiction and its brain mechanisms.

Why is our work important ?

We are working to understand what happens in the brain when we encounter rewards such as water and food, and especially drugs of abuse. What neural circuits are activated? How does this brain activity push us to pursue rewards? By what brain mechanisms does this pursuit become pathological? Basic research on theses issues is important. It allows us to better understand daily responses to rewards, but also disorders where these responses are abnormal, such as in addiction, other compulsive disorders and schizophrenia.

What research techniques do we use ?

We combine Pavlovian (CS-UCS) and instrumental (e.g., intravenous drug self-administration) learning paradigms with pharmacological manipulations, intracerebral injections, in vivo microdialysis and molecular biology techniques. To keep a multidisciplinary approach, we also maintain an open, collaborative research environment.

What research tools do we use ?

Our main equipment includes a suite of operant cages, locomotor activity cages, a stereotaxic surgery platform, a histology platform and a molecular biology platform (ELISA, receptor autoradiography, G-protein activation, in situ hybridization). With our collaborators, we also use a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry platform.