PhD, McGill University
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 5451
The Brake lab examines how natural fluctuations in ovarian hormones across the estrus cycle in rats affect normal brain function and plasticity, particularly central dopamine transmission.They are examining how estrogen influences dopamine transmission in areas linked to schizophrenia and how antipsychotic drug effects may be influenced by estrogen..
Dr. Brake's research comprises two main areas of interest.
1) The mechanisms by which the early environment in rodent models affects development of brain function and behavior. His lab investigates how birth complications and early maternal-infant relationships affect brain development; specifically the dopamine system. These studies are carried out to understand the mechanisms underlying disorders such as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia as well as why, upon adulthood, some are more susceptible to the ill-effects of repeated stress and the incentive values of drugs of abuse.
2) Another line of research examines how ovarian steroids (e.g. estrogen) affect plasticity of the brain and subsequent behavior. Dr. Brake's lab employs behavioral tests, modern anatomical techniques and cutting edge methods to measure changes in neurochemistry to ultimately understand how our early environment and hormonal milieu shape our adult life.