Alain Gratton, PhD
6875 Boulevard LaSalle
Office:E-2135, Perry Pavilion
Office phone: (514) 761-6131 x3937
Full Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Lab name: Neurobiology of stressTheme-Based Group: Stress, Anxiety, Depression, and Suicide
Division: Basic Neuroscience
The focus of my group’s research is on the brain circuitry that controls how we cope with life’s many stressors. we are primarily interested in the role played by the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain region that reaches its full development relatively late in life, that is during late adolescence/early adulthood. This brain region is interesting for several reasons. First, it controls several complexe tasks such as decision-making, planning, memory and the control of impulsivity. Second, in part because it matures slowly, the prefrontal cortex is particularly vulnerable to a host of traumatic events which can cause it to develop abnormally and lead to a number of mental disorders. Third but not least, the prefrontal cortex plays an critical role in organizing and managing our coping responses to stressors. Interestingly, the left and right prefrontal cortex appear to control different aspects of our coping responses. Our research is aimed at understanding the mechanisms by which the prefrontal cortex is activated by stressors and in particular how the left and right sides of this brain area communicate with each other when coping with stressors.
Lupinsky D, Moquin L and Gratton A (2010) Inter-hemispheric regulation of the medial prefrontal cortical dopamine and glutamate responses to stress in rats. Journal of Neuroscience 30: 7624-7633.
Brake WG, Sullivan RM and Gratton A (2000) Perinatal distress leads to lateralized medial prefrontal cortical dopamine hypofunction in adult rats. Journal of Neuroscience 20: 5538-5543.
Richardson NR and Gratton A (1998) Changes in medial prefrontal cortical dopamine levels associated with response-contingent food reward: An electrochemical study in rat. Journal of Neuroscience 18:9130-9138.
Richardson NR and Gratton A (1996) Behavior-relevant changes in nucleus accumbens dopamine transmission elicited by food reinforcement: An electrochemical study in rat. Journal of Neuroscience 16:8160-8169.