Our laboratory focuses its attention on a population of cells in the brain that are amongst the most fascinating in the central nervous system: the neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. These neurons
play a key role in a number of normal brain
functions. The are also the target of many drugs of abuse including cocaine and amphetamine. They are also implicated in the physiopathological mechanisms of diseases such as
Parkinson's, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorders and Huntington’s disease. In addition, some of the world’s most prescribed drugs, including antipsychotics and psychostimulants have as a primary target this neurotransmitter or its receptors. Within this context, our team is interested in understanding the multiple regulatory mechanisms that control the
functions of these neurons in the brain, as well as their ability to release dopamine
and other chemical messengers. We pay special attention to the function of the dopamine receptors as well as the basic properties of the axon terminals and dendrites of these neurons.
We are presently trying to understand how the
functions of dopamine neurons are perturbed in
Parkinson's disease. Our work is contributing to the discovery of new fundamental knowledge about dopamine-producing neurons. We hope that one day our discoveries will contribute to the development of new strategies to treat the various diseases that implicate this particularly challenging neuronal population.