Despite continued research to characterize the features of sleep and its underlying physiological processes, the functions of sleep have remained largely enigmatic. The focus of my research is to investigate one of the dominant hypotheses: that the function of sleep is for memory consolidation (the process of forming enduring memory traces).
Previously, as part of my Undergraduate (Trent) and Masters (Brock), my research investigated the learning-dependent changes to sleep in humans. Specifically, I have been interested in identifying the electrophysiological markers that may reflect mechanisms for memory consolidation during sleep. I have investigated the effects of motor, procedural and declarative learning on sleep. I am also interested in the electrophysiological markers of sleep that relate to learning potential and aptitudes, normally measured by IQ tests.
More recently throughout my PhD research (Queen’s), my interests have expanded to include investigating the role of sleep in models of neurodegenerative disease, neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric conditions.
This research has implications for Parkinson’s Disease and depression. My postdoctoral research (Montreal) is focused on identifying the neural correlates of learning-related changes to sleep following motor sequence learning in humans using simultaneous EEG and fMRI recordings, with an emphasis on identifying the role of the sleep spindle in memory consolidation in healthy young and elderly adults.
Intérêts de recherche
To identify and characterize the functional significance of sleep for memory consolidation using primarily electrophysiological and neuroimaging techniques.