Comparative Neurobiology Lab
Research in the Laberge Lab
We study evolution of the neural substrate of behaviour by highlighting similarities and differences in the brain pathways that organize behaviour in different vertebrates. Investigations relate to the structure and function of brain regions that integrate sensory input and control behaviour in amphibians and fishes. Little is known about the functional organization of behavioural pathways in these animals. Comparison with the better known but highly complex mammalian brains could help elucidate the basic pathways and mechanisms organizing behaviour. Our approach is threefold: 1) behavioural experiments; 2) anatomical methods to describe the architecture of brain pathways; 3) measure of brain activity by direct recording of electrical activity or labelling of indirect markers of neuronal activation. Additionally, recent research efforts have begun to unravel how plastic organs, such as the brain, are influenced by ecology and environmental factors in wild fish.
Current research is funded by a Discovery Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. An infrastructure grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation was used to establish our electrophysiology and microscopy facilities.