Peter Finnie, Ph.D.
As a postdoctoral researcher I hope to advance our understanding of the neural underpinnings of memory through the exploration of a form of perceptual learning called stimulus-selective response potentiation (SRP). I began my research pursuits in the field of drug addiction and relapse, before transitioning to the development, implementation, and evaluation of clinical therapies in children diagnosed with a range of comorbid behavioural and/or developmental disorders. The first 18 months of my postdoctoral research has been dedicated to dissecting the contributions made by distinct cell populations and brain regions to SRP. For instance, I have determined that although hippocampal plasticity is not necessary to acquire the task, this structure may actually inhibit the magnitude of electrophysiological change exhibited by visual cortex. With regards to the research proposed here, my background in behavioral and pharmacological interrogation of neural systems, in combination with recently-acquired skills in viral transfection, extracellular in vivo electrophysiology, confocal fluorescence microscopy, and chemogenetic control of neuronal activity, will allow me to explore unique angles in the completion of this project. Furthermore, my clinical research experience may aid in developing experimental protocols that can also be readily translated to humans. For instance, using custom-built electrodes enabling simultaneous sampling from the cortical surface and deeper layers, I have recently confirmed that SRP can be detected from outside the brain in mice, and may be impaired in one genetic model of autism.
Ph.D. in Psychology, McGill University, 2016
BA in Psychology, McGill University, 2006