For more than 25 years, research in my laboratory has focused on investigating the behavioural determinants, neuronal substrates and neurophysiological correlates of motor skill learning and consolidation. During this presentation, I will review some of our work focusing on motor sequence learning (MSL) and will discuss our studies showing that the consolidation of this form of memory trace depends upon greater functional integration of the cortico-striatal system and non-rapid eye movement (N-REM) sleep spindle activity measured during the night following the initial training session. More specifically, I will describe the results of our simultaneous fMRI/EEG recording experiment, which show that: a) the cortico-striatal network recruited during MSL is reactivated during sleep, time-locked to spindles, b) such a reactivation of the memory trace is followed by reorganization of the neural representation toward a subcortically-dominant consolidated trace during the post-training night, and c) sleep spindles promote skill consolidation by locally reactivating and functionally binding task-relevant cortical and subcortical regions including the striatum.
After completing his Ph.D. in 1988 at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) under the supervision of Dr. Brenda Milner, Dr. Doyon was an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Laval University until 2000. He then moved to University of Montreal where he became the founding Scientific Director of the Functional Neuroimaging Unit from 2004 to 2017 and founding Director of the Quebec Bio-Imaging Network (QBIN) from 2008 to 2019. Currently, Dr. Doyon is Director of the McConnell Brain Imaging Center at the MNI and professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University. Research in his laboratory investigates, through a combination of imaging techniques and modalities, the brain and spinal cord plasticity associated with motor learning, as well as the role of sleep in the consolidation and reconsolidation of this form of memory. More recently, Dr. Doyon has also developed a clinical research program intended to identify functional and structural biomarkers useful for the early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Finally, for his scientific contribution, Dr. Doyon obtained the 2011 Canadian Society for Brain Behavior & Cognitive Sciences (CSBBCS) – Richard C. Tess Award and was named Fellow of this Canadian society in 2017, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge and leadership in the field of cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging. He was awarded the 2012 ACFAS - Léo Pariseau prize highlighting the excellence and international impact of his work and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in September 2017 as well as a member of the Canadian Academy of Health Science in 2018.