Dr. Andrew Weeks
Faculty of Arts & Science – Psychology, Associate Professor
Areas of Specialization:
- Behavioural neuroscience
- Neural basis of learning and memory
- Animal models of fear and anxiety
- Animal models of maternal behaviour
- Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
- Synaptic Structural Change during Neural Plasticity
- Effects of Environmental Toxins on Learning and Memory
My research looks at the neural basis of learning and memory. I am primarily interested in how the connections between brain cells (neurons) change following a learning event. These connections, called synapses, have been shown to increase in number and change shape and size after learning has occurred. Quantifying and understanding this physical imprint that learning leaves on these ultramicroscopic brain structures is the main goal of my current research. Current projects are considering these types of synaptic changes following fear conditioning, classical conditioning and maternal behaviour in rats. If this research sounds interesting to you, please follow the student opportunities link above to find out how you can get involved.
Current & Future Research:
Nipissing University (July 2000 – Present)
As an Associate Professor of Psychology I am continuing my research on the synaptic basis of learning and memory. I am currently collaborating with colleagues at the University of Manitoba, the University of Southern California, the Open University in the United Kingdom, and the University of Toronto on several distinct projects.
Open University, United Kingdom (Summer 2008)
As a visiting Professor (rank Senior Lecturer) working with Dr. Michael Stewart I acquired research skills associated with various forms of immuno-transmission electron microscopy.
University of Southern California (Dec. 1999 – June 2000)
I completed a post-doctoral project that involved a collaboration between the laboratories of Dr. Richard Thompson at the University of Southern California and Dr. Ted Petit at the University of Toronto. In that project I examined neural tissue thought to support the classically conditioned eye-blink response in the rabbit.
University of Toronto (Sept. 1994 – Dec. 1999)
I conducted research in the laboratory of Dr. Ted Petit on the neurological basis of learning and memory. The main research project involved a detailed analysis of synaptic morphology in the hippocampus following long-term potentiation (a model for long-term memory). During the course of this research I became proficient in transmission electron microscopy, digital imaging, and morphological quantification techniques. Secondary projects included an examination of the effects of toxins on animal learning and work with human clinical populations at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry.
Nipissing University (Sept. 1992 – June 1994)
As a member of the Nipissing University Neuroscience Research Unit, I developed and completed several research projects investigating pharmacological aspects of neural plasticity in rats. Skills obtained include the design and analysis of experiments, behavioural testing, drug preparation, injection techniques, free hand brain dissection, and histological analysis.