Marie-Pierre Cossette is a PhD student in psychology at Concordia University. She specializes in neuroscience and has focused her research on the neural circuitry that underlies reward response. She explores cell body activation in the ventral tegmental area and dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens—regions that are triggered when natural rewards such as food and artificial rewards such as drugs are received. Marie-Pierre Cossette aims to pinpoint the areas in the brain that are critical to reward assessment.
She began her research career in her first year of undergraduate studies in Peter Shizgal's laboratory at Concordia University, where she was actively involved in the implementation of optogenetics, a revolutionary neuroscience technique. The method makes it possible to activate and inhibit a single neuron type, providing an unprecedented level of specificity. She is also mastering a new technique derived from CLARITY, another recent technological breakthrough, which enables experts to visualize neuronal connections without the interference of the membranes.
She joined the board of directors of the FRQS as a student representative and chairs the intersectoral student committee. She was awarded the NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship as well as grants from Concordia University.