Guillaume Poirier, Ph.D.

Center for Comparative NeuroImaging (CCNI)
Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School
303 Belmont St, Worcester, MA 01604
Tel: (774) 455-4316 Email:

biopsychosocial models = vulnerability to stress = socio-emotional and cognitive psychopathology = neural markers = brain connectivity


University of Massachusetts Medical School, Center for Comparative NeuroImaging              
Worcester, USA 
Post-doctoral scientist (Prof. Jean King)                                                                              May 2014-present

Focus: Brain connectivity patterns as predictors of vulnerability to pathology or of treatment outcomes 

  • Project design, management, execution, analysis, communication
  • Supervision of students

  • Translational pre-clinical and human research on brain connectivity patterns associated with neuropsychiatric and other clinical disorders, including addictions and the implication of stress reduction in outcomes.

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (ÉPFL), Brain Mind Institute                       Lausanne, Switzerland
Post-doctoral scientist (Prof. Carmen Sandi)                                                                                  2009-2012
Focus: Adversity, cognitive and emotional psychopathology; neural substrates and connectivity 

  • Project design, management, execution, analysis, communication (peer-reviewed and international media)
  • Evaluation, sourcing and implementation of new techniques
  • Supervision of Master and Ph.D. student candidates 
  • Identified neurobiological patterns associated with peripubertal and adult stressors
    • Regional connectivity alterations using cellular-level activity mapping
    • Regional functional changes using gene and protein expression, epigenetics, enzymatic assays
  • Established causal links between developmental and/or adult adversity and psychopathology
  • Pinpointed individual neural and behavioral variability associated with adversity, vulnerability to depression
  • Pharmacologically normalized deficient social interactions resulting from peripubertal stress
  • Observed and manipulated transgenerational transmission of altered emotionality
  • Studied stimulus ambiguity response profile in relation to emotion and cognition 

Cardiff University, School of Psychology                                                         Cardiff, Wales, UK
Post-doctoral Research Associate (Prof. J.P. Aggleton)                                               2006-2008
Focus: Large-scale network interactions in learning and memory

  • Revealed dynamic, context-dependent engagement and neural network coupling of selected brain structures in processes involved in learning, memory and perceptual abilities

Research Assistant (Prof. J.P. Aggleton, Prof. M. Good)                                              2003-2006
Focus: Brain region vulnerability to distal lesions and amyloid pathology       

  • Uncovered in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease metabolic and functional perturbations in a specific brain area that emerged prior to overt amyloidosis
  • Modeling diencephalic amnesia, revealed retrosplenial cortex diaschisis following hippocampal and anterior thalamic nuclei lesions

Concordia University, Department of Psychology                                                 Montréal, Canada
Research Assistant (Dr. D. Mumby, Dr. C.A. Chapman)                                                   2001-2002
Focus: Brain regional coupling mechanisms and regional involvement in object memory

  • Evaluated neural substrates of stimulus object identity, place and context
  • Executed in vivo electrophysiology to understand remote brain region coupling


  • Training and supervision of students (PhD, Masters, medical, or undergraduate, international interns)
  • Stress and memory seminars (Master level)
  • Critical periods of vulnerability to stress lecture (Master level)
  • Spatial memory workshop (Master level)
  • Teaching Assistant, (undergraduate level)


  • Rodent behavior (emotion and cognition)
    • o E.g. memory, anxiety, depression, conditioning
    • Microdissection and tissue sampling (brain, adrenal glands, testes; sperm and blood)
    • Multivariate analyses and modeling
    • Gene expression (quantitative PCR, methylation)
  • Protein assays (immunohistochemistry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Western blot)
  • Stereotaxic surgery, tract tracing
  • Magnetic resonance image analysis
  • Microarray data analysis
  • Pilot work with telemetric brain oxygen sensors


  • European Brain and Behavior Society Satellite Symposium at FENS, Barcelona (13 July 2012)
  • Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse (8 December 2008)
  • Centre de Neurosciences Psychiatriques, Université de Lausanne (11 November 2008) 


  • Society for Neuroscience
  • European Brain & Behavior Society (EBBS)
  • Society for Social Neuroscience
  • Société Suisse des Neurosciences


  • Winning symposium submission and organizer of the European Brain and Behavior Society Satellite symposium at forum of Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, Barcelona 2012. Stress, the story of our social lives.
  • Founding co-organizer of national (UK) Young Neuroscientists’ Day (2007, 2008)
  • Co-organizer, first edition of Beyond the Towers of Academia (School of Psychology, Cardiff University)
  • Travel award recipient (Swiss Society of Neuroscience, 2008; Brain Trust, UK, 2007 ; Experimental Psychology Society, UK, 2004, 2005)
  • Awardee FENS NEUROTRAIN courses (Ofir, 2008, Vienna, 2006)
  • Awardee Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada scholarship (2003-04, declined for Cardiff University doctoral studies)
  • F1000 literature review and recommendation highlights (Poirier et al., 2008 ; Aggleton, Poirier et al., 2009)
  • Most cited paper in 2010 of European Journal of Neuroscience (Albasser, Poirier, and Aggleton, 2010)


  • Review Editor (Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, Frontiers in Psychiatry)
  • Guest Associate Editor (Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, Special Issue Understanding Violence)
  • Ad Hoc Reviewer (Psychoneuroendocrinology, Eur J Neurosci, Curr Alzheimer Res, Neurol Res)


Ph.D. in Psychology, Cardiff University                                                                                                        Cardiff, UK
Behavioural Neurscience Laboratory, School of Psychology                                               2007

  • Thesis supervised by Prof. J.P. Aggleton and examined by Prof. Timothy Bussey and Dr. Rebecca Dias

B.Sc. Honors Psychology (distinction), Concordia University                                                              Montréal, Canada  
Center for Studies in Behavioral Neuroscience (Dr. D.G. Mumby)                                      2002 

PUBLICATIONS—Peer reviewed

Poirier GL, Cordero MI, Sandi C. (2013). Female vulnerability to the development of depression-like behavior in a rat model of intimate partner violence is related to anxious temperament, coping responses and amygdala vasopressin receptor 1a expression. Front Behav Neurosci 7:35.

Marquez C, Poirier GL, Cordero MI, Larsen MH, Groner A, Marquis J, Magistretti P, Trono D Sandi C. (2013). Peripuberty stress leads to abnormal aggression, altered amygdala and orbitofrontal reactivity and increased prefrontal MAOA gene expression. Transl Psychiatry 3:e216.

Cordero MI, Poirier GL, Marquez C, Veenit V, Fontana X, Salehi B, Ansermet F, Sandi C. (2012). Evidence for biological roots in the intergenerational transmission of intimate partner violence. Transl Psychiatry 2(4): e106.

Dumont JR, Amin E, Poirier GL, Albasser MM, Aggleton JP. (2012). Anterior thalamic nuclei lesions in rats disrupt markers of neural plasticity in distal limbic brain regions. Neuroscience 224: 81-101.

Poirier GL, Amin E, Good MA, Aggleton JP. (2011) Early-onset metabolic changes in retrosplenial cortex precede overt amyloid plaque deposition in Tg2576 mice. Neuroscience 174: 71-83.

Amin E., Wright N., Poirier GL, Thomas KL, Erichsen JT, Aggleton JP. (2010). Selective lamina dysregulation in granular retrosplenial cortex (area 29) after anterior thalamic lesions: An in situ hybridization and trans-neuronal tracing study in rats. Neuroscience 169, 1255-1267.

Aggleton JP, Albasser MM, Aggleton DJ, Poirier GL, Pearce JM. (2010). Lesions of the rat perirhinal cortex spare the acquisition of a complex configural visual discrimination yet impair object recognition. Behav Neurosci 124(1) 55–68.

Castro JE, Varea E, Márquez C, Cordero MI, Poirier G, Sandi C. (2010). Role of the amygdala in antidepressant effects on hippocampal cell proliferation and survival and on depression-like behavior in the rat. PLoS ONE 5(1): e8618. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008618

Albasser MM, Poirier GL, Aggleton JP. (2010). Qualitatively different modes of perirhinal-hippocampal engagement when rats explore novel vs. familiar objects as revealed by c-Fos imaging. Eur J Neurosci 31(1) 134-147. [EJN most cited paper in 2010] 

Aggleton JP, Poirier GL, Aggleton HS, Vann SD, Pearce JM. (2009). Lesions of the fornix and anterior thalamic nuclei dissociate different aspects of hippocampal-dependent spatial learning: implications for the neural basis of scene learning. Behav Neurosci 123 (3), 504-519.

Poirier GL, Aggleton JP. (2009). Post-surgical interval and lesion location within the limbic thalamus determine extent of retrosplenial cortex immediate-early gene hypoactivity. Neuroscience 160(2), 452–469.

Poirier GL, Shires KL, Sugden D, Amin E, Thomas KL, Carter DA, & Aggleton JP. (2008). Anterior thalamic lesions produce chronic and profuse transcriptional de-regulation in retrosplenial cortex: A model of retrosplenial hypoactivity and covert pathology. Thal Rel Sys (4)1: 59-77.

Poirier GL, Amin E, Aggleton JP. (2008). Qualitatively different hippocampal subfield engagement emerges with mastery of a spatial memory task by rats. J Neurosci 28(5):1034-1045.

Albasser MM, Poirier GL, Warburton EC, Aggleton JP. (2007). Hippocampal lesions halve immediate-early gene protein counts in retrosplenial cortex: distal dysfunctions in a spatial memory system. Eur J Neurosci 26(5):1254-66.

Hamam BN, Sinai M, Poirier G, & Chapman CA. (2007). Cholinergic suppression of excitatory synaptic responses in layer II of the medial entorhinal cortex. Hippocampus, 17(2):103-13.

PUBLICATIONS—under review

Poirier GL, Imamura N, Zanoletti O, Sandi C. (under review). Social deficits induced by peripubertal stress in rats are reversed by resveratrol.

Loukavenko EA, Wolff M, Poirier GL, Dalrymple-Alford J. (under review). Impaired spatial working memory after anterior thalamic lesions: Recovery with cerebrolysin and enrichment.

Trouche S, Poirier GL, Camo C, Aggleton JP, Bontempi B, Rampon C (under review). Memory strength influences the recruitment of new hippocampal neurons during the retrieval of remote memory.

PUBLICATIONS—in preparation

Poirier GL, Zutshi I, Sandi C. (in preparation). Transgenerational transmission of peripubertal stress-induced emotionality is mediated by postnatal experience.

Poirier GL, Zutshi I, Skachokova Z, Sandi C. (in preparation). Behavioral disturbances resulting from peripubertal stress: Implication of ambiguous cue response.   

Poirier GL, Imamura N, Sandi C. (in preparation). Ambiguity of fear conditioning cue is associated with differential prefrontal cortex subregion monoamine oxidase A engagement.   

Just N, Cordero MI, Poirier GL, Gruetter R, Sandi C. (in preparation). Alteration of metabolites in the lateral septum of peripubertally stressed rats.

Selected posters

Huzard D, Mumby D, Poirier GL, Sandi C. (2014). The effects of stress on physiology, anxiety and social hierarchy in group-living rats. Federation of European Neurocience Societies, Milan.

Poirier GL, Skachokova Z, Sandi C. (2012). Peripubertal stress yields a cue interpretation bias: Is lateral septum GABA involved? Federation of European Neurocience Societies, Barcelona.

Poirier GL, Skachokova Z, Peich MC, Juste N, Cordero MI, Sandi C (2011). Peripubertal stress reduces adult lateral septum GABA in relation to hormonal levels. European Brain and Behavior Society, Sevilla.

Tzanoulinou s, Castillo-Gomez E, Poirier G, Nacher J, Sandi C. (2011). Peripubertal stress and individual differences: Emotional and cognitive profiling. European Brain and Behavior Society,Sevilla.

Poirier GL, Cordero MI, Sandi C (2010). Gestational stress in rats producing long-term changes in the dam’s emotional state is associated with gene expression changes in the brain of the mother and the offspring. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego.

Cordero MI, Poirier GL, Ansermet F, Sandi C (2010). Stress during pregnancy: Obstetric outcomes and long-term emotional effects on the dam. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego.

Tzanoulinou S, Poirier GL, Sandi C (2010). Decision-making and impulsivity assessment following peri-pubertal stress in rats. Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, Amsterdam.

Just N, Cordero Campana MI, Poirier G, Lei H, Sandi C, Gruetter R. (2010). Neurochemical profile of the rat lateral septum investigated with 1H-MRS. Int Soc Magn Res Med, Stockholm.

Poirier GL, Fantin M, Conboy L, Cordero MI, Marquez C, Singh V, Sandi C (2009). Gestational stress yields behavioural-trait dependent brain activity changes in the rat. European Brain and Behavior Society, Rhodes.

Trouche S, Poirier G, Camo C, Aggleton JP, Bontempi B, Rampon C. (2009). Does memory strength influence the recruitment of new hippocampal neurons during the retrieval of remote memory? European Brain and Behaviour Society, Rhodes.

Poirier G, Tokarczuk PF, Amin E, Paisey SJ, & Aggleton JP. (2008). Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H) for retrosplenial cortex metabolites after anterior thalamic nuclei damage in rats yields insights into cognitive disorders. Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, Geneva.

Croxson PL, Browning PGF, Angel A, Poirier G, Baxter MG. (2007). Fornix transection disrupts hippocampal immediate-early gene expression associated with episodic memory formation in rhesus monkeys. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego.

Glenn MJ, Watanabe D, Poirier G, & Mumby DG. (2003). Perirhinal cortex lesions impair retrograde but spare anterograde memory for object location in rats. Society for Neuroscience, New Orleans.

Poirier G. & Mumby D. G. (2002). Perirhinal and postrhinal cortical lesions in the rat: Memory for objects, places and contexts. Abstract. CSBNfest, Center for Studies in Behavioral Neuroscience, Concordia University, Montréal.

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