Adrien Peyrache

Adrien Peyrache

Adrien Peyrache, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University, and directs the Peyrache Lab at The Neuro. 

He joined the Azrieli Centre for Autism Research (ACAR) in 2022.

What sparked your interest in research related to neurodevelopmental conditions, including autism?

I remember reading a book by the autistic author Donna Williams as a teenager. It struck me. Her story opened my eyes to what autism is, the struggle to communicate with others, the overwhelming emotions.

As I embarked on an academic journey in neuroscience, I became fascinated by fundamental questions regarding memory and sleep. The only neurological disorder I was interested in was epilepsy as, in my opinion, this was the only disease with appropriate animal models.

A few years after I started my lab, a postdoc, Dr. Adrian Duszkiewicz, convinced me to submit a seed grant for a collaboration between McGill and the University of Edinburgh, in which we aimed to explore how the spatial navigation system developed in Fragile X (FMR1-KO) rat models. What we saw in the data immediately sparkled our interest. In many regards, the system was developing faster and better in the transgenic rat.

We then obtained a grant from the Simons Foundation to continue this work, which is still ongoing.

To me, studying autism is a unique opportunity to understand how the brain develops, in a typical or divergent manner.

What are your research goals?

My goal is to establish the head-direction system, that is the brain's compass, as a model of choice to study autism in animal models.

Not only it is a fascinating system that allows to easily bridge the gap between neuronal coding and naturalistic behavior, it also shows highly organized activity during sleep - and sleep disorder is another aspect of autism that is too often overlooked.

What motivates your work?

Curiosity and discovery. Nothing else!

Adrien Peyrache

Why become an ACAR member?

I think it is essential for me to join the vibrant community here at McGill and in Quebec in general.

As a new investigator in autism, I still have a lot to learn from all my colleagues here. This will also open opportunities for future collaborations.



Adrien Peyrache, PhD, holds the Canadian Research Chair in Systems Neuroscience at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University.

He obtained his PhD at the College de France (Paris) and did his postdoctoral training at NYU. He has made major contributions to the field of memory consolidation and spatial navigation, specifically how population of neurons are organized in relation to behaviour.

His work was recognized by several awards, including a fellowship from the Human Frontiers Science Program and a K99 award from the NIH. He is an active proponent of Open Science and he is the current chair of The Neuro – Irv and Helga Cooper Foundation Open Science Prize committee.

Awards and Recognitions 
  • Canadian Research Chair in Systems Neuroscience (Tier 2) NIH K99 award (2014)
Research Areas

Neuronal basis of cognition; spatial navigation; learning and memory; organization of neuronal population.

List of Selected Publications

Reciprocal feature encoding by cortical excitatory and inhibitory neurons. Duszkiewicz A J, Skromne Carrasco S, Orhan P, Brown E, Owczarek E, Rojas Vite G, Wood E R, Peyrache A. bioRxiv, 2022.

Local neuronal excitation and global inhibition during epileptic fast ripples in humans. Curot J, Barbeau E, Despouy E, Denuelle M, Sol J C, Lotterie J-A, Valton L, Peyrache A., Brain, 2022.

Precise coupling of the thalamic head-direction system to hippocampal ripples. Viejo G, Peyrache A. Nature Communications, 2020 The intrinsic attractor manifold and population dynamics of a canonical cognitive circuit across waking and sleep. Chaudhuri R, Gercek B, Pandey B, Peyrache A, Fiete I. Nature Neuroscience, 2019.

Internally-organized mechanisms of the head direction sense. Peyrache A, Lacroix MM, Petersen PC, Buzsáki G. Nature Neuroscience, 2015.


Email: adrien.peyrache [at]

Twitter: @apeyrache


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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.



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