Francis Houde

Francis Houde has a certificate in accounting from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQATR) and a bachelor's degree in pharmacology from the Université de Sherbrooke. He is in the process of completing a master's degree in physiology as well as a graduate microprogram in college education, both at the Université de Sherbrooke.

He is conducting research on the neurophysiology of pain and neurostimulation, more specifically transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). He has also acquired somewhat of an expertise through his thesis on pain while working on his master's. Although his main interests are in the variety of factors which potentially lead to chronic pain, Mr. Houde wants to further develop his knowledge in brain imaging (e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI, and electroencephalography, EEG).

Research to Better Understand Pain

In his master's project, Mr. Houde is mainly seeking to understand the underlying cerebral mechanisms involved in the mnemonic bias of pain, meaning the recollection of a past pain that is often inaccurate. More specifically, he performs TMS to determine whether the superior temporal gyrus is involved in exaggerating painful memories.

"When trying to understand the factors which bring acute pain to persist and to become chronic, the biased memory of pain seems to play a significant role. It is therefore necessary to conduct research in order to broaden our knowledge of this phenomenon," Mr. Houde explained.

Mr. Houde is being supervised by Guillaume Léonard, P.T., Ph.D., researcher at the CDRV; along with Philippe Goffaux, Ph.D., and Kevin Whittingstall, Ph.D, both researchers at the CHUS Research Centre.

Mr. Houde is also working on other projects related to pain and neurostimulation in his laboratory.

An Involved Student

Through his contributions to various publications and external lectures, Francis Houde is increasing the visibility of the CDRV. He has already given presentations at various seminars and has had one of his articles published in the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy. In November 2014, he participated in the reading club organized by the students at the CDRV. The article which he presented covered the role of TMS in cognitive neuroscience. Mr. Houde is also a member of the organizing committee of the 7e Journée scientifique du Centre des Neurosciences de Sherbrooke (7th CNS Science Day) which will be held in Sherbrooke in December 2015. His objective is to have the topic of aging properly represented on that day.

In addition to all of that, Mr. Houde is a co-organizer of the CNS's reading club. He took the initiative to organize a visit of the CDRV following the reading club's meeting in October 2015. The reading club will therefore be held exceptionally at the Research Centre rather than at the faculty of medicine and health sciences. The event will be followed by a visit of the laboratories of the CDRV with the goal of encouraging collaboration among the researchers of the CNS and CDRV as well as promoting research on aging.

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