Pierre A. Fortier


Pierre A. Fortier
Associate Professor

BSc Biophysical Education, Concordia University
MSc Physiology, Queen's University
PhD Neurological Sciences, University of Montréal
Postdoctoral Fellow, Physiology, University of Manitoba
Postdoctoral Fellow, Physiology and Biophysics, University of Washington

Room: Roger Guindon Hall, room 3105D
Tel: (613) 562-5800 ext. 8147
Work E-mail: pierre.fortier@uottawa.ca

Pierre A. Fortier


Overview of Interests

Dr. Fortier’s long-term objectives are to understand the mechanisms used by the cerebral cortex for processing information. The nervous system is a large network of neurons that works as a whole but there is a clear division of labour whereby the cerebral cortex has the principal role in the processing of information for perception, planning and voluntary movement in order to adapt to the environment. The most direct method to reveal cortical information processing is to (1) record the activities of input cells to the cortex, (2) follow the flow of information through the network of cortical neurons to the output neurons and (3) record the activities of these output neurons during the behaviour.

Research Focus

Information on the cerebral cortex is most complete for the primary visual cortex (V1) which is the focus of Dr. Fortier’s research. He uses a mechanistic modeling approach to answer important questions that cannot currently be answered in animal experiments because of technical limitations. The information provided by the simulations can be used to hypothesize on missing biological features and serve as a rationale for the development of powerful object recognition devices.


  • Fortier, P. A. Comparison of mechanisms for contrast-invariance of orientation selectivity in simple cells. Neurosci. 348:41-62, 2017.
  • Fortier, P. A. and Bray, C. Influence of asymmetric attenuation of single and paired dendritic inputs on summation of synaptic potentials and initiation of action potentials. Neurosci. 236:195-209, 2013. [Abstract | Poster]
  • Fortier, P. A. Effects of electrical coupling among layer 4 inhibitory interneurons on contrast-invariant orientation tuning. Exp. Brain Res. 208:127-138, 2011. [Abstract | Poster]
  • Fortier, P. A. Detecting and estimating rectification of gap junction conductance based on simulations of dual-cell recordings from a pair and a network of coupled cells. J. Theor. Biol. 265:104-114, 2010. [Calculator | Poster]
  • Fortier, P. A. and Bagna, M. Estimating conductances of dual-recorded neurons within a network of coupled cells. J. Theor. Biol. 240:501-510, 2006. [Calculator]
  • Fortier, P. A., Guigon, E., and Burnod, Y. Supervised learning in a recurrent network of rate-model neurons exhibiting frequency-adaptation. Neural Comp. 17:2060-2076, 2005.
  • Gu, X., Staines, W. M., and Fortier, P. A. Quantitative analyses of neurons projecting to primary motor cortex zones controlling limb movements in the rat. Brain Res. 835:175-187, 1999.
  • Gu, X. and Fortier, P. A. Early enhancement but no late changes of motor responses induced by intracortical microstimulation in the ketamine anesthetized rat. Exp. Brain Res. 108:119-128, 1996.
  • Fetz, E. E., Perlmutter, S. I., Maier, M. A., Flament, D., and Fortier, P. A. Response patterns and postspike effects of premotor neurons in cervical spinal cord of behaving monkeys. Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 74:531-546, 1996.
  • Gu, X. and Fortier, P. A. Producing columnar depositions of neuroanatomical tracer in rat cortex. J. Neurosci. Meth. 61:197-200, 1995.
  • Noga, B. R., Fortier, P. A., Kriellaars, D. J., Dai, X., Detillieux, G. R., and Jordan, L. M. Field potential mapping of neurons in the lumbar spinal cord activated following stimulation of the mesencephalic locomotor region. J. Neurosci. 15:2203-2217, 1995.
  • Fortier, P. A. Use of spike triggered averaging of muscle activity to quantify inputs to motoneuron pools. J. Neurophysiol. 72:248-265, 1994.
  • Fortier, P. A., Smith, A. M., and Kalaska, J. F. Comparison of cerebellar and motor cortex activity during reaching: sharpness of directional tuning and response variability. J. Neurophysiol. 69:1136-1149, 1993.
  • Smith, A. M., Dugas, C., Fortier, P., Kalaska, J., and Picard, N. Comparing cerebellar and motor cortical activity in reaching and grasping. Can. J. Neurol. Sci. 20:S53-S61, 1993.
  • Flament, D., Fortier, P. A., and Fetz, E. E. Response patterns and postspike effects of peripheral afferents recorded in dorsal root ganglia of behaving monkeys. J. Neurophysiol. 67:875-889, 1992.
  • Schefchyk, S., McCrea, D., Kriellaars, D., Fortier, P., and Jordan, L. Activity of interneurons within the L4 spinal segment of the cat during brainstem- evoked fictive locomotion. Exp. Brain Res. 80:290-295, 1990.
  • Fortier, P. A., Kalaska, J. F., and Smith, A. M. Cerebellar neuronal activity related to whole-arm reaching movements in the monkey. J. Neurophysiol. 62:198-211, 1989.
  • Fortier, P. A., Smith, A. M., and Rossignol, S. Locomotor deficits in the mutant mouse Lurcher. Exp. Brain Res. 66:271-286, 1987.

Fields of Interest

  • Visual processing
  • Neural networks
  • Object Recognition
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