Julie Carrier, Ph.D.

Full Professor
Department of Psychology, Université de Montréal
Director, Canadian Sleep and Circadian Network
514-338-2222 ext. 3124


Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychiatry (University of Pittsburgh)
Ph.D. in psychology (University of Montreal)
M.Sc. in Psychology (Université de Montréal)

Research interests

Understand the mechanisms underlying the effects of aging on processes that regulate sleep and biological rhythms. Assess the consequences of age-related changes in sleep-wake cycle on brain plasticity, learning, cognition and postural balance. Estimate the changes in eye and brain sensitivity to light in seasonal affective disorder. Assess the impacts of sleep on cognitive and emotional development.

Methodological approaches

Polysomnography, spectral analysis of the EEG, brain imaging (fMRI), actigraphy, hormonal measurements, light exposure, pupillometry


CIHR (2019-2024): Brain connectivity-based optimization of non-invasive brain stimulation to improve cognitive symptoms in schizophrenia - co-investigator

NSERC-CREATE (2017-2023): CREATE in Complex Dynamics: Accelerating discoveries in brain and behavior - co-investigator

CIHR (2017-2022): Targeting sleep to optimize brain recovery and slow neurodegeneration - co-investigator

CIHR (2017-2022): Quantitative electroencephalography in rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep: an early marker of cholinergic neurodegeneration in mild cognitive impairment - principal investigator

FRQ-FRQNT-FWO (2018-2021): Optimization of Motor Memory in Healthy Elderly Subjects by Stimulation

Non-Invasive Brain Controlled Feedback During Sleep: Neuroimaging Investigation - Principal Investigator

SSHRC (2019-2021): Socially-mediated placebo effect of sleep - co-investigator

NSERC (2016-2021): Functional Role of Non-Rapid-Eye-Movement (NREM) sleep oscillations in aging - principal investigator

CIHR (2016-2020): Mobilizing the healthcare community towards an integrated approach to improving outcomes of patients with sleep disorders - Canadian Sleep and Circadian Network (CSCN) - principal investigator

My team

Dominique Petit, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Sonia Frenette, B.Sc.

Research Coordinator and Sleep Technologist

Research Associate and Research Coordinator

Tyna Paquette, M.Sc.

Research Associate

Karine Lacourse, Ing., M.Sc.

Software Developer

David Lévesque, Ing.

Software Developer

Joannie Pitre

Sleep Technologist

Marie-Josée Quinn

Medical Laboratory Technician

Aurélie Boivin De Billy

Medical Laboratory Technician

Jonathan Dubé, M.Sc.

Ph.D. candidate
Université de Montréal

Thaina Rosinvil, M.Sc.

Ph.D. candidate
Université de Montréal

Alexandre Lafrenière, B.Sc.

Ph.D. candidate
Université de Montréal

Tomy Aumont, B.Sc. en génie électrique

M.Sc. candidate
Université de Montréal

Jimmy Hernandez

B.Sc. Candidate
Université de Montréal

Narges Kalantari, M.Sc.

Ph.D. candidate
Université de Montréal

Selected publications

Carrier J, Semba K, Deurveilher S, Drogos L, Cyr-Cronier J, Lord C, Sekerovick Z. Sex differences in age-related changes in the sleep-wake cycle. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2017 Oct;47:66-85. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2017.07.004.

Soltani S, Chauvette S, Bukhtiyarova O, Lina JM, Dubé J, Seigneur J, Carrier J, Timofeev I. Sleep-Wake Cycle in Young and Older Mice. Front Syst Neurosci. 2019 Sep 24;13:51. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2019.00051.

Morin CM, Carrier J, Bastien C, Godbout R; Canadian Sleep and Circadian Network. Sleep and circadian rhythm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.Can J Public Health. 2020 Oct;111(5):654-657. doi: 10.17269/s41997-020-00382-7. Epub 2020 Jul 22.PMID: 32700231

Cross NE, Carrier J, Postuma RB, Gosselin N, Kakinami L, Thompson C, Chouchou F, Dang-Vu TT. Association between insomnia disorder and cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults: a cross-sectional analysis of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Sleep. 2019 Aug 1;42(8). pii: zsz114. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz114

Lehoux T, Carrier J, Godbout R. NREM sleep EEG slow waves in autistic and typically developing children: Morphological characteristics and scalp distribution. J Sleep Res. 2019 Aug; 28(4):e12775. doi: 10.1111/jsr.12775

Rahayel S, Gaubert M, Postuma RB, Montplaisir J, Carrier J, Monchi O, Rémillard-Pelchat D, Bourgouin PA, Panisset M, Chouinard S, Joubert S, Gagnon JF. Brain atrophy in Parkinson’s disease with polysomnography-confirmed REM sleep behavior disorder. Sleep. 2019 Jun 11;42(6). pii: zsz062. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz062

Gagnon K, Baril AA, Montplaisir J, Carrier J, De Beaumont L, D’Aragon C, Chami S, Pelleieux S, Poirier J, Gauthier S, Lafond C, Gagnon JF, Gosselin G. Disconnection between subjective and objective cognitive impairment in obstructive sleep apnea. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2019 Mar 15;15(3):409-415. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.7664

Chauny JM, Paquet J, Carrier J, Lavigne G, Marquis M, Cournoyer A, Manzini C, Daoust R. Subjective sleep quality and its etiology in the emergency department. CJEM. 2019 Mar;21(2):249-252. doi: 10.1017/cem.2018.394

Latreille V, Gaubert M, Dubé J, Lina JM, Gagnon JF, Carrier J. Age-related cortical signatures of human sleep electroencephalography. Neurobiol Aging. 2019 Apr;76:106-114. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2018.12.012

Sanchez E, El-Khatib H, Arbour C, Bedetti C, Blais H, Marcotte K, Baril AA, Descoteaux M, Gilbert D, Carrier J, Gosselin N. Brain white matter damage and its association with neuronal synchrony during sleep. Brain. 2019 Mar 1;142(3):674-687. doi: 10.1093/brain/awy348

Baril AA, Osorio RS, Carrier J, Kaminska M, Gosselin N. Reply to Kawada: Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2019 May 1;199(9):1169-1170. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201812-2280LE

Bourgouin PA, Rahayel S, Gaubert M, Postuma RB, Montplaisir J, Carrier J, Monchi O, Pelletier A, Gagnon JF. Gray matter substrates of depressive and anxiety symptoms in idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2019 May; 62:163-170. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2018.12.020

Vien C, Boré A, Boutin A, Pinsard B, Carrier J, Doyon J, Fogel S. Thalamo-Cortical White Matter Underlies Motor Memory Consolidation via Modulation of Sleep Spindles in Young and Older Adults. Neuroscience. 2019 Mar 15; 402:104-115. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2018.12.049

El-Khatib H, Arbour C, Sanchez E, Dumont M, Duclos C, Blais H, Carrier J, Paquet J, Gosselin N. Towards a better understanding of increased sleep duration in the chronic phase of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury: an actigraphy study. Sleep Med. 2019 Jul; 59:67-75. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2018.11.012

Tétrault E, Bernier A, Matte-Gagné C, Carrier J. Normative developmental trajectories of actigraphic sleep variables during the preschool period: A three-wave longitudinal study. Developmental Psychobiology. 2019; 61(1):141-153. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.21805

Daneault V, Dumont M, Masse E, Forcier P, Bore A, Lina JM, Doyon J, Vandewalle G, Carrier J. Plasticity in the sensitivity to light in aging: decreased non-visual impact of light on cognitive brain activity in older individuals but no impact of lens replacement. Frontiers in Physiology, section Chronobiology. 2018; 9:1557 (1-13). Nov 6th 2018. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01557

Baril AA, Carrier J, Lafrenière A, Warby S, Poirier J, Osorio RS, Ayas N, Dubé MP, Petit D, Gosselin N, on behalf of the Canadian Sleep and Circadian Network. Biomarkers of dementia in obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 2018 Aug 13. pii: S1087-0792(18)30038-8. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2018.08.001.

Gagnon, K., Baril, A.A., Montplaisir, J., Carrier, J., Chami, S., Gauthier, S., Lafond, C., Gagnon, J.F., Gosselin, N. Detection of mild cognitive impairment in middle-aged and older adults with obstructive sleep apnea. European Respiratory Journal. 2018; Sep 6. pii: 1801137. doi: 0.1183/13993003.01137-2018.


Sleep and mild cognitive impairment

The prevalence of cognitive impairment and dementia is increasing at a rapid pace. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most prevalent cause of dementia. The Alzheimer Society of Canada states that 747,000 Canadians had AD in 2011 and that the current estimated costs of dementia for Canada is around $33 billion annually. The degenerative process leading to AD is believed to start decades before the onset of dementia. This long and progressive period is called mild cognitive impairment (MCI) but not all individuals with MCI will develop AD. The identification of earlier markers to detect which MCI individuals will progress to AD is urgently needed for the development and assessment of preventive and therapeutic strategies. Up to now, promising markers measuring brain activity have been identified in awake patients. We propose that rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep is a more sensitive state than wakefulness to detect early neurodegeneration in MCI patients. Indeed, during REM sleep, the activity of the acetylcholine system, which is affected early in MCI, is not masked by other systems that are active during wakefulness. The goal of this project is to predict, in individuals with MCI, those who will develop AD three years later by studying REM sleep characteristics. We will also validate that REM sleep is linked to the integrity of the cholinergic system using brain imaging. If our hypotheses are confirmed, REM sleep characteristics have the potential to become a reliable non-invasive and low-cost tool to help identify MCI individuals at high risk of progressing to AD and test the efficacy of preventive treatments.