About Us

BrainsCAN is a cognitive and behavioral neuroscience research initiative that aims to transform the way brain diseases and disorders are understood, diagnosed and treated. BrainsCAN is funded by a Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) award to Western University.

   BrainsCAN researchers are currently conducting high impact research in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, concussion, stroke and more.

Our Mission

One in three Canadians will be affected by a neurological or psychiatric disease, disorder or injury at some point in their lives. Most of these conditions have no cure. Our mission is to understand the mechanisms underlying brain function in order to reduce the burden of brain diseases and disorders affecting nearly 3.6 million Canadians.

Discoveries from our research community will lead to better diagnoses and educational tools to help those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. Uncovering how brain networks support our actions, thoughts and emotions, and how these become disrupted in disorders, will profoundly impact how we understand ourselves, each other and the societies in which we live.

Transforming the way brain diseases and disorders are understood, diagnosed and treated
Increasing quality of life for Canadians with evidence-based assessments and interventions for neurological conditions
Providing scientific knowledge to better understand cognitive dysfunctions that accompany brain disorders
Building knowledge to inform public policy

Celebrating four years of transformative neuroscience

In fall 2020, we will celebrate our fourth anniversary, highlighting the achievements of the faculty and trainees who are the foundation of BrainsCAN’s research community.

Just halfway through the CFREF funding, our research community is already making an impact. BrainsCAN-supported research has resulted in additional federal and international funding for high-impact research projects and has attracted some of the world’s brightest early career researchers to Western. Our support has also resulted in discoveries – for example, one study ruled out a potential treatment focus for Alzheimer’s disease, and other research has shown how diet and obesity can have an impact on the formation of memories.

See more BrainsCAN news. 

We have made a substantial impact on the neuroscience landscape by:

Take a journey through the first three years of BrainsCAN.


Engaging World-Renowned Researchers

What are the underlying mechanisms that produce a healthy brain and what goes wrong when the brain becomes diseased? Western’s world-renowned neuroscience researchers are working to answer these questions. Our support is helping them lay the groundwork for their high-impact neuroscience research projects.

Training the next generation of neuroscience leaders is a key aim of our work. Our postdoctoral and graduate programs are attracting the world’s most promising early career cognitive neuroscientists to Western. These scientists, whose innovative work has already achieved impact, are choosing BrainsCAN to continue their transformative research projects. 


Fostering Interdisciplinary Research

Our research community is supported through a number of collaborative funding programs and five research cores. This innovative structure is changing the way cognitive neuroscience research is conducted at Western, cutting across virtually all faculties.

Interdisciplinary research is essential to developing new treatments for brain diseases. With our support, cognitive neuroscientists, psychiatrists, neurologists, physiologists, philosophers, physicists, engineers and computer scientists are working together under one goal – to radically transform our understanding of the brain.

BrainsCAN is a neuroscience research initiative located at Western University   that aims to transform the way brain diseases and disorders are understood, diagnosed and treated. Through its innovative funding programs and core infrastructure, BrainsCAN is accelerating effective solutions for maintaining a healthy brain.   

In September 2016, BrainsCAN received the largest research grant in Western University’s history – a 7-year, $66 million investment from the Government of Canada through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF). Through this grant, BrainsCAN is enabling Western researchers, along with national and international academic and commercial partners, to develop and deliver evidence-based assessments and interventions for the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders. BrainsCAN research is currently underway for neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Autism Spectrum Disorder, concussions, stroke and more.

BrainsCAN's goal is to reduce the burden of brain disorders, which affect nearly 3.6 million Canadians, diminishing quality of life and creating an enormous burden on society and on our healthcare system. Through BrainsCAN, researchers across many disciplines of brain health are able to work together to radically transform our understanding of the brain.

Western’s $66M BrainsCAN initiative is supported by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF).