Scientific & Executive Directors

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Welcome to BrainsCAN, Western University’s $66M Canada First Research Excellence Fund project that is Transforming Brain Research by bringing together cognitive neuroscientists, psychiatrists, neurologists, physiologists, philosophers, physicists, engineers and computer scientists to study the brain.

The brain is the last frontier in human biology. It is what makes us human. One in three Canadians will be affected by a neurological or psychiatric disease, disorder or injury at some point in their lives. Hundreds of thousands more will suffer from learning disabilities. Understanding how brain circuits that govern behavior work, and how they go awry, will guide diagnostic, prognostic, interventional and therapeutic approaches in these debilitating conditions.

Our cognitive neuroscience focuses on the challenge of understanding how the neurobiology of the brain leads to the complexities of the human mind: how the brain allows us to perceive the world, choose goals, plan and carry out actions, form memories and communicate our thoughts.

Our strength in neuroimaging is enhancing our ability to diagnose debilitating neurological disease and mental disorders, to inform and physically guide brain surgery, to design hearing aids, and is enabling us to tackle fundamental problems in education, such as the early identification of learning disabilities.

Our expertise with computational models is an essential link for understanding how neural activity measured with, for example, imaging or electrophysiology, informs us about how brain function leads to cognition.

And finally, our innovations in assessing animal behavior are key to developing preclinical models of developmental disorders or neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease that truly reflect human behavioral deficits and human brain circuits.

BrainsCAN offers an unparalleled opportunity for trainees across a broad range of disciplines that don’t normally interact to focus on basic, clinical and translational neuroscience. In these pages you will learn about us and the exciting research we are pursuing here in London, ON, Canada.


Lisa Saksida, Scientific Director

Ravi Menon, Scientific Director

Fay Harrison, Executive Director


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