Q&A with Marc Joanisse: Understanding Reading Disorders in Children

December 13, 2018  -  BrainsCAN Communications

On October 22, Professor Marc Joanisse from the Department of Psychology at Western spoke at the London Central Library on the topic of reading development and reading disorders in children. His work in this area, supported by BrainsCAN, focuses on language acquisition, language processing, computational models and how language is represented in the brain. 

In this Q&A, Dr. Joanisse discusses the underlying problems of reading disorders and how they are identified in children.

Neuroscience grants promote teamwork

November 22, 2018  -  Western News

Two of the world’s most accomplished neuroscience centres – Western’s BrainsCAN and McGill’s Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives – are sharing their expertise in seven ground-breaking team projects.

The seven teams of researchers awarded funding in the inaugural round of the McGill-Western Collaboration Grants are headed by renowned neuroscientists working to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders.

The research between the two institutions sets the the groundwork for a collaborative pan-Canadian research network that works to uncover new ways to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders.

BrainsCAN Partners with World-Renowned Neuroscience Research Institution

October 25, 2018  -  BrainsCAN Communications

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between BrainsCAN, Western University’s neuroscience research initiative, and RIKEN Centre for Brain Science (CBS) is increasing international collaboration in neuroscience research. BrainsCAN’s new partnership with RIKEN CBS is the first time Western University has partnered with the brain research institution. Regarded as one of the world’s best, RIKEN CBS will advance BrainsCAN’s goal to transform the way brain diseases and disorders are understood, diagnosed and treated through high-impact cognitive neuroscience research.

“The partnership will increase BrainsCAN’s ability to support international collaborations,” said Dr. Lisa Saksida, BrainsCAN’s Co-Scientific Director. “The MOU gives BrainsCAN researchers a platform to communicate and work collaboratively with researchers from RIKEN CBS.”

First Round of BrainsCAN’s 2018 Accelerator Grants Announced

October 3, 2018  -  BrainsCAN Communications

Cognitive disorders and disease affect people all over the world. To better understand and expand our knowledge of the brain, BrainsCAN is funding three new Accelerator Grants for the first round of 2018 with the projects beginning this fall. The research projects study hearing loss and consciousness, along with cognitive defects caused by stroke and neuroinflammation. 

The funding is provided through BrainsCAN’s Accelerator Internal Granting Program. This program is designed to push the limits of cognitive neuroscience by supporting high-risk/high-reward research programs. The first BrainsCAN Accelerator grants were awarded in 2017 and distributed in three rounds to 25 research projects. In total, 12 departments and four faculties at Western University received the funding.

Why does being familiar with someone’s voice help us understand what they’re saying?

October 1, 2018  -  Western Media Relations

A new study from Western University’s BrainsCAN initiative shows that familiar voices are easier to understand even if a person doesn’t recognize them as familiar. The findings were published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The study showed that even though participants were not able to recognize their friend’s voice when the resonance of their voice was manipulated, they still found it easier to understand than the same words spoken by a stranger.

Western University contributes to the first open-source NHP imaging database

September 27, 2018  -  BrainsCAN Communications

BrainsCAN-aligned researchers have collaborated with an international team of researchers to develop the world’s first open-source data sets of non-human primate (NHP) brain imaging. Published in the prestigious journal Neuron, the PRIMatE Data Exchange (PRIME-DE) is the first open science resource for the neuroimaging community that aims to aggregate and share anatomical, functional and diffusion MRI data sets from laboratories around the world. Over 200 data sets will be openly shared via the International Neuroimaging Datasharing Initiative (INDI). The goal is to accelerate the development of a map of the neural connections in the NHP brain -- and, ultimately, the human brain -- in an effort to develop biomarkers for mental health disorders and other brain disorders and diseases.

Shining a Spotlight on Alzheimer’s research for World Alzheimer’s Day

September 20, 2018  -  BrainsCAN Communications

Every 3 seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. In Canada, 564,000 adults are currently living with dementia, and this number is expected to grow over the next decade. 

Although dementia is regarded as one of the most significant health crises of the 21st century, researchers are still working to discover how the brain is affected during Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. For the month of September, organizations around the world are raising awareness and challenging stigma associated with dementia, with the focus on Friday, September 21 for World Alzheimer’s Day.

Q&A: Building BrainsCAN – A Discussion with Lisa Saksida and Ravi Menon

September 19, 2018  -  BrainsCAN Communications

Dr. Lisa Saksida is BrainsCAN’s Co-Scientific Director, a Professor in Physiology and Pharmacology, Principal Investigator in the Brain and Mind Institute, Principal Investigator in the Translational Cognitive Neuroscience (TCN) Lab at Robarts Research Institute, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Translational Cognitive Neuroscience and a CIFAR Senior Fellow.

Dr. Ravi Menon is BrainsCAN’s Co-Scientific Director, a Professor in Medical Biophysics, Director of the Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping (CFMM) at Robarts Research Institute, Principal Investigator in the Brain and Mind Institute and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 

BrainsCAN celebrates two years of impact

September 16, 2018  -  BrainsCAN Communications

Two years ago, Western University received the largest research grant in its history. The 7-year, $66 million investment from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) was awarded to BrainsCAN, Western’s neuroscience research initiative, to answer one of the biggest questions in modern science – how do we maintain a healthy brain throughout our lifetime and reduce the burden of brain disorders? 

Over the past two years, BrainsCAN has worked with a large group of multi-disciplinary researchers who are studying cognition. These researchers are working to transform the way neurodegenerative conditions – such as dementia, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, depression, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and acquired brain injury – are understood, diagnosed and treated.

A new study shows that sound impacts you differently as you age

August 21, 2018  -  CTV News

Study: Sound differences between age groups

August 21, 2018  -  Western News

By exploring differences in the way younger and older adults respond to sounds, Western neuroscientists have found that our brains become more sensitive to sounds as we age, likely leading to hearing challenges over a lifetime.

BrainsCAN Postdoctoral Scholar Björn Herrmann and Ingrid Johnsrude, Western Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, examined the auditory cortex responses of participants in their 20s and 60s. What they found was differences in responses to soft and loud sounds. The findings were published in Journal of Neuroscience.

Study: Brain game doesn’t offer brain gain

July 30, 2018  -  Western News

A new Western-led study has debunked claims that getting better at a brain-training game can translate to improved performance in other games and tasks. The newest findings add fuel to previous research that showed brain-training doesn’t make a person smarter, but merely improves their abilities in those specific games.

RIKEN CBS Summer Program untangles the brain for BrainsCAN researchers

July 24, 2018  -  BrainsCAN Communications

From July 9-13, Reichelt and Laidlaw were a joined by approximately forty-five early-career researchers from 13 countries to take part in the RIKEN Centre for Brain Science (CBS) Summer Program lecture course at RIKEN CBS in Tokyo, Japan. The prestigious, highly selective program is designed to accelerate the professional development of early-career neuroscientists and emerging researchers as they enter the international neuroscience community. For Reichelt and Laidlaw, who are BrainsCAN Postdoctoral Scholars, it was a chance to learn about leading-edge brain research currently taking place in top research labs at RIKEN CBS and around the world.

A recent BrainsCAN study at Western could change medical treatments for those living with Alzheimer’s

July 11, 2018  -  CTV News

New BrainsCAN study rules out major potential target for Alzheimer's disease drugs

June 29, 2018  -  Western News

In a recent study from BrainsCAN, Western’s $66 million Canada First Research Excellence Fund program in cognitive neuroscience, Stefan Everling and his collaborators Susheel Vijayraghavan and Alex Major found that overstimulation of muscarinic M1 receptors actually disrupts and even blocks working memory activity, which contradicts long-held beliefs about the function of these receptors found in the brain.

Grants back Western medical innovation efforts

June 29, 2018  -  Western News

Western’s efforts to support a brighter future for medical innovation in Canada got an exciting shot in the arm, thanks to a Burroughs Wellcome Fund grant.

The Medical Innovation Fellowship at Western immerses young scientists, engineers and clinicians in a program that serves as a platform for starting/licencing a commercially viable product or service. The fellowship’s fourth cohort starts its work this month – its numbers doubled to six this year because of the additional funding support.

Special Canada Day dawns for neuroscientist

June 29, 2018  -  Western News

The sheer, glorious space of the country. Beaches in summer; snow sports in winter. The research opportunities and academic atmosphere. For years, Western neuroscientist Adrian Owen has set his heart on making Canada his home and adopted land. This year, he will celebrate Canada Day, for the first time, as a permanent resident of Canada.

Opening the doors to coming together

April 16, 2018  -  Western News

University officials celebrated the opening of the Western Interdisciplinary Research Building (WIRB) on April 13. The $47-million facility houses the Brain and Mind Institute, BrainsCAN and the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, as well as five general-use classroom and study spaces. Certified LEED Gold, the seven-storey, state-of-the-art building contains dry laboratories, teaching and research space, classrooms and a public plaza within its 118,000 square feet.

After an accident that left her dead, a second life as an artist

April 13, 2018  -  CBC News

Three of Vanderidder's paintings—Driving Home, White Out and Black Submarine—hang in the BrainsCAN department of Western University's new $47-million dollar interdisciplinary research building, which opens Friday. 

BrainsCAN is working with a $66-million dollar grant from the Canadian government to better diagnose and treat brain disorders.

Three of Vanderidder's paintings are on display at Western University's new interdisciplinary research building.(Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

Vanderidder's work was a perfect fit, said BrainsCAN executive director Fay Harrison.

"She's an artist and she's a survivor," said Harrison. "Those are really important messages for us to stand behind and advocate to communities that we hope we will impact with our research."

Grant looks to bring brain researchers closer together

April 12, 2018  -  Western News

The McGill-Western Collaboration Grant program supports neuroscience and neuro-informatics research from new and/or established collaborative teams working on projects of all types and sizes. To qualify, each project must be co-led by one McGill University and one Western University faculty member.

The program arises from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) combined investment of $150 million in McGill’s Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives and Western’s BrainsCAN initiatives in 2016. That outlay set the groundwork for a pan-Canadian network of researchers working together to uncover new ways to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury and schizophrenia.

Artist’s work a reminder of work to be done

April 12, 2018  -  Western News

Vanderidder’s works will hang among Western’s BrainsCAN group, located on the sixth floor of the Western Interdisciplinary Research Building. The $47-million facility houses the Brain and Mind Institute, BrainsCAN and the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, as well as five general-use classroom and study spaces.

In total, three of Vanderidder’s painting will hang in the space – Driving Home, White Out and Black Submarine.

When the idea was first broached, it did not take long to see how BrainsCAN and Vanderidder were a perfect match.

Federal budget signals commitment to science

March 15, 2018  -  Western News

Western researchers are better positioned to undertake cutting-edge work, thanks to the largest investment ever in fundamental science research, tabled late last month as part of the 2018 federal budget.

“It’s tremendous news for Canada. This was long awaited and we are thankful for the government for having the foresight to inject strategic funds into the research ecosystem,” said John Capone, Vice-President (Research). “The impact on Western will be significant.”

Women encouraged to pursue STEM careers, but not many staying

March 8, 2018  -  CBC News

Lisa Saksida, a cognitive neuroscientist and the scientific director at Western University's BrainsCAN in London, Ont., recently spoke at the school's Inspiring Young Women in STEM conference. She said that although she feels overt sexism has declined, implicit bias still exists.

"People often don't think about women," Saksida said. "It's not intentional necessarily, but the first people who come to mind are often the men."

STEM conference engages, empowers young women

March 7, 2018  -  Western News

Approximately 250 undergraduate students, researchers and volunteers attended the one-day conference, organized by the Western Women in Neuroscience graduate student group, in partnership with Western’s BrainsCAN initiative and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. The agenda provided students with opportunities to learn from academic and industry leaders, connect with graduate programs and company representatives, and showcase their own research through an undergraduate student poster competition.

Federal budget makes huge investment in scientific research

March 3, 2018  -  Western Gazette

Lisa Saksida, a professor and researcher at Western University, is confident that things are headed in the right direction.

“The need for more funding of fundamental scientific research is something that scientists across Canada have been voicing concerns about for some time,” Saksida said. “The government’s decision to invest shows that they listened and that they recognize the importance of fundamental scientific research both to innovation and the community more generally.”

Top scientists headline conference with goal of inspiring young women in STEM

February 27, 2018  -  Western News

IYWSTEM runs throughout the day until 5 p.m. in Western’s Great Hall and includes an industry fair, a STEM Graduate Program Expo and an Undergraduate Poster Competition. Registration for the event closes today at midnight: www.inspiringyoungwomeninstem2018.eventbrite.ca. The event is organized by the Western Women in Neuroscience graduate student group in partnership with Western’s BrainsCAN initiative and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Minister of Science explores ‘amazing work’

January 10, 2018  -  Western News

Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan stopped by Western Tuesday to learn about what she calls the “amazing work” being done across the university. Duncan spoke with researchers and students at the Translational Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, as well as stopped by the Western Interdisciplinary Research Building/Brain and Mind Institute, where she met with the team involved in the Women in STEM conference. Duncan, along with London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos, also visited with BrainsCan Co-Scientific Director Ravi Menon at the Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping at the Robarts Research Institute.