Western, McGill team up in new neuroscience initiative

May 10, 2022  -  Western News

Two of the world’s most accomplished neuroscience research initiatives at McGill and Western University have combined their expertise to take on two large-scale brain research projects.

Focusing on biotherapeutics and Parkinson’s disease, the new McGill-Western Initiative for Translational Neuroscience (ITN) will translate groundbreaking scientific research to benefit patients in the real-world.

“Brain disorders are increasing rapidly, especially as Canada’s population ages, so it’s critical that we move brain research from the lab to the real world as quickly as we can,” said Lisa Saksida, scientific co-director for BrainsCAN. “These projects have the support, expertise and world-class facilities that will make this possible.”

Finding treatments for brain diseases

March 31, 2022  -  Western News

Western neuroscientists and neurologists are combining efforts to develop more efficient ways to test the effectiveness of medication for neurodegenerative diseases – the leading cause of disability in Canada.     

There are no successful drug therapies for brain conditions – like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS – and current clinical trials for neurodegenerative disorders fail 92 per cent of the time, with each misfire costing as much as $1 billion.   

An interdisciplinary team of internationally renowned researchers are using innovative technology and advanced neuroscience techniques to bridge the gap between cutting-edge basic science and game-changing clinical discoveries. And this all happens with support from BrainsCAN, a neuroscience research initiative at Western supported by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF).

Q&A with Priya Kalra: Peering inside the Brain

March 14, 2022  -  BrainsCAN Communications

Talking, moving, solving problems – everything we do in life is linked to our brain. Connected to the rest of the body by receptors, the brain receives signals every second of every day related to taste, touch, vision, hearing and smelling. It allows us to communicate with one another, play games, enjoy food, and understand the world around us. 

To celebrate Brain Awareness Week, BrainsCAN Postdoctoral Fellow, Priya Kalra answered questions from high school students on the brain, mental health, brain injuries and more.

Western women share reflections on International Women’s Day

March 7, 2022  -  Western News

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Western News asked some of Western’s women leaders and professionals to reflect on what women’s equity and women’s rights mean for them and for their work.

From space and science to social work and Indigenous knowledge, these women are carving a path and paving the way for women to break down barriers and #BreakTheBias.

Volunteer work helps girls find passion for AI

February 11, 2022  -  BrainsCAN Communications

Jie Mei has always been passionate about understanding how the brain works. Her interest in computer science, artificial intelligence (AI) and neuroscience was driven by her own curiosity.

“From an early age, I was really intrigued by the variety of people who think differently, act differently,” said Mei, a BrainsCAN postdoctoral fellow studying AI models of the brain. “I found if you want to know how your mind works, the best way of doing that is to learn the biology and building blocks of the brain, and translate them into a model and see how it learns.”

BrainsCAN survey shows Alzheimer Society support leads to $1.3B in health-care savings

January 27, 2022  -  BrainsCAN Communications

A new survey report from Western University’s BrainsCAN, in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, found programs and services provided by the province’s 27 Societies deliver savings of $1.3 billion for Ontario’s health-care system.