Matthew Hill is the 2016 CAN Young Investigator CAN Advocacy contest winners CAN Connection - April 2016 Toronto - CAN2016 meeting Graham Collingridge 2016 Brain Prize winner CAN Social at SfN2015 - Shay Chicago impact of neurological disorders in Canada


Rapid eye movement sleep: keystone of memory formation

Sylvain Williams

Sylvain Williams

For decades, scientists have fiercely debated whether rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – the phase where dreams appear – is directly involved in memory formation.

Now, a study published in Science by researchers at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute (McGill University) and the University of Bern provides evidence that REM sleep does, indeed, play this role – at least in mice.

What makes the brain tick so fast?

Dr. Derek Bowie

Derek Bowie

New study sheds light on the workings of brain neurotransmitter receptors

Surprisingly complex interactions between neurotransmitter receptors and other key proteins help explain the brain’s ability to process information with lightning speed, according to a new study.

Scientists at McGill University, working with collaborators at the universities of Oxford and Liverpool, combined experimental techniques to examine fast-acting protein macromolecules, known as AMPA receptors, which are a major player in brain signaling.  Their findings are reported online in the journal Neuron.

Location may be key to effectively controlling pain

Terence Coderre

Terence Coderre

Targeting the pain receptor at the cell’s nucleus has a major effect on its ability to transmit pain signals.

In real estate, location is key. It now seems the same concept holds true when it comes to stopping pain. New research published in Nature Communications by a team of researchers led by McGill University’s Director of Anesthesia Research Terence Coderre and Karen O’Malley at Washington University in St. Louis,  indicates that the location of receptors that transmit pain signals is important in how big or small a pain signal will be — and therefore how effectively drugs can block those signals.

Accidental finding leads to brain circuit development discovery

Jean-Claude Béïque

Jean-Claude Béïque

Researchers at the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute have pinpointed a set of rules that govern how brain circuits develop during early life, offering clues into neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Published in Neuron, one of the most influential journals in the field of neuroscience, their study shows how neuroplasticity guides brain development at the microscopic level, which ultimately sets the stage for how the mature brain operates.

Neurons actively modify the features of astrocytes in the brain

Keith Murai

Keith Murai

The brain gives up more secrets – Montreal scientists unveil a key mechanism that could improve brain function

A research team, led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) in Montreal, has broken new ground in our understanding of the complex functioning of the brain.

The research, published in the current issue of the journal Science, demonstrates that brain cells, known as astrocytes, which play fundamental roles in nearly all aspects of brain function, can be adjusted by neurons in response to injury and disease. The discovery, which shows that the brain has a far greater ability to adapt and respond to changes than previously believed, could have significant implications on epilepsy, movement disorders, and psychiatric and neurodegenerative disease.