The CAN-ACN advocacy committee is proud to announce the Manitoba Neuroscience Network is the winner of the 2017 Best SfN Chapter award. The committee was impressed by the groups dynamism, the breadth of the activities they have organised, and their outreach to the general public, including youth and the francophone community. Highlights of the program include:
MNN Speaker’s Bureau:
This is an online resource that allows community organizations to invite neuroscience experts to speak on topics of interest to the general public. Since launching this site in 2015, we have received speaking invitations from Sara Riel Inc. (a local mental health
charity), the Garden Valley School Division, the Rotary Club of St. Boniface/St. Vital, the “Parenting Today” program of the St. James-Assiniboia School Division, and the Massage Therapy Association of Manitoba. The site can be viewed at:
This is a collaborative program with the Manitoba Craft Council, the organization that represents fine craft artists in Manitoba. To date, nine neuroscientists have been matched with local artists to create neuroscience-themed art pieces in a variety of media (printmaking, ceramics,
fibre art, bookbinding), and Seema Goel, artist-in-residence in the Faculty of Science at the University of Manitoba, has been recruited to serve as curator. The Neurocraft program has received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Winnipeg Arts Council, the Government of Manitoba, and the Health Sciences Centre Foundation (Winnipeg). These funds are now being used to mount two public exhibitions of the works that have been produced. The first exhibition will be held in Winnipeg at the University of Manitoba’s Bannatyne campus from March 3-31, 2017. The MNN and the Manitoba Craft Council will also be hosting several other events in conjunction with the exhibition and Brain Awareness Week. These include an opening reception that will coincide with First Fridays, a monthly event in the Winnipeg arts community; tours for local high school students; a craft workshop at the University of Manitoba where participants will have the opportunity to create their own neuroscience-themed book; a public panel discussion on the intersection of art and science at the Winnipeg Free Press Café; and a curatorial tour of the exhibition for members of the public. The second exhibition will be held May 25-June 24, 2017 at Montreal’s Visual Voice Gallery, part of the Galeries D’Art Contemporain du Belgo. An opening reception for the public will be held May 27th, and a second reception for CAN members will be held in conjunction with the CAN annual meeting on May 30th. In addition to the exhibition at the gallery, we have arranged to have several pieces displayed on site at the CAN annual meeting so that CAN members will have the opportunity to view them.
Canada Excellence Research Chair Public Lectures:
To mark Brain Awareness Week, the MNN has regularly invited Canada Excellence Research Chairs in neuroscience to present scientific and public talks on their research. We hosted Dr. Adrian Owen (Western University) in 2012, Dr. Matthew Farrer (UBC) in 2015, Dr. Oliver Ernst ( University of Toronto) in 2016, and on March 13th of this year we will be welcoming Dr. Luda Diatchenko (McGill).
In conjunction with the Office of the Vice President (Research and International) at the University of Manitoba, the MNN co-sponsors sessions in the Café Scientifique series. These Cafés are monthly panel discussions featuring University faculty and they focus on health-related topics. The sessions sponsored by the MNN focus specifically on neurological injury and disease, and we have made an ongoing commitment to fund these sessions for the next several years. The Cafés are held at the local McNally Robinson bookstore and are open to the general public (admission is free). Our first session was held during Brain Awareness Week in 2015 and was entitled, “Keeping Your Head in the Game: How Concussions Affect the Brain”. Our second Café was held March 7th, 2016 and was entitled, “Multiple
Sclerosis: Questions and Answers from Manitoba Researchers”. Both Cafés attracted standingroom
audiences of close to 100 people. Our session for Brain Awareness Week 2017 will be held
March 15, and will feature a discussion on current brain tumour research: “The Battle against
Brain Tumours: Developing New Treatments through Innovative Research”. A video
presentation of the 2016 Café Scientifique can be found at:
Francophone Community Outreach:
Manitoba has a large francophone population and to engage with this community, one of our members, Dr. Jean-Éric Ghia, has partnered with Ici-Radio Canada Première to create and present biweekly radio segments (6-8 minutes long) that highlight biomedical research conducted in Manitoba. These segments are entitled “Des éprouvettes et des hommes” and they air Tuesdays at 7:45 am on the Ici-Radio Canada morning show Le 6 a 9. While Jean-Éric does not focus exclusively on neuroscience, he has featured
several neuroscience-themed topics, such as the one featured in this link:
Winnipeg Brain Bee:
Grassroots engagement with youth is an important part of our outreach program, and our flagship event is the Winnipeg Brain Bee. Our inaugural Brain Bee was held in 2015 and our second Winnipeg Brain Bee was held March 12, 2016. In both years, our winners, Rachel Gador and Tiara Headworth from River East Collegiate, participated in the Canadian National Brain Bee in Hamilton (all travel expenses were covered by the MNN). For our 2016 competition, we welcomed 18 students from Winnipeg and Brandon to the competition, and for the 2017 Winnipeg Brain Bee, which will be held March 11th, our numbers have increased dramatically, as we currently have 32 students from several Winnipeg and Brandon high schools registered.
Details at: http://brainbee.ca/local-bees/winnipeg/
West Broadway Youth Outreach:
In November, 2015, we had the opportunity to work with a wonderful local organization called West Broadway Youth Outreach. WBYO provides academic and social support to children in the West Broadway neighbourhood, which is in Winnipeg’s inner city. Many of these children are recent immigrants, and others come from disadvantaged backgrounds. There is a strong emphasis on academic achievement in all of their programs, and the students are rewarded for their achievements with opportunities such as the Dreams Mentorship program. This program gives students the opportunity to meet someone who is working in the student’s “dream” job, which shows the child that their goals are attainable. We were delighted to help arrange a meeting between Dr. Eftekhar Eftekharpour and a 10-year old boy named Kenna who wants to become a neuroscientist. Pictures from their meeting can be seen by following the
link below, and we hope that we will have the opportunity to meet with more WBYO kids in the
A Dream came true for Kenna last night, as he met his Mentor: Neuroscientist Eftekhar Eftekharpour PhD, from the…
Information Services and Social Media:
All of our outreach initiatives will soon be unified under the umbrella of a new MNN visual identity and website. Once complete, the new website (www.manitobaneuroscience.ca) will serve as a platform for promoting our networking, outreach and training initiatives, and for facilitating the creation of new ones. It will also complement our growing social media presence, which is managed by neuroscience graduate students. These social media accounts are the public face of the MNN and one of our primary means of
communicating with the public about our activities.