Blake Richards wins the 2019 CAN Young Investigator AwardCAN Connectionimpact of neurological disorders in Canada


Neuroscience news

In Memoriam – Michael Poulter

Michael PoulterMichael Poulter, a Professor/Principal Investigator with the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and Robarts Research Institute – Department of Molecular Medicine, died on August 10, 2019 at the age of 60. At the time of his passing Dr. Poulter had 13 years of service at Western.

It is with heavy hearts that the family announces the sudden death of Michael O. Poulter on Saturday, August 10, 2019 after a short illness. Beloved husband to Caroline Schild-Poulter for 27 years. Caring Papa to Sarah and Julien Poulter. Loving son of Patricia and the step-son of the late Ulbe VanDyke. Brother to John Poulter, uncle to Charles and Matthew, and brother to Beth Poulter (Don Baker) and uncle to Claire and Patsy. Michael will also sorely be missed by many other family and friends.

Can gut infection trigger Parkinson’s disease?

Michel Desjardins

Michel Desjardins

A new study by Montreal scientists published today in Nature demonstrates that a gut infection can lead to a pathology resembling Parkinson’s disease (PD) in a mouse model lacking a gene linked to the human disease.

This discovery extends recent work by the same group suggesting that PD has a major immune component, providing new avenues for therapeutic strategies.

Carleton’s Mike Hildebrand and Fellow Researchers Bridge the Gap between Animal Studies and New Treatments for Chronic Pain Sufferers

Mike Hildebrand

Mike Hildebrand

Carleton University’s Mike Hildebrand and his partners are publishing new research into managing chronic pain. The lack of effective treatments has created a major health crisis affecting one in five Canadians.

The opioid epidemic has highlighted the magnitude of this clinical problem, as well as the urgent need for safer more effective treatments.

“To develop new pharmacological options, pain researchers are investigating what goes wrong to drive out-of-control pain signalling,” said Hildebrand, professor in the Department of Neuroscience.

Call for nominations for the 2020 Brain Prize now open

The world’s largest brain research prize is Danish and is awarded by the Lundbeck Foundation. Each year, the Lundbeck Foundation awards 10 million DKK (approx. 1,3 million €) to one or more brain researchers who have had a ground-breaking impact on brain research. The prize and associated activities are at the very forefront of the Lundbeck Foundation’s ambitions to make Denmark the world’s leading brain research nation. The Brain Prize is an international prize and can be awarded to researchers from all over the world.

The GPS of neurons now better understood with an IRCM study published in Neuron

Frédéric Charron

Frédéric Charron

Our nerves consist of small cables responsible for circulating information to every part of our body, allowing us, for instance, to move. These cables are actually cells called neurons with long extensions named axons.

Frédéric Charron, a researcher at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) and a molecular biology professor at Université de Montréal, and his team have recently shed light on a system that tells our neurons how to build the delicate circuits of our nervous system. The discovery by this group of researchers, all from the IRCM, appeared in the prestigious journal Neuron. This work may one day contribute to the development of treatments for people with a spinal cord injury or a genetic disorder affecting their motor function.

How a small worm helped unravel a big mystery in rare disease – SickKids researchers discover the important role of zinc in CCM disease

Brent Derry

Brent Derry

Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) is a rare disease that causes anomalies in tiny capillaries that transport blood throughout the brain. The disease manifests as irregularities that resemble raspberries, most often in the brain, that can lead to hemorrhage, stroke and seizures in afflicted individuals. The disease involves defects in one of three CCM genes (CCM1, CCM2, or CCM3) and affects nearly one in six thousand people. Currently, there is no clinically approved therapy to treat this disease; patients rely on invasive brain surgery for treatment, but some extreme forms cannot be treated surgically.

Discovery of mutations in ACTL6B gene offers insight into brain development

Carl Ernst

Carl Ernst

Québec siblings with rare orphan disease lead to discovery of rare genetic diseases

Mutations in a gene involved in brain development have led to the discovery of two new neurodevelopmental diseases by an international team led by researchers at McGill University and CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center.

The first clues about the rare disorder arose after doctors were unable to diagnose why two siblings from Québec City were experiencing seizures and neurodevelopmental deficits. Desperate, the children’s family turned to Carl Ernst at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal for answers.

Canadian Artificial Intelligence pioneers win the 2019 Turing Award

Congratulations to Geoffrey Hinton (University of Toronto), Joshua Bengio (Université de Montréal) and Yann LeCun (Boston University) who have won the 2019 Turing award for their work to understand neural networks using artificial intelligence and deep learning.   The Turing Award is an annual prize given by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to an individual selected for contributions “of lasting and major technical importance to the computer field”.  The award is accompanied by a $1 million USD prize, to be shared by the three winners.

Read more on the Association for Computing Machinery website

Fathers of the Deep Learning Revolution Receive ACM A.M. Turing Award
Bengio, Hinton and LeCun Ushered in Major Breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence

Geoffrey Hinton will be present at the CAN meeting on May 21, 2019, where he will present the CAN annual public lecture, which will be hosted by Blake Richards, from the University of Toronto. More here.

New molecules reverse memory loss linked to depression, aging

Etienne Sibille

Etienne Sibille

New therapeutic molecules developed at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) show promise in reversing the memory loss linked to depression and aging.

These molecules not only rapidly improve symptoms, but remarkably, also appear to renew the underlying brain impairments causing memory loss in preclinical models. These findings were presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Washington DC.

“Currently there are no medications to treat cognitive symptoms such as memory loss that occur in depression, other mental illnesses and aging,” says Dr. Etienne Sibille, Deputy Director of the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at CAMH and lead scientist on the study.