Doctoral students with an Interest in Healthy Brain, Aging and Dementia Prevention

University of Calgary logoOpportunities: The Brain in Motion research program is looking for doctoral students with an interest in healthy brain aging and dementia prevention who wish to join a large interdisciplinary and diverse research team of over 35 scientists from Calgary, Canada and other parts of the World. There are opportunities currently available for doctoral students in neurosciences, physiological sciences, psychology and kinesiology in several areas related to this research program. Four-year doctoral stipend support is available via matching funding models, through application in March 2023, at the University of Calgary. Below you will find the thematic areas, the Brain in Motion protocol, the timeline for this opportunity, and contact information for more details.

Thematic areas within the program of research

  • Cognitive function (executive function, complex attention, processing speed, verbal memory, overall cognition), exercise and aging
  • Biomarkers (vascular, neuroendocrine, inflammation)
  • Proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics
  • Genetics (genetic variants related to ADRD, neuronal integrity, growth factors and clearance enzymes, lipid and vascular function modulators)
  • Neuroimaging
  • Sleep and novel biomarkers of cognitive decline
  • Maintenance of health behavior
  • Role of lifestyle factors on cognitive function
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Healthcare system costs and quality of life measures
  • Exercise physiology
  • Sex and gender differences

Summary of Brain in Motion

Background: There remains no effective intervention capable of reversing most cases of dementia. Current research is focused on prevention by addressing risk factors that are shared between cardiovascular disease and dementia (e.g., hypertension) before the cognitive, functional, and behavioural symptoms of dementia manifest. A promising preventive treatment is exercise. This study describes the methods of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that assesses the effects of aerobic exercise and behavioural support interventions in older adults at increased risk of dementia due to genetic and/or cardiovascular risk factors. The specific aims are to determine the effect of aerobic exercise on cognitive performance, explore the biological mechanisms that influence cognitive performance after exercise training, and determine if changes in cerebrovascular physiology and function persist one year after a 6-month aerobic exercise intervention followed by a 1-year behavioural support program (at 18 months).

Methods: We will recruit 264 participants (aged 50-80 years) at elevated risk of dementia. Participants will be randomly allocated into one of four treatment arms: (1) aerobic exercise and health behaviour support, (2) aerobic exercise and no health behaviour support, (3) stretching-toning and health behaviour support, and (4) stretching-toning and no health behaviour support. The aerobic exercise intervention will consist of three supervised walking/jogging sessions per week for 6 months, whereas the stretching-toning control intervention will consist of three supervised stretching-toning sessions per week also for 6 months. Following the exercise interventions, participants will receive either one year of ongoing telephone behavioural support or no telephone support. The primary aim is to determine the independent effect of aerobic exercise on a cognitive composite score in participants allocated to this intervention compared to participants allocated to the stretching-toning group. Secondary aims are to examine the effects of aerobic exercise on a number of secondary outcomes and determine whether aerobic exercise-related changes persist after a one-year behavioural support program (at 18 months).

Significance: This study will address knowledge gaps regarding the underlying mechanisms of the pro-cognitive effects of exercise by examining potential mediating factors, including cerebrovascular/physiological, neuroimaging, sleep, and genetic factors that will provide novel biologic evidence on how aerobic exercise can prevent declines in cognition with aging. Trial Registration: (NCT03035851); protocol paper published (Kruger et al., 2021).

Timeline for these opportunities:

By December 15, 2022– Deadline for prospective students to submit i) a letter of interest, ii) a curriculum vitae, iii) a list of publications and awards, and iv) the names of 3 referees who have agreed to be contacted to Prospective supervisors, co-supervisors and doctoral students will complete the application process for matching funds with support from the Brain in Motion team. The start date for the doctoral program will be between May – September 2023.

Contact information

For more details please contact:

Dr. Marc Poulin, Lead Investigator for the Brain in Motion team
Department of Physiology & Pharmacology
Cumming School of Medicine
University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta


Read CAN Connection – Fall 2022

Catch up with CAN in our latest newsletter, CAN connection – Fall 2022

Table of content

UofT news: Canada must boost support of science and tech: President Meric Gertler and Alan Bernstein in the Globe and Mail

Meric Gertler and Alan Bernstein

Canada must step up its support of R&D in science and technology if the country’s innovation economy is to remain competitive globally.

That was the key message of a Globe and Mail op-ed by University of Toronto President Meric Gertler and Alan Bernstein, president and CEO of CIFAR (Canadian Institute for Advanced Research), who noted substantial recent investments by the U.S. government in the country’s AI, robotics, clean electricity and green energy sectors.

“The U.S. initiatives demand a commensurate response from Canada both in size and breadth. Otherwise, our economic performance will continue to lag behind other advanced economies,” Bernstein and President Gertler warn in the op-ed published Sept. 5. Continue reading

Graduate student position – University of Lethbridge

Description: We are looking for graduate students (Master’s and/or Ph.D. levels) to help build UHF-based Internet of Things (IoT) system that will be used as a Brain-Machine Interface device. Projects will be related to our recent work:


Challenges of a small world analysis for the continuous monitoring of behaviour in mice. Neuroscience and Behavioral Reviews 2022

Miniaturized head-mounted microscope for whole-cortex mesoscale imaging in freely behaving mice. Nature Methods 2021

The project is a collaborative effort between the research groups of Majid Mohajerani ( and Dr. Robert Sutherland. Successful candidates will join the highly collaborative and interdisciplinary Canadian Centre for Neuroengineering Solutions and Brain Dynamics Group. We are located close to the Rocky Mountains, Lethbridge has the largest number of sunny days in Canada, and it is the most affordable city for young people in Canada ( ).

Requirements: Only applicants with previous experience working in UHF-based antenna design and software-defined radio systems are encouraged to apply.

The applications review will start on Oct 1st till the positions are filled. Interested applicants must send an email to Dr. Mohajerani ( and include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, a brief statement of research interests, and the contact information of three references.

CAN Outreach & Advocacy Award: The Peaceful Brain

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience is pleased to support the  “The Peaceful Brain, a celebration against hate, discrimination, and prejudice” series of events organized by the Convergence initiative. These events has also leveraged support from Heritage Canada, Brain Canada, the McGill University Health Centre Research Institute, Native Immigrant, Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse.

The Convergence Initiative is an independent Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge of neuroscience and art and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience has been a long-time supporter of this initiative that promotes cross-talk between artists, neuroscientists and the public to further our understanding of how our brain works. Convergence has always favored the approach of two-way engagement, which promotes knowledge sharing between presenters and the public, and not simply one-way teaching.

The four events proposed in the current proposal aim to address a very important issue: How to combat hate, discrimination and prejudice. The approach used is to try to expose some of the unconscious biases and ideas that each of us carry, to understand how they happen in our brains, and more importantly, how we can overcome these.

By bringing together scientists, artists, and people from different cultural and social backgrounds, these events will lead to a better understanding of what happens in our brains when we interact with people that come from different backgrounds, who have different faiths and ways to view the world, with the objective of increasing our acceptance of these differences.

We are happy to provide our support for the Convergence initiative once again.

Visit the event webpage for full details:

Post Doc Position-Neurotrophic mechanisms in brain diseases – Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto

Reduced brain cell structure and function contributes to cognitive symptoms in depression, Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders, and during aging. Current efforts aimed at developing therapeutic agents to reverse these deficits focus on excitatory or neurotrophic mechanisms, but have had limited translation to effective therapeutics potential, identifying a world-leading unmet clinical need with significant impact on patients, family, society and healthcare.

The Neurobiology of Depression and Aging program ( is seeking a postdoctoral fellow to investigate the cellular mechanisms of novel neurotrophic approaches, using cell-based and rodent models. The NDA program investigates the molecular bases of psychiatric disorders and develop novel therapeutic avenues. It is located at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.


The candidate will have a PhD in Neuroscience, Neuropharmacology or a related discipline, with demonstrated expertise in molecular neuroscience, including primary neuron culture and in vivo rodent models. Experience with methods related to molecular biology (plasmid DNA handling, qPCR, Western blot, proteome analysis, recombinant virus handling etc.), pharmacology, immunohistochemistry and imaging (confocal microscopy, morphometric analysis) is preferred.
The successful candidate will have a track record that demonstrates competence in publishing in high impact peer reviewed journals, disseminating research at formal scientific meetings, writing grant proposals and participation in the education of students and trainees. The successful candidate will also possess strong interpersonal, organizational and communication skill, and the ability to work both independently and in a team. The ability to interact with populations of diverse ethno-racial and cultural backgrounds is also required.

Please note: This full-time position is NOT part of any bargaining unit.

Salary Range: Competitive Salary

Contact information

Send your application with cover letter and CV to:

Download a PDF version of this advertisement

Posting end date: 2022/10/21

Research Associate 1 – University of Guelph – Khokhar lab

Position Title:                 Research Associate 1, (Grant & Trust Professional)
Employer:                         University of Guelph (Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College)
Term:                                  Temporary full time (15 month contract to start as soon as possible)
Hours:                               Full-time (35 Hours/Week)
Number of Positions:  1
Hiring Ref. Number:   2022-0604

N.B.:    Please read the Application Instructions before applying:

The Khokhar Lab researches the interactions between substance use and serious mental illness, with an eye toward treatment of these disorders using a variety of behavioural and circuit-interrogation methods. The Research Associate is responsible for the following main duties:

  • conducts behavioural experiments assessing the effects of cannabinoids in a variety of animal models of addiction (e.g., withdrawal, conditioned place preference and self-administration/free-access intake) and serious mental illness (e.g., prepulse inhibition, latent inhibition);
  • provides input with respect to appropriate methodology, procedures, equipment and standards to produce required research data;
  • applies specialized knowledge and principles to review, appraise and interpret published literature, summarize research findings, and draft scientific/technical reports, manuscripts, grant proposals;
  • establishes and maintains effective relationships with external partners, which may include coordinating of project plans, presenting research findings (may include presenting findings at conferences).

Education, Skills, Work Experience and other Requirements:

  • Master’s degree in relevant discipline combined with at least 3-5 years of relevant research experience with behavioural paradigms including: withdrawal, conditioned place preference, self-administration/free-access intake, prepulse inhibition, latent inhibition;
  • Experience coding with behavioural control software (e.g., Med Associates or equivalent), and using behavioural assessment software (e.g., Noldus Ethovision or equivalent) and statistical analysis software packages (e.g., SPSS or R);
  • Proven ability in methodology, procedures, equipment and standards to produce required research data;
  • Proficiency in summarizing research findings, reviewing, appraising and interpreting published literature;
  • Strong attention to detail;
  • Self-motivated and able to work collaboratively within a team environment;
  • Experience with in vivo electrophysiology is considered an asset.

Salary: $54,107 – $62,168

Vacation Pay: accrual rate of 1.25-1.83 days/month

Benefits: Extended Health, Basic Life Insurance (up to specified maximums), Dental coverage subject to minimum employment contract and minimum workload thresholds being met and Long Term Disability subject to minimum employment contract and minimum workload thresholds being met (payable to a maximum of 5 years).

Location of Employer: 50 Stone Road, Guelph, ON N1G2W1

Location of Work: Guelph, ON                    

Language of Work: English

All Canadian citizens or permanent residents who qualify are invited to apply by sending their Cover Letter and CV (including list of publications demonstrating relevant experience), quoting hiring number 2022-0604, by email to or by mail to the following address: 50 Stone Rd E, Guelph ON N1G 2W1 (Attention: Human Resources).

At the University of Guelph, fostering a culture of inclusion is an institutional imperative. The University invites and encourages applications from all qualified individuals, including from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in employment, who may contribute to further diversification of our Institution.

ERC-funded project: neural control of locomotion before and after spinal cord injury in salamanders – Research Staff

The Université de Sherbrooke is inviting applications at the rank of Research professional responsible at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, with an association with the Department of pharmacology – physiology. The position is in the Ryczko team. This is a renewable full-time position for one year.
The Ryczko lab uses electrophysiology, calcium imaging and neuroanatomy to identify the mechanisms through which the brain and spinal cord control locomotion in salamanders.
The candidate will work in a dynamic team with a strong collaborative spirit. She or he will be responsible for overall lab management and organization, student training, in vivo and in vitro experiments. The position includes execution of patch-clamp, calcium imaging, neuroanatomy and behavioral experiments (training can be provided), training student, maintenance of salamander colonies, maintenance of setups, ordering of reagents, ensuring the implementation of health and safety standards in the lab.

– Patch-clamp electrophysiology, calcium imaging (epifluorescent, confocal, two photon) and behavioral experiments in salamanders
– Help to analyze data and communicate results
– Participate in operational activities of the lab (general lab management, maintenance of equipment, purchasing, safety)
– Train students in electrophysiology, calcium imaging, neuroanatomy and behavioral techniques

– Master degree in Life sciences or equivalent
– Hands-on experience in electrophysiology or calcium imaging or movement analysis
– Experience in laboratory organization & maintenance
– Fluency in English

Candidates should send a letter of interest explaining how they would fit, a CV, a record of their academic results and three references at Please specify where you found the job post.

ERC-funded project: neural control of locomotion before and after spinal cord injury in salamanders – Graduate student position

PROJECT: Salamanders can swim underwater and walk on ground. Their spinal cord regenerates after a full transection and the animal recovers voluntary locomotion after a few weeks. How this occurs is largely unknown. Genetic dissection of salamander neural circuits is now feasible with methods for manipulation, elimination, and visualization of genetically-defined cells. Such approaches can be combined with patch-clamp electrophysiology, calcium imaging, optogenetics, tracing and movement analysis (Ryczko et al. 2020 Trends in Neurosciences, The candidate will use electrophysiology (patch-clamp recordings), calcium imaging and movement analysis based on deep learning and neuroanatomy to study salamander locomotor circuits. This project is funded by a synergy grant of the ERC. The work will be carried out in collaboration with a team of modelers and roboticists (Pr. Ijspeert, EPFL, Switzerland) and experts in genomics (Pr. Simon, Karolinska Institute, Sweden).

REQUIREMENTS: The candidate should have completed a MSc in neuroscience. The ideal candidate would have experience in electrophysiology, calcium imaging, optogenetics, virus injections, deep learning-based movement analysis, matlab scripting, and a keen interest in motor control.

HOST LABORATORY: The lab of Dr. Ryczko has expertise in the neural control of locomotion and publishes in excellent journals (PNAS, Science, Science Robotics, Journal of Neuroscience…). The lab receives grant support by the CIHR, NSERC, FRQS, CFI and ERC. We are equipped for patch-clamp recordings, confocal and two photon calcium imaging, optogenetics, viral injections, deep learning-based movement analysis, and microscopy (confocal, light-sheet, two-photon, STED).

APPLY: Candidates should send a letter of interest explaining how they would fit, a CV, a record of their academic results and three references at: Please specify where you found the job post.