Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 CAN- CIHR-INMHA Brain Star Awards!

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN) and the Canadian Institutes of Health’s Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (CIHR-INMHA) are proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Brain Star Awards.

The CIHR-INMHA Brain Star awards, administered for 2021 by the Canadian Association for Neuroscience, are awarded to students and trainees who have published high impact discoveries in all fields and disciplines covered by CIHR’s Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction in the 2021 calendar year.

The top 3 Brain Star Award winners of the year have been invited to make a presentation at the CAN meeting in May.

Read about the Brain Star Award winners of 2021

Boris Bernhardt wins the 2022 New Investigator Award from the Canadian Association for Neuroscience

Boris Bernhardt
Boris Bernhardt

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience is extremely proud to present Dr. Boris Bernhardt, Assistant Professor in Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University, with the 2022 CAN New Investigator Award. Dr. Boris Bernhardt is a Tier-2 Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroinformatics and leads the multimodal imaging and connectome analysis laboratory ( at the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre (BIC) of the Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital (The Neuro).

Dr. Boris Bernhardt is recognized internationally for his research that seeks to better understand human brain organization, brain development, and neural mechanisms of human cognition across different spatial and temporal scales. His research integrates cutting edge in vivo neuroimaging, network science, histology, and transcriptomics approaches. He is one of the pioneers of an emerging system neuroscience field to study large-scale gradients – spatially organized patterns of brain microarchitecture, connectivity, and function– and to examine their role in human cognition. His research has contributed to the growing understanding of how multiscale network anomalies contribute to atypical brain function and cognitive difficulties in common conditions, notably in epilepsy and autism.

Read more here

CAN Advocacy award: Montreal Neurological Institute Open Outreach Program

CAN is proud to support the development of the Montreal Neurological Institute Open Outreach Program

Description of initiative

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s ‘Calls to Action’ #6-12 relate to removing barriers in education for Aboriginal youth and eliminating educational gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. With this application, we propose to create the ‘TOSI Open Outreach Program’, a neuroscience-specific outreach program run out of the Montreal Neurological Institute. Its goal will be to engage with youth in remote northern communities and expose them to neuroscience education and research, with the long-term goal of attracting Indigenous students from such communities to enter neuroscience-related programs at the university level. The ‘TOSI Open Outreach Program’ would be led by a Principal Investigator based at the Montreal Neurological Institute – selected by the TOSI Grassroots Committee – who will partner with other McGill-, Quebec- and Canada-based groups, such as BrainReach North, McGill Indigenous Initiatives, and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience, to develop a Quebec-based strategy to increase neuroscience-related outreach activities in remote northern communities, and to ensure that such activities are designed in partnership with Indigenous leaders and communities to maximize impact and ensure sustainability. One of the current limitations in similar outreach initiatives is the difficulty in establishing local community contacts and maintaining previously established community contacts – thus a central thrust of this proposal is to establish and strengthen community connections to enable a sustainable outreach program. Finally, once the ‘TOSI Open Outreach Program’ is well established in remote northern communities, its scope could be expanded to provide outreach to other traditionally under-served communities.

Target audience / Outreach potential

Youth in remote northern communities in Quebec.

Main objective of event

The goals of this proposal are:
– Establishing the ‘TOSI Open Outreach Program’ at the Neuro, which would include:
– Formalizing the ‘Open Outreach Program’ within TOSI
– Defining a mandate for the ‘TOSI Open Outreach Program’
– Selecting a Chair to head the program
– Establishing a web presence on the Neuro website

Formalizing partnerships with stakeholders, including (but not limited to):

  • BrainReach North
  • McGill Indigenous Initiatives
  • Canadian Association for Neuroscience
  • Brain Canada
  • International Brain Research Organization (IBRO)

Developing an action plan that encompasses:

  • Establishing a network of educators and community leaders in northern communities.
  • Initiating a dialogue with educators and leaders in northern communities to develop an outreach plan that is designed with their needs and concerns in mind, and that ensures sustainability of the program.
  • Formalizing the outreach plan into specific deliverables, such as ‘online teaching materials’, ‘in-person interactive education events’, ‘meet a scientist events’, and ‘neuroscience fair events’.


– Dr. Stuart Trenholm (McGill, Montreal Neurological Institute)
– Dr. Arjun Krishnaswamy (McGill, Department of Physiology, yIBRO)

Scientific excellence / impact

We believe that this initiative will fill an important gap in current outreach activities targeted towards remote northern communities by focusing on establishing sustainable community connections, and we think that such an initiative would be a great boost for increasing EDI in neuroscience exposure and training in Canada for a historically under-served community.

Equity / Diversity / Inclusion

The proposed Open Outreach Program is an outreach event exclusively targeted at increasing neuroscience-related engagement with remote northern (largely Indigenous) communities in Quebec. Thus this proposal is a grassroots initiative to increase EDI in neuroscience training and exposure, with the long-term goal of increasing the number of Indigenous people who enter the field of neuroscience.

CAN advocacy award winner: Who can become a scientist?

CAN is proud to support the “Who can become a scientist?” workshop

Description of event

Who can become a scientist? is a workshop for a high school age audience. The workshop is approximately 1.5 hours and is currently in a virtual format. The program is led by a team of dedicated undergraduate and graduate volunteers, and pairs module-based education about equity diversity and inclusion issues in science along with audience-participation activities. The workshop begins with a ~25 min interactive introduction, that includes participants being asked to participate in a poll regarding their career interests and to draw or write a description of a scientist (not for sharing with the group just for their own reference). This is followed by a number of self and pair/small group reflection-type questions and then leads into 3 optional modules, titled:

  1. Getting inspired by role models: “If you can see it, you can be it!”
  2. Leveraging support from mentors
  3. Advocating for equity, diversity, and inclusion

Target audience / Outreach potential

The target audience is high school age students, but could be adapted to broaden the scope. We expect to reach between 50 and 200 high school age students in this first year.

Main objective of event

To promote the awareness and importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion in science.


The idea for the workshop was sparked by a discussion about equity, diversity and inclusion amongst members of the Swayne lab at the University of Victoria. Over the past year, the workshop has been developed by a collaborative group including members the Swayne lab, University of Victoria faculty members, and students at the University of Victoria together with the local chapter of Let’s Talk Science, with input and feedback from the University of Victoria Office of Equity and Human Rights.

Developers & Organizers:

Leigh Anne Swayne
Rebecca Candlish
Juan Sanchez-Arias
Emma van der Slagt
Afnan Juma
Dzifa Dordunoo
Jane Gair
Moussa Magassa
Elisa Gonçalves de Andrade
Simone St. Louis Anderson
Melissa Mills
Hannah Richards
Crystal Washington


Aaron A Phillips and Tabrez J Siddiqui win 2021 CAN Young Investigator Awards

Aaron Phillips Tabrez SiddiquiThe Canadian Association for Neuroscience is very proud to announce that Dr. Aaron A. Phillips, Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary,  and Dr. Tabrez J. Siddiqui, Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology at the University of Manitoba and a Principal Investigator at the Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine, will be awarded CAN Young Investigator Awards at the 2021 Canadian Neuroscience Meeting.

Read the winners’ profiles here:

Aaron A PhillipsTabrez J Siddiqui

2020 Turnbull-Tator Award in Spinal Cord Injury and Concussion Research

Brain Canada Foundation and the Barbara Turnbull Foundation for Spinal Cord Research are pleased to announce the launch of the second annual Turnbull-Tator Award in Spinal Cord Injury and Concussion Research.

This award aims to recognize an outstanding publication in the field of spinal cord and/or brain injury research (including concussion) in the last two years with a $50,000 prize. Applicants will need to demonstrate that their publication includes novel and groundbreaking results that represent a major advancement for the field.

The Turnbull-Tator Award competition is open to all active investigators in any phase of their career, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows conducting research at a Canadian institution. Brain Canada and the Barbara Turnbull Foundation are committed to excellence through equity, and we encourage applicants of diverse backgrounds to apply to our funding opportunities.

The deadline for receipt of Applications is December 2, 2020 (16:00 EST).

Please refer to the Request for Applications for additional details.

Announcement of the call for the 2021 Joseph Altman Award in Developmental Neuroscience

The Japanese Neuroscience Society is now calling for nomination for the 2021 Joseph Altman Award in Developmental Neuroscience.
Application submission site opens on November 1st, 2020.
Application deadline is on January 31st, 2021

  • Scope of the Award: Research in developmental neuroscience at the tissue and cellular levels. The scope of the Award is not limited to phenomena during fetal or developmental stages; it also includes adult neurogenesis and its biological significance and its changes resulting from aging and diseases. (As a general rule, applied studies are not included within the scope of the Award.)
  • Eligibility: As a general rule, researchers who have received their doctorate or comparable academic degree less than 20 years prior to the application submission deadline. (Not limited to members of the Japan Neuroscience Society.)
  • Supplemental Prize: 10,000 USD (Fixed total amount if the Award is granted to two or more recipients.)
  • Selection Criteria: Submit three articles.
    One corresponding author article published within five years of the application deadline.
    Two first or corresponding author articles (no limitation of published year)
    Only original articles are evaluated, and review papers should not be included.

View full details on the Japanese Neuroscience Society website

Call for Submissions: 2021 Dr. Sam Lal Award

The Graham Boeckh Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2021 Dr. Samarthji Lal Award.

Dr. Lal was a distinguished psychiatric researcher, and this award is given each year to honour his legacy. The award recognizes a researcher working in a Canadian institution in the field of mental health who is making an outstanding contribution to the field and demonstrates both scientific excellence and creative thinking. The 2021 award will mark the 11th anniversary of the award.

In order to be eligible, a researcher must be affiliated with a Canadian academic or clinical institution and be in the mid-stage of their career (7-15 years from their initial appointment) – under exceptional circumstances, the committee may consider a nominee outside this limit. Each candidate must be nominated by a colleague or mentor who is familiar with their work. The main submission requirements are a curriculum vitae, two letters of support and a brief description of how the candidate is making an outstanding contribution to mental health research. The Call for Submissions can be accessed here (to view the French version click here).

Award amount: $25,000 (CAD)
Deadline for submission of nominations: January 22, 2021

The Graham Boeckh Foundation would like to thank the communications partners for the Sam Lal Award: The Canadian Institutes for Health Research – Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the Canadian Association for Neuroscience, the Canadian Psychological Association and the Canadian Psychiatric Association.