Sustaining a career that includes making two major scientific discoveries, winning a Gairdner Award, founding the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and a foray into health policy requires fuel — lots of it — and Dr. Samuel Weiss, PhD’83, knows how to find it.
From being dragged back to school by his mom for the third year of his undergrad in 1977, to being encouraged to bring his knowledge and expertise to Ottawa last year by Canada’s minister of mental health and addictions, Weiss says there was one driving force at play in every stage of his career: Inspiration.
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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
All humans require sleep daily to be physically and mentally healthy. Sleep is known to play a role in solidifying new memories and learning. However, researchers do not fully understand the processes in the brain that underlie the consolidation of newly acquired information and skills during sleep.
With the support of a CIHR Fellowship, Dr. Dylan Smith from University of Ottawa Institute for Mental Health Research is combining electroencephalography (EEG) with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to peer inside the brains of healthy volunteers and study these processes at work.
Study participants are placed inside an MRI brain scanner wherein they are instructed to solve a visual puzzle before falling asleep. Dr. Smith is analyzing the data from these brain scans with a focus on sleep spindles – fast bursts of brain activity linked to sleep and memory – in parts of the brain associated with learning, such as the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and striatum. This research is providing new insight into how our brains integrate new learning while we’re sleeping.
Learn more about the Faces of health research 2022 on the CIHR website.