The Neuro News highlights news about the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital.

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Guy Rouleau Reappointed as Director of the MNI


Dr. Guy Rouleau was unanimously and enthusiastically reappointed for a second five-year term as Director of the MNI effective January 1, 2018. In reviewing his first term as Director, the Advisory Committee was particularly impressed by The Neuro’s increased research visibility and strong clinical contributions under Dr. Rouleau’s leadership, as well as by the quality of his research, and his fiscal management. The Committee also noted the high quality of recent recruitments, and the institute’s success in attracting new philanthropic funding.


Dr. Rouleau is widely considered a pioneer in both research and clinical care, particularly in the areas of epilepsy, autism, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and schizophrenia. Highlights of his distinguished career include contributing to the identification of more than 20 disease-causing genes and his discovery of new mutational mechanisms. In 2016, he received the Prix de l’oeuvre scientifique from the Médecins francophones du Canada, and he became a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.  In 2014, he was awarded the Prix d’excellence by the Collège des médecins du Québec for his outstanding contributions to neurogenetics and medicine. His research has also earned him the Prix du Québec – Prix Wilder Penfield, the Henry Friesen Prize, and the Margolese Prize. Dr. Rouleau is an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec.





70th Annual Reitman Lunch Kicks Off the Holiday Season


On December 12, several hundred faculty and staff of The Neuro gathered together at the 70th annual Reitman Holiday Luncheon. For the 70th consecutive year, the Reitman family generously provided a lunch buffet featuring smoked meat and fixings for The Neuro community. The Neuro Cosgrove Choir added to the festive atmosphere as colleagues took the rare opportunity to relax together. View photos on The Neuro Facebook page.



Takeda and The Neuro Team up to Benefit People Living with ALS


A unique industry-academia partnership will increase the rate at which promising drug compounds can be tested as potential treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease with no known cure that affects 200,000 people worldwide.


The partnership between The Neuro and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda) will allow compounds developed by Takeda scientists to be tested on cell lines produced at The Neuro.


Learn more.



The Neuro Celebrates the Opening of the Molson Cellular Imaging Facility


The Neuro was honoured to welcome representatives of The Molson Foundation to celebrate the opening of the new Molson Cellular Imaging Facility. An exemplary $2 million donation by the Foundation established this advanced in-house microscopy facility that will enable research into various neurological disorders, including ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder, and epilepsy, among others.


This latest donation from the Foundation is part of a long and proud history of supporting microscopy and molecular neuroscience at The Neuro. They previously established the Molson Pavilion for Molecular Medicine in 1994, which has since become an integral part of The Neuro’s activities. We are tremendously grateful to The Molson Foundation for their transformative and loyal support of neuroscience research and education at The Neuro.



New partnership to Increase Volume and Quality of Cell Assays for Drug Discovery


A new partnership between the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) and The Neuro will use a unique open science framework to help scientists discover new targets for drug development for neurological diseases.


The partnership, called NeuroSGC, will initially focus on Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), two of the most common neurodegenerative diseases.


Read more about this exciting new initiative.



MNI Open Research Publishes First Articles


The MNI Open Research, a new platform whereon researchers from The Neuro can publish research outputs — ranging from standard research articles to negative findings — in support of The Neuro’s open science principles.


Read now and check back often!



Tourism Montreal Profiles Montreal as a Neuroscience Hub


The Neuro features prominently in a Tourism Montreal article that describes Montreal as a world leader in Neuroscience.


Excerpt from the Tourism Montreal article:

With the largest number of research centres in the country, Montréal is Canada’s research and education capital, and neuroscience is in the top tier of local expertise. Québec is home to more than 800 neuroscience professionals — with over 240 active in the Montréal area alone — and 39 companies related to neuroscience, positioning the city as an international leader for development and innovation in the field.





Damien Chalaud

Senior Director, Communications


Damien is a communications/marketing manager and strategist in the public and private sectors. He holds two Master of Arts degrees — one in Journalism, and one in Media and Communications, both from the University of London. He has a broad base of experience in communication strategy and brand identity, working with a variety of organizations including Montréal International, CBC-Radio Canada, the BBC, and Radio France-Cityradio.

Damien comes to The Neuro from the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ), where he was Executive Director since 2013.



John McCall

Senior Director, Administration and Operations


John is a Certified General Accountant who holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Finance & International Business, from McGill University. He is an accomplished senior leader, with extensive corporate financial management experience earned across various industries, within large publicly traded global firms and SMEs. His strengths and specialties include business planning and execution, budgeting and forecasting, risk management, financial reporting, and process improvement.

John is coming to The Neuro from Lifestyle Hearing Corporation, where he was Vice-President, Finance.



Viola Grasso

Coordinator, Administrative Services, Neurosciences Mission


Viola Grasso, B.A., M.A., whose abilities have been well appreciated at The Neuro for the past 17 years, has been selected as the new Coordinator, Administrative Services, Neurosciences Mission. Viola has previously played key roles in several significant MUHC departmental re-organization projects.


Viola is now responsible for supporting the effective management of human and material resources, and participating in the development and implementation of operational and strategic planning with senior leaders.



Ross A. Aitken

Associate Director, Annual Giving


As Associate Director, Annual Giving, Ross A. Aitken will direct the strategies for a comprehensive direct marketing program, develop the leadership donor program, and source new channels of annual giving.


Ross received his B.Sc. from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, UK. He has served on the board of CAISAP (now ISAPC, Independent School Advancement Professionals of Canada) as the Quebec and Eastern Ontario Regional Director. Most recently, Ross was Director of Development for St. Raphael’s Palliative Care Home and Day Centre, where he was the force behind their financing campaign.





A Taste for Whisky


On Thursday, February 22, warm up with an evening of whisky tasting! Guests of WhiskyFête 2018 can sample rare whiskies and taste fine food prepared by Chef Jean-Michel Baudenon. This is sure to be a whisky tasting experience like no other!

Learn more and buy your ticket(s) today! Proceeds will benefit The Neuro.





Working it Out for Brain Cancer Research at The Neuro


In honor of Cristina Cuffaro, The Oli Foundation raised an impressive $35 000 on September 24, 2017 at Plaza Volare, through an energetic charity bootcamp class. Funds raised will support brain cancer research at The Neuro.



New Patient Transport Vehicle to Improve Wait Times for Patients


The Neuro was thrilled to recognize the generous contribution of $65,000 by the Morris & Bella Fainman Family Foundation to support the purchase of a Patient Transport Vehicle. The first of its kind in Quebec, this vehicle will allow our clinical team to more rapidly and efficiently transport non-critical patients through the MUHC network as they undergo off-site tests and treatments. This much-needed resource fills an urgent logistical gap, as patients previously needed to rely on an external service to transport them from one site to another which often resulted in canceled or delayed appointments. The addition of this vehicle, made possible by the Fainman Family, will go a long way towards alleviating the pressure and anxiety experienced by patients as they undergo the stressful hospitalization period. Many thanks to the Fainman Family for their very generous and meaningful support of The Neuro and its patients.


Alf Barrios Tours the New Rio Tinto Laboratory of NeuroEngineering


The Neuro had the honour of welcoming representatives from Rio Tinto, including Chief Executive Alf Barrios, to celebrate the creation of the Rio Tinto Laboratory of NeuroEngineering. A $1 million donation to The Neuro’s Thinking Ahead Campaign provided the funding necessary to create this interdisciplinary laboratory focused on research into regenerative medicine and the development of novel strategies for the treatment of nervous system injury, which affects over 250,000 Canadians per year. 

The Neuro is deeply grateful to Rio Tinto for its instrumental support of this important research program which has the potential to significantly improve outcomes for patients recovering from damage to the central nervous system, including spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.



A Member of The Neuro Family Launches Humanitarian Initiative


Gabrielle Arseneault, an administrative technician at The Neuro’s pain clinic, founded a humanitarian initiative called the Blessing Bag Movement. The Movement gathers daily essentials and distributes them to people in need in the Montreal area. Gabrielle was recently a guest on CBC Radio's Homerun to talk about her motivation to give back to the community.


Support the Blessing Bag Movement and listen to the interview on Homerun.





Dr. Alan Evans, who received a Canada 150 medal from the Senate of Canada for his commitment to advancements in Alzheimer’s disease and palliative care research. Evans was nominated by Senator Judith Seidman, a former research fellow at the MNI, and Associate Professor of the McGill School of Social Work. Learn more!



Dr. Heather Durham, Dr. Stefano Stifani, and Jay Ross, received grants from the ALS Society of Canada worth a total of more than $2 million. Learn more!



Dr. Adrien Peyrache, who has been named Canada Research Chair in systems neuroscience. As a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair, Peyrache’s lab will receive $500,000 over five years, but more than that, Peyrache says it is an honour to be selected among Canada’s top scientists. Learn more!




Huntington’s Drug Could Slow Progress of the Disease


A landmark trial for Huntington’s disease has announced positive results, suggesting that an experimental drug could become the first to slow the progression of the devastating genetic illness.


Learn more in The Guardian.



Autism Therapy: Social Behavior Restored Via Brain Stimulation


Scientists are examining the feasibility of treating autistic children with neuromodulation after a new study showed that social impairments can be corrected by brain stimulation.


Read more in Science Daily.



Migraines Could Be Defence Mechanisms for the Brain


Migraines have been long been considered a disorder. But, what if migraines are a natural way for the brain to protect itself? 


Read more about this hypothesis in Science & Vie (in French).





Donate Now


The Neuro relies on our loyal community of donors in order to unlock the mysteries behind some of the most devastating neurological diseases and disorders of our time, and to help the patients and families affected by them. Your donation can make all the difference to the future of neurological care. Please give generously!



The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital — The Neuro, is a unique academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience. Founded in 1934, The Neuro is recognized internationally for integrating research, compassionate patient care and advanced training, all key to advances in science and medicine. The Neuro is a research and teaching institute of McGill University and forms the basis for the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre.  For more information, visit



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