September 2016
The Neuro News is a monthly newsletter highlighting activities at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital.



McGill Wins $84 Million Grant for Neuroscience from the Canada First Excellence Research Fund

McGill has been awarded an $84 million, seven-year grant from the Canada First Excellence Research Fund (CFREF), to advance understanding of the human brain and ease the burden of neurological and mental-health disorders through the Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives (HBHL) project. Using the novel approach of deploying neuroscience and neuroinformatic to address the individual brain in all its complexity and variability, the HBHL will build on The Neuro’s leading position in neuroscience as a global hub for brain research.


Three of the HBHL's major themes will be led by MNI scientists:

  1. Transform how we see and map the brain through the Neuroinformatics and Modelling Program, led by Dr. Alan Evans.
  2. Understand the basis for brain disease through the Mechanisms of Neurodegenerative Disease Program, led by Dr. Guy Rouleau.
  3. Clarify how the brain changes over the lifetime through the Dynamic Brain Project: Plasticity and resilience, led by Dr. Robert Zatorre.

Read more about this historic grant here, or related news in the following news outlets:


Dr. Guy Rouleau Inducted Into the Royal Society of Canada

On September 7, 2016, the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) announced that Director of The Neuro, Dr. Guy Rouleau, was inducted as a Fellow! The new cohort of 89 Fellows, 10 of whom are McGill researchers and scholars, will be formally inducted into the RSC on November 18, in Kingston, Ontario. They join the more than 160 McGill-affiliated Fellows inducted to the Society since 1966.


Learn more!




A New Role for Cannabinoids in Vision

A multidisciplinary team, led by Dr. Edward Ruthazer at The Neuro, has improved our understanding of how cannabinoids, the active agent in marijuana, affect vision in vertebrates.


Learn more!


Community Connections


The Montreal Alzheimer Research for a Cure is Launched!

On September 12, 2016, the Montreal Alzheimer Research for a Cure (MARC) was launched. MARC is a joint fundraising initiative bringing together research projects from The Neuro and the Jewish General Hospital to raise much needed funds in the search to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. MARC is the first online fundraising program exclusively dedicated to supporting Montreal-based research into the early detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and is unique in its mission to target younger donors in the fight against a disease that is anticipated to affect close to one million Canadians by 2030.


With generous donations from Ms. Dorothy Reitman and Mr. Andre Charron, MARC’s launch features a full media outreach and an extensive online awareness campaign. The project was spearheaded by Ms. Reitman, whose late husband, Cyril, died in 2014, after living with Alzheimer’s disease for several years. Her experience caring for her husband drives her commitment to raise funds to support research into the early identification and eventual treatment of the disease.


Learn more or make a donation!


Tickets for A Brilliant Night Are Going Quickly!

Tickets for A Brilliant Night, a gala fundraiser to support life-saving brain cancer research, being held on October 19, 2016, at Windsor Station, are going fast!


Learn more about the event, and buy your tickets NOW!



The Neuro Takes it to the Streets

Staff and volunteers from The Neuro were among the exhibitors at the Flavours of Monkland Festival on August 19-21, 2016. A live stream of the last concert from Canadian iconic rock band the Tragically Hip, whose lead singer, Gord Downie was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive, incurable form of cancer in December 2015, was the Festival highlight on Saturday night. Staff and volunteers wanted to talk to members of the Montreal community to generate public awareness about brain cancer and the work of The Neuro, and to forge new friendships. Past and current patients and staff stopped by The Neuro table to chat, make a donation, and subscribe to the Neuro News.



In Focus


September 21 is World Alzheimer's Day - Learn More at The Neuro

On September 21, Alzheimer's disease is acknowledged around the globe through various events and public awareness campaigns. Join us The Neuro for a series of events on September 22, including a screening of the film, Henry, that will serve to inform the community about the disease and how it affects patients. Leading disease experts will be on hand to offer their expertise and answer questions.



Faces of The Neuro


You don’t want to miss #NeuroProfiles, the latest feature on The Neuro’s Facebook page! Read all about the people who make The Neuro a special place, including:

  • Anthony Bruce, housekeeping attendant
  • Rosa Sourial, nurse clinician specializing in strokes
  • Manny De Andrade, security guard

Do you want to acknowledge a student or staff member through #NeuroProfiles?  Send us an email!



Congratulations to ...

Dr. Heidi McBride, who recently received a $100,000 grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The funds will allow her to continue researching Parkinson’s disease, in particular how dopaminergic neurons are affected by an autoimmune process, as detailed in a paper that she co-authored in June.


Read more about it!


Dr. Douglas Arnold, who was granted a Collaborative Network Planning Award planning grant from the International Progressive MS Alliance as the lead researcher for the MRI Biomarker for Disability Progression for Use in Clinical Trials project.


Read about all of the projects that received a planning grant.


In Memoriam


Mauril Bélanger, 1955-2016

The Honourable Mauril Bélanger passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, August 15, 2016, after a courageous battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). First elected in 1995, and re-elected seven times, Mauril represented the citizens of Ottawa-Vanier in the House of Commons until his death.


View his obituary and read Prime Minister Trudeau’s statement about his death.


Fast Facts


The Neuro’s YouTube Channel is Your Source for Neuro News and Information

Did you know about The Neuro YouTube channel? Watch videos - about patients, patient care, research and all things Neuro - at your leisure.

The X-Box as a Useful Assessment Tool for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

A team of researchers led by McGill University postdoctoral fellow Farnood Gholami, supervised by Jozsef Kövecses from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Centre for Intelligent Machines, collaborated with Daria Trojan, a physiatrist in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery working at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, to test whether the Kinect could detect the differences in gait of MS patients compared to healthy individuals. Read about it, or watch this CTV news video.


Brain Facts


Study Reveals That Depression is Driven by a Network of Genes

Depression is a disorder that involves changes in coordinated networks of hundreds of genes across key brain circuits, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and published May 12, 2016, in the journal Neuron.

Learn more!


Credit: The Neuroscience News




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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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