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



Personality of the Year 2015

Dr. Kevin Petrecca and his colleague Dr. Frederic Leblond (Polytechnique Montréal) were named personality of the year 2015 in the science category by the Montréal newspaper La Presse. Learn more



Learning a Second Language May Depend on How your Brain Talks to Itself

Denise Klein and colleagues at the Montreal Neurological Institute explore why learning a second language is easier for some people.  Learn more




Montreal institute going ‘open’ to accelerate science

In a news article in the scientific journal, Science, MNI Director Guy Rouleau talks about the importance of the “open science movement’ and how the MNI hopes to become the first scientific institute to be completely open with scientific data with the goal of accelerating discovery and the application of neuroscience.  Learn more


Retirement of Dr. Aubé

After a distinguished career of four decades in neurology, Dr. Michel Aubé retired at the end of 2015. Dr. Aubé is both internationally recognized as an expert in migraine and widely admired for his caring treatment of patients. A great many students, patients and colleagues have benefited over the years from Dr. Aubé’s skills and knowledge. His legacy at The Neuro is truly valuable.  Learn more


Register Now! Public Lecture on March 16 at 6:30 pm

Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics & Mental Health Public Lecture: Brain Imaging in the Information Age

Dr. Alan Evans will provide an overview of the past, present and future of brain imaging as a research tool and demonstrate how combining brain-scanning technologies with sophisticated computational modelling can provide hitherto inaccessible information about what is normal brain development and how this changes in the presences of ageing diseases and mental illness.  Presentations will be in English. Question & answer (Q&A) sessions will be in French and English.  Learn more


Donor Spotlight

The power of philanthropy has been transformational for The Neuro. The philanthropic vision and generosity of our donors has enabled The Neuro to remain at the very forefront of health research and patient care for 8 decades.
Thank you for making a difference!


The Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation, an incredible partner for innovative autism research at The Neuro

A $1.6 M gift from the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation is providing pivotal support for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research at The Neuro that combines the latest in neuroimaging and clinical data with genetic information – a groundbreaking new approach to studying the disorder.  


Dr. Alan Evans at The Neuro, one of the world’s most eminent authorities on ASD is advancing research into the disorder. His work has revealed that significant differences in the brain development of at-risk infants may be detected before the appearance of autism symptoms in the infant’s first year of life - offering new clues for early diagnosis. Until now, most children are not diagnosed until after age two or three. Early diagnosis is key as research suggests that autism symptoms can improve with early intervention.


The new trail blazing research builds on this work, approaching ASD from all angles. Dr. Evans’s multidisciplinary research, with local and international collaborators, aims to identify biomarkers for early intervention. The research combines state-of-the-art imaging technologies and computational strategies to map brain structures and function in normal development and brain disorders, with genetics and epigenetics, which explore the influence of our genes and environment on brain growth and disease.


The generous donation from the Marcelle and Jean Coutu Foundation shows their unwavering commitment to the wellbeing of society. “The Neuro is at the forefront of working to understand this increasingly prevalent disorder. We are confident that this partnership with The Neuro will bring promising outcomes to patients and families living with autism and benefit future generations as researchers are able to detect the condition and intervene earlier.”


The Neuro receives support from Montreal-based Vigilant Global for the development of first chemical brain atlas

Thanks to the generosity of Vigilant Global, Dr. Abbas Sadikot and his team will catalogue and scan high resolution images of sections of the brain, then trace the activity of the neurochemicals that affect movement and mood, such as dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline, to create the 3-D chemical atlas.  Learn more


Endowed Gifts, Planned Gifts and Bequests

An endowed gift provides benefits to The Neuro year after year as the capital is invested and the interest income generated is used to support vital ongoing needs. Endowment gifts allow us to make long-term plans for research, teaching, and clinical care.


Including The Neuro in your estate planning is another excellent way to ensure that your legacy - and The Neuro’s – lives on for years to come. Today, we are pleased to announce a generous donation of $1M from the Estate of Gerard Lachapelle to further the important neuroscience research underway at The Neuro. For more information about making an endowed or planned gift to The Neuro, please contact Amanda Fritz, 514-398-2274.

Donate Now

Community Connections


Scotiabank Charity Challenge

On Sunday, April 24, 2016, The Neuro will, once again, participate in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge! This annual fundraising event, held in conjunction with the Banque Scotia 21k de Montréal et 5k, allows participants to raise funds in support of The Neuro.


We invite all our faculty, staff and supporters to run, walk, or roll for The Neuro by registering in the 2016 Scotiabank Charity Challenge! Help us reach our goal of $35,000 and sign up today!


Ain't No Mountain High Enough

After scaling Mount Kilimanjaro in August in honour of her late father who passed away from a brain tumour in November 2014, Anne-Josée Côté and her family climbed all the way up University Street to generously donate $3,500 in support of Dr. Petrecca’s brain tumour research. Throughout their ordeal, the Côté family adopted the motto “no one fights alone” and we at The Neuro heartily agree – our clinical and research staff fight hand in hand to provide the best treatments for our patients, and their accomplishments are due to the amazing support of members of the community like the Côté family.

Like the Desert Miss the Rain

Anne-Marie Désy and Benoit Lopes crossed the Omani desert on 4x4s in October to raise funds and awareness about Neurofibromatosis Type II (NF2), a condition caused by a genetic mutation that results in the formation of reoccurring, non-malignant brain tumours. Thanks to their perseverance, adventurous spirit, and generous family and friends, they raised $2,650! These funds will cover the cost of using the NICO Myriad surgical device; a tool that allows our surgeons to operate on hard to reach tumours like the ones that effect NF2 patients. Fans of Martin Horik: Octane on the V TV network, click here to watch the episode featuring Anne-Marie and Benoit (in French only)!


Seed Me Baby One More Time

With only two weeks left to go, the student-led Seeds of Change campaign is just over 75% of the way to their goal to provide 140 personalized welcome kits for in-patients at The Neuro! Please consider contributing to their efforts to make the hospital stays of patients suffering from devastating illnesses like ALS, brain cancer, or stroke, just a little more comfortable.

A bit of History


Remembering Dr. Francis McNaughton

The Neuro is grateful to artist Catherine McNaughton who recently donated a portrait she painted of her father, Dr. Francis McNaughton (1906- 1986).  Dr. McNaughton, a key figure in the development and growth of Neurology at McGill, was known for his leadership, warmth and kindness.  Learn more



Congratulations to ...


Dr. Anne-Louise Lafontaine appointed Chief of Neurology at MUHC

Dr. Anne-Louise Lafontaine has been appointed Chief of the department of Neurology of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) after having served as Interim Chief since November 2014. Her four-year term started on November 2, 2015.  Learn more





MNI Fellowships and Travel Awardees

A complete description of the awards and the awardees can be found on our website.



In Memoriam


Dr. Denis Melançon, passed away Thursday, January 21, 2016 at The Neuro, at the age of 81.  Dr. Melançon’s career at The Neuro, where he was Director of the Department of Radiology from 1995 to 1999, spanned more than 40 years. His outstanding achievements as a neuroradiologist are part of the history of radiology in Quebec and in Canada. He helped to pioneer CT and MR scanning. He gathered and analyzed data from many hundreds of brain scans to improve diagnostic accuracy. Scores of medical residents and fellows used the knowledge he gave them to make careers around the world. For the general public, he organized a major historical exhibition devoted to the history of X-Rays that was shown at the McCord Museum and at Ottawa’s Science and Technology Museum. He was the first president of FRER now called FARQ, the Association des radiologistes du Québec and served as president of the Canadian Association of Neuroradiology. He founded and maintained a quarterly magazine, Neuroimage


Dr. Melançon was highly regarded by his peers. The Neuro began its Denis Melançon Lecture series in 2008 to honor him in addition to bestowing him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Among his numerous other distinctions was the Prix Albert-Jutras, a lifetime achievement award bestowed by La Société canadienne-française de radiologie, where he served as president from 1990 to 1992.


Dr. Melançon was cared for with kindness and compassion by colleagues and friends at The Neuro.  On behalf of The Neuro, we express our condolences to Dr. Melançon’s family.


Family will receive condolences at Mount Royal Funeral Complex on Thursday, February 11, 2016, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Friday, February 12, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. A memorial service will take place Saturday, February 13, at 10:30 am in the chapel of the complex.  Expressions of sympathy may also be sent to drdenismelancon@gmail.com.


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the ''Fonds commemoratif Denis Melançon'' of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital.


Dr. William J. Barkas Jr. passed away suddenly on December 24, 2015. Dr. Barkas was a neurologist at The Neuro, working primarily in the MS Clinic.  He also worked with patients at the Constance Lethbridge Rehabilitation Centre.  He retired in 2013.

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 theneuro.com.


Send comments to Communications. To subscribe, click here.
Past issues of the Neuro News.


3801, rue University Street
Montréal (Québec) H3A 2B4
communications.neuro@mcgill.ca / 514-398-3873

Vous pouvez modifier vos préférences de communication ou désabonner à partir de futurs envois.