11-Nov-2016: Alan Evans honored with the Prix du Québec


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By Kathryn Jezer-Morton

Yesterday, the Government of Quebec bestowed its highest citation for accomplishments in cultural and scientific fields, the Prix du Québec, on two McGill researchers. Prof. John A. Hall of the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts received the Prix Léon-Gérin for human and social sciences, and Prof. Alan Evans received the Wilder-Penfield prize for biomedical research. A total of 14 Prix du Québec laureates were named this year. The Prix have been awarded every year since 1977.

Professors John A. Hall (left) and Alan Evans are the newest recipients of a prestigious Prix du Québec award.

Professors John A. Hall (left) and Alan Evans are the newest recipients of a prestigious Prix du Québec award.


Prof. Alan Evans is James McGill Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Biomedical Engineering at McGill, and a principal investigator and former head of The Montreal Neurological Institute’s McConnell Brain Imaging Centre (BIC), where Canada’s first PET scans, MR images and CT scans were produced. After earning his PhD in biophysics at the University of Leeds (UK), he worked for five years at Atomic Energy of Canada before joining The Neuro in 1984.

Prof. Evans studies functional neuroanatomy by using three-dimensional computer techniques linked to advanced brain imaging scans (PET and MRI). His work in collaboration with cognitive neuroscientists has led to the creation of important brain structural models and large-scale brain databases. Since 2008 he has directed the CBRAIN program, a research platform for neuroinformatics that has formed the basis for the Big Brain project, a highly detailed open-access brain imaging database that provides imaging details down to the cellular level.

He is also the Scientific Director of the newly launched Healthy Brains for Healthy Livesprogram, funded by a seven-year, $84 million award from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives is a cross-disciplinary initiative to advance the understanding of the human brain with the goal of making long-term improvements in clinical outcomes of the treatment of brain diseases and disorders.

Prof. John A. Hall the James McGill Professor of Comparative Historical Sociology. His work in sociology deals with state-building and nation-building, with an emphasis on European history. His recent research looks into the ways in which Ireland, Denmark and Switzerland – all three small, relatively homogenous nation-states – managed the 2008 financial crisis. A book on the topic, The Paradox of Vulnerability, is currently in press. He is the author of over thirty books and has authored or co-authored over sixty book chapters and scholarly articles in the field of political sociology.

Prof. Hall’s citation for the Prix du Quebec states that his interdisciplinary work in sociology and history sets him apart as one of the finest observers of contemporary political realities. Earlier this year, Prof. Hall was honoured by the Royal Society of Canada with the Innis-Gérin Medal for his distinguished and sustained contribution to the literature of the social sciences.

“McGill takes great pride in the career accomplishments of Prof. Hall and Prof. Evans. Thanks to the Prix du Quebec for recognizing their respective contributions to developing understanding in the political trajectories of nation-states, and the mapping and analysis of the human brain,” said Rosie Goldstein, Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation.)

The purpose of the Prix du Quebec is to recognize the career of women and men who have demonstrated a passion for their calling. Winners are individuals who have stood out for their creative or innovative spirit and whose work has contributed to the influence of Quebec around the world and to the evolution of Québec society in their respective fields.

See the original article here

Additional article from Prix du Quebec website with biography

04-Nov-2016: The MCIN Hackathon held at Hurley’s Pub

On Nov 4th, the MCIN hosted a Hackathon at Hurley’s Pub. Good food and great company inspired new ideas and collaborations amongst those in attendance.

13-Oct-2016: Delegates from China visit the MCIN

On Oct 13th, Delegates from the Chinese Embassy in Canada visited the MNI and toured the MCIN, where they had a chance to talk to Dr. Alan Evans while experiencing the BigBrain.

visit-from-china visit-from-china-2a

26-September-2016: “Towards a Multifactorial Characterization of Neurodegeneration” by Y. Iturria-Medina

As part of the The Feindel Brain Imaging Lecture SeriesDr Yasser Iturria Medina presented “Towards a Multifactorial Characterization of Neurodegeneration”. The slideshow from the presentation can be viewed here [Google Slides]


Yasser Iturria-Medina
Montreal Neurological Institute

Short Bio:
Yasser Iturria Medina (Havana, 1980), has a Nuclear Engineering background, a Master’s degree in Neurophysics and a PhD in Health Sciences. In 2003, he joined the Cuban Neuroscience Center, pioneering initial attempts to map/characterize whole brain connectivity patterns using diffusion tractography techniques. His current work is mainly focused on the development and validation of multifactorial association models of brain (dis)organization and cognition, which a particular emphasis on neurodegenerative mechanisms. At the present, he is a Banting postdoctoral fellow at MNI.

Some relevant references for the talk:

- Yasser Iturria-Medina et al., 2016. Early Role of Vascular Dysregulation on Late-Onset Alzheimer´s Disease Progression: evidence from a multi-factorial data-driven analysis. Nature Communications, 7, # 11934, doi:10.1038/ncomms11934.

- Yasser Iturria-Medina and Alan C. Evans, 2015. On the central role of brain connectivity in neurodegenerative disease progression. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. Review paper. May, vol 7, article 90. DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2015.00090.

- Yasser Iturria-Medina et al., 2014. Epidemic Spreading Model to Characterize Misfolded Proteins Propagation in Aging and Associated Neurodegenerative Disorders. PLOS Computational Biology, Vol. 10 (11), e1003956.

22-Sept-2016: MARC website featured on TV for World Alzheimer’s Day

The Montreal Alzheimer Research for a Cure (MARC) initiative and website were recently featured on several television networks as part of World Alzheimer’s Day. The founder of MARC, Dorothy Reitman of the Reitman Family Foundation, was interviewed for a segment on CTV. In addition, Jacob Vogel of the MCIN lab was also interviewed to provide a scientific background to the work.

CTV Montreal
Published Wednesday, September 21, 2016 10:08PM EDT

Wednesday marked World Alzheimer’s Day, a disease that some Montrealers believe local researchers will soon be able to stamp out.

Among the disease’s casualties was Cyril Reitman, a Montrealer well known for the clothing store that bears his name.

“It was horrendous to see this man decline,” said Reitman’s widow, Dorothy. “It just broke my heart to watch this, and as it happened, I decided it must never happen again. We must prevent this.”

Dorothy Reitman is now the driving force behind a fundraising campaign aimed at helping Montreal-based scientists to find a cure.

Among those researchers is Jacob Vogel of McGill University’s integrative program in neuroscience. He works in Dr. Alan Evan’s lab, which specializes in brain imaging, or the mapping and rendering of how the brain works.

See the full article and video here

See featured video on Breakfast Television

Près de 35 millions de personnes sont atteintes de la maladie d’Alzheimer dans le monde. La journée mondiale qui lui est consacrée le 21 septembre est l’occasion de faire le point sur les différentes recherches en cours et notamment celles effectuées à Montréal.

La docteure Andréa C. Leblanc travaille depuis plus de 25 ans à la découverte d’un médicament pour endiguer cette maladie dégénérative.

See the full article and video here

15-Sept-2016: New Montreal Alzheimer’s Research for a Cure initiative to fund local research

montreal-alzheimers-research-for-a-cure-logo VARM-logo engages the younger generation in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

The first online fundraising program dedicated exclusively to supporting Montreal-based research into the early detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia was launched on Sept. 12.

Read the full article here

or visit

15-Sept-2016: CFI Invests $1.1M in CBRAIN

By McGill Reporter Staff

This morning, Thursday, September 15, 2016, the Canada Foundation for Innovation announced that it will invest more than $1.1 million in CBRAIN, one of the world’s most advanced computing platforms for brain research. Marc Miller, Member of Parliament for Ville-Marie — Le Sud-ouest — Île-des-sœurs, made the announcement at McGill on behalf of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, the Minister of Science.

The CBRAIN investment is one of seven projects, across six universities, to receive funding under CFI’s new Cyberinfrastructure Initiative.

Read the full article here


12-Sept-2016: Representatives from the Azrieli Foundation visit the MCIN



Representatives from the Azrieli Foundation visit the MCIN on a recent visit to the Neuro.

06-Sept-2016: McGill wins $84-million grant for neuroscience


McGill has been successful in the national competition for a massive amount of research funding under the federal government’s Canada First Excellence Research Fund (CFREF), which will provide the University with an $84-million grant over seven years to support an ambitious effort in neuroscience to advance understanding of the human brain and ease the burden of neurological and mental-health disorders.

By McGill reporter staff

See full article here


$ 900 million for universities

Ottawa invests almost a billion dollars in to research for major Canadian universities.

Vincent Maisonneuve

See video on Radio-Canada here


Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives (HBHL) Fact Sheet

Support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF)

  • $84 million in federal funding over seven years
  • $150 million for Canadian neuroscience via CFREF projects at McGill (HBHL) and Western ($66 million for “Beautiful minds: Brain health for life”)
  • $213.2 million for three complementary Montreal projects at McGill, Université de Montréal, and Polytechnique Montréal


  • Financial support for innovation from the Government of Quebec
  • More than $50 million in philanthropic gifts already committed
  • 3 partners on a new pan-Canadian Network for Brain Health: Western University, Brain Canada, and Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
  • 19 academic institutions
  • 12 foundations
  • 9 industry partners
  • 7 Canadian consortia
  • 5 international consortia
    • BigBrain Project
    • European Human Brain Project
    • Human Connectome Project
    • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
    • Organisation of Human Brain Mapping
  • 4 incubators
  • 3 venture capitalists
  • 3 research networks
  • 1 research commercialization agent

Building on world-class resources

  • Inaugural Scientific Director: Alan C. Evans, who is in the top 1% of highly cited researchers in the world
  • McGill Neuroscience brings together
    • 250 scientists and clinicians
    • 1,300 graduate students
    • 255 postdoctoral fellows
  • $65 million annually in research funding
  • Affiliated hospitals, research institutes, and basic research departments
    • Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
    • McGill Centre for Research in Neuroscience
    • Douglas Mental Health University Institute
    • McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre
    • Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research
    • Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health
    • McGill University Health Centre Goals
  • Understand the healthy brain
  • Shed new light on how the brain wires itself
  • Advance how we categorize disorders
  • Develop new diagnostic tools
  • Discover new ways to treat disease
  • Improve patient access to novel treatments
  • Translate knowledge into public health, workplace, or social interventions

How the funding will be spent

  • Research
    • Discovery Fund for Interdisciplinary Research
    • Research Transition Awards
    • Seed Award for Innovative Ideas
  • Talent
    • Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Training Clusters
    • New Investigators Start-up Grants
    • Visiting Fellows
  • Innovation
    • International Collaboration Platform
    • Neuro-Innovation Fund
    • Knowledge Mobilization
  • Infrastructure
    • Technology Development
    • Core Facilities Operations

Anticipated outcomes by 2023

  • “Canadian Framework for Brain Health” launched
  • $84 million in leveraged funds from external sources (1:1)
  • 1,500 high-income jobs
  • 30 spinoff companies and licensing contracts
  • 10% increase of McGill faculty working in related areas
  • 20% increase of McGill students and postdoctoral fellows working in related areas
24-Aug-2016: Representatives from CGI visit the MCIN


During a recent visit to the Neuro, representatives from CGI experienced the Big Brain on their tour of the Ludmer Centre and the MCIN.