Neurosciences

The major goals of this axis are to promote the development of therapeutic approaches to neurological disease through a program of basic and clinical research. Translational research programs, including clinical trials, are being conducted on a range of neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cerebrovascular disease, epilepsy, migraine, brain aneurysms and brain tumours.

The field of neuroscience is rapidly advancing due primarily to the development of new, high resolution brain imaging methods. The McConnell Brain Imaging Centre is a world leader in the development and application of these technologies and is a critical component in many of our clinical research programs. Using state of the art MRI, PET and MEG scanners, innovative imaging approaches are being developed for analysis and treatment of neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

The axis is also enhancing its efforts, and visualization of behavioural and disease related changes in the brain, using the extremely high resolution of confocal microscopy in mice and rats. This cutting-edge technology allows researchers to document changes at individual synapses in animals subjected to learning paradigms or with neurodegenerative disorders.

An important new initiative for the axis has been the initiation of programs in Neuro-Engineering as well as a Regenerative Medicine/Nanotechnology. A team of physicists, chemists, material scientists and neuroscientists are developing innovative artificial substrates for neuronal growth and synapse formation with the goal of restoring function to the damaged nervous system.

The new development of a program of Neuro Palliative Care – the first of its kind in Canada – is also fostering new research and establishing new practices of care for patients dealing with the burden of debilitating and often painful neurodegenerative diseases. Physicians and nurses in the program develop expertise to share with care-givers and colleagues both locally and internationally.