Pictured: cleared mouse brain, presented by Dr. Kwanghun Chung at Neurofutures 2017. Image credit: Dr. Jason Snyder.
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A partnership of the Allen Insitute for Brain Science, Oregon Health & Science University, University of Washington, and the University of British Columbia, NeuroFutures is an annual conference that brings together experts from across the field of neuroscience for a series of stimulating talks and posters highlighting innovations in neuroscience and neurotechnology. The 2017 conference was held at the University of British Columbia.
“We thought we were studying the simplest form of learning,” says Dr. Catharine Rankin. “But it turns out the ‘simplest form of learning’ is not so simple after all.”
The Beautiful Brain is the first North American museum exhibition to present the extraordinary drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852–1934), a Spanish pathologist, histologist and neuroscientist renowned for his discovery of neuron cells and their structure, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1906. Known as the father of modern neuroscience, Cajal was also an exceptional artist. He combined scientific and artistic skills to produce arresting drawings with extraordinary scientific and aesthetic qualities.
The Faculty of Medicine received a total of $31.2 million in the latest round of CFI funding, announced today at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health (DMCBH). The eight projects represent the majority of the 15 grants, totaling $52.2 million, awarded to UBC. Three of these were awarded to DMCBH members.
“Based on data from a survey we produced last year, 80 per cent of Canadian Principal Investigators (PIs) have indicated plans to slow their research programs,” says Dr. Liisa Galea. “They’re worried about how they’re going to support new trainees, and funding is their primary concern.”
To understand how gene mutations affect neurodevelopment and learning in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), PhD candidate Troy McDiarmid is looking at microscopic worms. McDiarmid, a graduate student in Dr. Catharine Rankin’s lab, was recently awarded a Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral Award from the CIHR for his proposal to characterize ASD-associated gene mutations in worm models of the disorder.
The old real estate adage about “location, location, location” might also apply to the biochemical genesis of Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research.
Scientists at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health have identified a couple of crucial steps in the formation a protein called amyloid beta, which accumulates in clumps, or “plaques,” in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Those discoveries inspired efforts at disrupting the biochemical carving of amyloid beta’s precursor protein into its final, toxic shape.
According to Dr. Gary Marcus, world-renowned cognitive neuroscientist, bestselling author, and Founder of Geometric Intelligence, recently acquired by Uber, the future of artificial intelligence (AI) is tied to innovations in neuroscience. As our understanding of the brain evolves over the next decade or more, so will our ability to digitally reverse-engineer the brain.
Pictured: Santiago Ramón y Cajal, injured Purkinje neurons, 1914, ink and pencil on paper. Courtesy of Instituto Cajal (CSIC).