HBHL Midterm Report 2020

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 04-05

FOREWORD

06-11

ABOUT

12-17

HBHL NEW FACULTY RECRUITS

18-30

RESEARCH THEMES

31-33

CORE FACILITIES

34-36

TRAINING

37-39

GLOBAL POSITIONING

40-41

COLLABORATIONS

42-45

NEUROSPHERE

46-49

KNOWLEDGE MOBILIZATION

50

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This report contains the most up-to-date information available as of August 2020


LETTER FROM THE SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR The “big data” analytical approaches of neuroinformatics can reveal the basic mechanisms of brain function, dysfunction and individual variation. Using this approach, Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives (HBHL) researchers work to understand the dynamics of the brain during normal development, aging, learning and plasticity to reveal how the brain functions in health and disease. Building upon existing strengths at McGill and partner institutions, HBHL has created an integrated vision of the brain that combines genetic, imaging and behavioural data within a single analytical framework. To explore this framework, HBHL researchers use advanced computational strategies such as deep learning, network modelling and “connectomics” – the study of systemslevel brain networks. These techniques allow for better investigations of the mechanisms that underlie human brain disorders and work with animal models of brain disease, which provide a unique perspective that isn’t possible through human studies.

Alan Evans, PhD, FRSC HBHL Scientific Director and Research Theme 1 Leader James McGill Professor of Neurology & Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, McGill University Co-director, Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health Victor Dahdaleh Chair in Neurosciences

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Neuroinformatics is central to HBHL’s four research themes. While it is the focus of research theme 1, the general analytical techniques developed in that theme are applied across the three others, which focus on neurodegenerative disorders, brain plasticity and population neuroscience. This underlying theme of neuroinformatics also acts as a natural place to incorporate work from other McGill sectors (such as physics, mathematics and computer science) and industrial partners from pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical technology and big computing. In order to provide for the massive IT resources and infrastructure required by neuroinformatics techniques, HBHL created NeuroHub to act as the initiative’s overarching data and computational platform. At launch, NeuroHub provides a web-based portal allowing users to access high-performance computing and data management systems, securely store and share

research data, and access data from sources such as the UK Biobank. Without the kind of large-scale support provided by HBHL through its CFREF funding, such an initiative would not have been possible. Several international collaborations have also been fostered through HBHL’s International Collaboration Platform, which augment McGill’s leading position in neuroinformatics. One such example is the recentlylaunched Helmholtz International BigBrain Analytics Learning Laboratory (HIBALL) in collaboration with Germany’s Forschungszentrum Jülich. Projects like this one allow McGill researchers to be directly involved in innovative neuroinformatics projects with partners around the world. HBHL has established a unique environment for research into normal and abnormal brain organization at McGill. With partners in Canada and abroad, HBHL is fostering a new level of global integration in basic brain research and evaluation of new disease interventions. It provides a rich multi-disciplinary training environment for future generations of brain-based clinicians and researchers, as well as providing a steady stream of highly qualified personnel for our corporate partners. By incorporating these complementary threads within a single initiative, HBHL occupies a unique position as a global leader in global brain research and clinical translation.


LETTER FROM THE CHAIR OF THE BOARD Since its beginnings in 2016, the strategic investments made through Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives (HBHL) have enhanced McGill’s excellence in neuroscience. Over the past four years, HBHL’s support to more than 100 principal investigators, nine Core Facilities and 194 fellowships has advanced progress towards HBHL’s vision of reducing the burden of psychiatric and neurological illnesses and improving the mental health and quality of life of Canadians. With funding from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), Quebec’s Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI) and the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQS, FRQSC and FRQNT), HBHL invests strategically to support multi-disciplinary, collaborative science that has the potential to advance discovery. Through the Innovative Ideas program, 26 projects have been funded whose novel ideas show potential for breakthrough science. The McGill-Western Collaborative Grants program, which builds on CFREF’s collective investment of $150M in HBHL and Western University’s BrainsCAN, supports seven cross-institutional teams undertaking high-risk, high-gain projects. HBHL has also provided opportunities for McGill to further develop partnerships with other CFREF-funded institutions, including Institut de valorization des données (IVADO) at Université de Montréal, TransMedTech at Polytechnique Montréal and the University of British Columbia’s Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute. HBHL has made considerable commitments to accelerate neuroscience innovation at McGill through our commercialization accelerator, NeuroSphere. The Neuro Commercialization Grants program currently supports 10 McGill investigators in the development and commercialization of neuroscience-related technologies. Aimed at researchers in the biopharmaceutical sector, the Neuro-Partnerships Program has funded 10 projects, all of which have matching funding from the private sector and the Quebec government.

In addition to awarding funding to specific projects, HBHL’s capacity development strategy aims to ensure that our investments leave a sustainable legacy on the landscape of McGill neuroscience. Through the New Recruits Start-Up Supplements program, HBHL has supported the recruitment of 15 new faculty to McGill — which is already noticeably changing how neuroscience research is conducted at the University. In addition, HBHL’s nine funded Core Facilities provide crucial services and equipment to researchers and will continue to do so for years to come. HBHL is also investing in the next generation of neuroscientists through our training program, which offers fellowships as well as innovative professional development and mentorship opportunities. Looking ahead, HBHL’s second phase will build on this foundation to move research into practice and engage with clinicians, educators, patients and policymakers. Our focus will be convergence — building and supporting collaborations across research themes and disciplines, and through multi-sectoral partnerships. This emphasis on convergence aims to build connections between more than just the usual suspects in order to shift paradigms and spark innovation. Multi-sectoral collaborations are also a key factor in the development of the Canadian Framework for Brain Health, which will bring together research from across HBHL and beyond to inform evidence-based policy and practice. HBHL is pleased to share this publication with you, which showcases our work over the past four years to advance computational neuroscience and translational discoveries in brain health at McGill.

Martha Crago, PhD, C.M. Chair of HBHL Board of Directors Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation, McGill University Member of the Order of Canada Member, Mila - Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute Board of Directors

Foreword s

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HEALTHY BRAINS, HEALTHY LIVES

Long-term Outcome Treatments for brain disorders are discovered, which transform terminal or life-long afflictions into treatable or curable conditions

on Research The icati me l p s Ap

Theme 3

Theme 2

Theme 4 Theme 1

Core Research Theme

CORE FACILITIES Support 06

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VISION Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives builds on McGill University's scientific excellence and global leadership in areas of neuroscience that hold great promise for delivering implementable, clinically effective outcomes in brain and mental health. HBHL aims to accelerate translational discoveries and create a global centre of excellence in neuroinformatics at McGill.

Develop Capacity: Invest in people and infrastructure with the aim of supporting existing strengths and fostering the advancement of the next generation of neuroscientists at McGill Advance Discovery: Enable researchers to advance discovery across four themes, each featuring world-class leadership and expert interdisciplinary teams

RESEARCH THEMES Neuroinformatics and Computational Modelling Theme Leader: Alan Evans

Combining big data and neuroscience, HBHL researchers use advanced computational strategies such as deep learning and network modelling to explore the intricacies of the brain. The general analytical techniques developed in this theme are applied across the rest of HBHL’s research efforts."

Mechanistic Models of Neurodegenerative Disorders Theme Leader: Edith Hamel

Exchange Knowledge: Ensure research aims are informed by needs “on the ground” and translate discoveries into policies, educational strategies and improved work environments

Theme Leader: Lesley Fellows

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The brain never stands still! As we master skills, solve problems and adapt to new circumstances, our brains are changing. Understanding the basis of this amazing neuroplasticity may uncover new strategies to improve human performance, protect brain health and optimize function in those living with neurological or psychiatric disorders.”

Population Neuroscience and Brain Health Theme Leader: Michael MacKenzie

HBHL is made possible through support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), Quebec’s Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI), and the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQS, FRQSC and FRQNT).

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Preventing, delaying and treating neurodegenerative diseases is more than ever at the forefront of modern neuroscience. Deciphering common and diseasespecific mechanisms will lead to novel therapeutic avenues.”

Applied Cognitive Neuroscience of Brain Plasticity Accelerate Innovation: Facilitate the pathway from research to the marketplace, individuals, health-care providers and society at large

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Simply by understanding and addressing risk factors, we managed to reduce heart disease by 75%. We’re targeting similar reductions in diseases such as depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and anxiety disorders. We’re building the tools and the knowledge to make it happen.”

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GOVERNANCE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

OVERSIGHT

Chair: Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation, McGill University Vice-Chair: Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-Principal Academic, McGill University Yves Beauchamp, Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance, McGill University Robert Dunlop, Member-At-Large, independent consultant David Eidelman, Dean of Medicine, McGill University Bruce Lennox, Dean of Science, McGill University Antonia Maioni, Dean of Arts, McGill University Lesley Rigg, Vice-President, Research, Western University Jane Roskams, Professor of Neuroscience, University of British Columbia Guy Rouleau, Chair of the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University

MANAGEMENT Scientific Director: Alan Evans

Associate Scientific Director: Doina Precup

Managing Director & CEO: Krystle van Hoof

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GUIDANCE

MANAGEMENT


$91M $84M

Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF)

$3.5M Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ)

$3.5M Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation (MEI)

103

Invest igators

194

Fel l owshi p s

9

Co re fa ci li ti e s

15

New fa culty

Over $48M

700+

Pu bl ic ati ons

in funding awarded Develop Capacity: Advance Discovery: Accelerate Innovation: Exchange Knowledge:

$26M $17.2M $2.9M $2.2M

BY-THE-NUMBERS

H B H L TOTAL FUN DING:

20% increase in

international neuroscience collaborations at McGill Abou t

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HBHL FUNDING PROGRAMS 10

DEVELOP CAPACITY

ADVANCE DISCOVERY

CORE FACILITIES AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM Supports the operations, maintenance, upgrades and expansion of new and existing platforms that facilitate HBHL research, and specialized professionals for development of tools and processes.

DISCOVERY FUND FOR INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH Aims to advance large-scale, strategic and time-critical research undertaken by interdisciplinary teams. 4 PROJECTS FUNDED $6,116,128 Awarded

9 PROJECTS FUNDED $12,230,257 Awarded

INNOVATIVE IDEAS PROGRAM Supports the exploration of novel and innovative ideas with the potential for breakthrough science.

NEW RECRUIT START-UP SUPPLEMENTS PROGRAM Aids McGill faculties in recruiting the best and brightest new researchers from around the world by contributing to start-up grants for new faculty recruits.

26 PROJECTS FUNDED $4,657,103 Awarded

15 RECRUITS FUNDED $4,494,323 Awarded TRAINING PROGRAM Helps McGill to attract, train and retain top students and postdoctoral fellows from across neuroscience-related disciplines and around the world. 194 FELLOWSHIPS FUNDED 7 TRAINING INITIATIVES FUNDED $9,222,051 Awarded

MCGILL-WESTERN COLLABORATION GRANT PROGRAM Designed to address some of the large challenges in brain health across the lifespan via potentially high-risk, high-gain projects focusing on transformational research in neuroscience and neuroinformatics. 7 PROJECTS FUNDED $1,761,560 Awarded INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION PLATFORM Supports projects that demonstrate high potential to build and advance research collaborations with leading institutions known for their high-quality research and global standing. 8 PROJECTS FUNDED $4,630,300 awarded The HIBALL and McGill-Douglas – Max Planck Institute projects also received an additional $3,625,000 from HBHL's Training, Knowledge Mobilization and Core Facility programs.

ACCELERATE INNOVATION

EXCHANGE KNOWLEDGE

NEURO-PARTNERSHIPS PROGRAM Provides matching funds for projects with high potential in the realm of biopharmaceutical research. Collaboration with the Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation (MEI) and the private sector.

KNOWLEDGE MOBILIZATION PROGRAM Funds Knowledge Translation projects aiming to integrate neuroscience research into policy, clinical care and public awareness, and Implementation Science projects promoting the adoption of evidence-based practices, interventions and policies to improve health.

10 PROJECTS FUNDED $2,371,816 Awarded

61 PROJECTS FUNDED $2,061,713 Awarded

NEURO COMMERCIALIZATION GRANTS Accelerates the maturation and commercialization of neuroscience-related technology derived from research conducted at McGill.

VISITING FELLOWS Discontinued as of 2018 (and replaced by the larger-scale International Collaboration Platform program, above), HBHL's Visiting Fellows Program aimed to foster inter-institutional exchanges for internationally recognized researchers.

10 PROJECTS FUNDED $499,114 Awarded

5 PROJECTS FUNDED $90,398 Awarded

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EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION Inclusion of diverse perspectives in all aspects of the research process and equitable distribution of resources are crucial to achieving scientific excellence. Through our EDI initiatives, we aim to build a community where all are able to achieve their potential for success. For a complete list of HBHL EDI actions, please refer to the EDI Action Plan online: mcgill.ca/hbhl/edi

LONG-TERM GOAL Act as a leader in EDI at McGill and beyond

SHORT-TERM GOAL Build an inclusive environment among McGill neuroscience-affiliated faculty, staff and trainees

GOVERNANCE:

Ensuring meaningful inclusion of diverse voices in HBHL decision-making

Actions  Form an EDI Committee  Open calls for vacant roles  Increase transparency

RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION:

Facilitating equitable recruitment and creating a positive climate to promote retention for faculty and staff

Actions  Integrate EDI best practices into HBHL Start-Up Supplements

TRAINING:

Providing accessible professional development for neuroscience trainees and promoting EDI best practices in research training environments

Actions  Share EDI best practices for supervisors

 Mentorship requirement for new recruits

 Organize inclusive training activities

 Networking and visibility for researchers

 Provide EDI and SGBA+ training

DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDING:

RESEARCH CONTENT:

Implement equitable application and selection processes

Considering sex- and gender-based analysis plus (SGBA+) factors in scientific research

Actions

Action

 Wide promotion of funding calls

 Require applicants for HBHL funding to demonstrate integration of SGBA+ in their research

 Excellence levels selection process  Data collection to determine and address barriers

 SGBA+ training modules added as funding eligibility requirement

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HBHL NEW FACULTY RECRUITS HBHL’s New Recruit Start-Up Supplements Program provides supplementary start-up funding to hiring faculties at McGill for the recruitment of new faculty members whose research aligns with HBHL’s scientific priorities. With these funds, hiring faculties can compete with other institutions on a global level to bring the best and brightest to McGill.

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POUYA BASHIVAN Computational modeling of visual perception and working memory in primates RESEARCH AREA:

Computational systems neuroscience HBHL RESEARCH THEME:

Neuroinformatics and Computational Modelling (Theme 1) HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine

My lab seeks to develop computational models and algorithms that can explain, predict and regulate the brain’s neural responses and consequent behaviors during visual tasks, especially ones that require short- and longterm memorization. Our research builds on various tools and theories developed in machine learning, neuroscience and cognitive science.

DANILO BZDOK Studying human-defining cognition in the higher association cortex from a big-data perspective RESEARCH AREA:

Computational neuroscience HBHL RESEARCH THEME:

Neuroinformatics and Computational Modelling (Theme 1) HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Medicine Drawing on a background in medicine, neuroscience and machine learning, my lab will explore, formalize and predict brain phenotypes of hidden population variation. To do this, we will capitalize on different data sources to tackle questions in systems neuroscience in an approach that also paves new ways for computational psychiatry.


XIAOQIAN CHAI Development of memory networks in the human brain RESEARCH AREA:

BRUCE DORÉ Neural mechanisms of effective mental health messaging

MANUELA FERRARI 2.0 mental health services for healthy brains and healthy lives

Plasticity and learning

RESEARCH AREA:

RESEARCH AREA:

Marketing & Social Neuroscience

Digital mental health

HBHL RESEARCH THEMES:

HBHL RESEARCH THEME:

HBHL RESEARCH THEME:

Applied Cognitive Neuroscience of Brain Plasticity (Theme 3), Neuroinformatics and Computational Modelling (Theme 1)

Population Neuroscience and Brain Health (Theme 4)

HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine

My lab’s highly interdisciplinary research program combines brain imaging techniques with novel behavioral and computational methods to investigate memory processes in children. The first five years of the program will focus on outlining the relationship between the maturation of brain networks and memory development in neurotypical children and children with autism. In addition, the program investigating brain abnormalities in children who are at high risk for depression using publicly available datasets.

Desautels Faculty of Management

My lab’s research program aims to identify brain mechanisms engaged by communications that successfully inform people of mental health topics and promote access and use of mental health services. Additionally, we aim to construct computational models that estimate the causal role of brain activity in translating these communications into behavior change. Achieving these goals may advance theory and facilitate the dissemination of more effective messaging across initiatives in brain health and well-being.

Population Neuroscience and Brain Health (Theme 4) HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Department of Psychiatry, Douglas Mental Health University Institute and Faculty of Medicine By enhancing the use of electronic mental health technologies in mental health services, my research program aims to overcome barriers limiting the availability of quality care in the mental health sector. Three areas make up the core of my lab’s program: e-mental health assessment and monitoring, e-treatment and web-based training.

Funding from HBHL has made it possible for us to accomplish our experimental goals, and to recruit and train highly qualified personnel.” - Aparna Suvrathan New Rec ru i t Start- Up S u ppl ements Progra m

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HBHL is helping to transform McGill, and Montreal more broadly, into a global hub for neuroinformatics and machine learning related neuroscience. This will lead to a critical mass that will provide long-term benefits to the Canadian research ecosystem and economy.” - Blake Richards

PHOTO CREDIT Shawn Hayward, The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital)

YASSER ITURRIA-MEDINA The Neuroinformatics for Personalized Medicine Lab RESEARCH AREA:

Computational neuroscience HBHL RESEARCH THEMES: Neuroinformatics

and Computational Modelling (Theme 1), Mechanistic Models of Neurodegenerative Disorders (Theme 2)

HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine This lab aims to define and apply complex brain models to better understand neurological disorders and identify effective personalized treatments for patients. To do this, we combine molecular, neuroimaging and cognitive data using mathematical modeling, which allows us to create brain models based on individuals and populations, which are then validated in different neurodegenerative diseases and real clinical scenarios.

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YUE LI Computational methods to dissect the genetic, transcriptomic and phenotypic complexity of the human brain

MICHAEL MACKENZIE Transactional processes in early trauma and child welfare RESEARCH AREA:

RESEARCH AREA:

Computational neuroscience HBHL RESEARCH THEME:

Neuroinformatics and Computational Modelling (Theme 1) HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY: Computer Science, Faculty of Science

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has enormous potential for early diagnosis of brain diseases; but, because of the high cost of these machines, scans are expensive and access is limited. Using DNA, cellular, molecular, neuroimaging, clinical and behavioural data from hundreds of individuals, we will train a machine learning model to predict what an individual’s MRI scan and brain-specific gene expression would look like given only their DNA sample. An individual’s risk of brain disease can then be predicted from this information.

Social neuroscience HBHL RESEARCH THEME:

Population Neuroscience and Brain Health (Theme 4) HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Social Work, Faculty of Arts

My research program seeks to inform both our understanding of normative development and barriers to well-being and mental health for more vulnerable populations of children. My work combines efforts to clarify how children experience adversity and instability with a focus on using basic developmental research to design and test more effective interventions. The program is pursued in partnership with governmental child welfare agencies in Canada and the United States, as well as provider agencies offering a range of services from inhome support to out-of-home placement.


ROMINA MIZRAHI Molecular imaging young brains RESEARCH AREA:

Molecular imaging young brains HBHL RESEARCH THEMES:

Applied Cognitive Neuroscience of Brain Plasticity (Theme 3), Population Neuroscience and Brain Health (Theme 4) HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Department of Psychiatry, Douglas Mental Health University Institute My lab will build a program for accelerating translation of preclinical and postmortem research into innovative treatments for young people in Canada. Specifically, I propose the development of a Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences, which will aim to develop a recruitment core and clinical research infrastructure integrated into the Douglas for translational research activities, establish a new neuroimaging PET infrastructure, establish a new clinical trial unit, and support trainees through the development of a mentoring program.

JEAN-BAPTISTE POLINE Methodological aspects of neuroimaging and imaging genetics, reproducibility and neuroinformatics

JEAN-FRANCOIS POULIN Mapping dopamine neuronal circuits in health and disease RESEARCH AREA:

RESEARCH AREA:

Neuroinformatics HBHL RESEARCH THEMES:

Neuroinformatics and Computational Modelling (Theme 1), Population Neuroscience and Brain Health (Theme 4) HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine

My lab research program works to better understand brain systems and their relation to causes of brain disease. To do this, we develop statistical and machine learning methods and tools to analyze neuroimaging and genetics data in relation to demographic, behavioural or clinical variables using large databases, such as the UK BioBank. We also produce and encourage open science in the fields of neuroimaging and imaging genetics, and develop neuroinformatics tools to equip neuroscientists with the necessary infrastructure to work with data more easily.

Cellular and tissue models HBHL RESEARCH THEMES:

Mechanistic Models of Neurodegenerative Disorders (Theme 2), Neuroinformatics and Computational Modelling (Theme 1) HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine

My lab has developed novel transgenic approaches to demonstrate that different subtypes of dopamine neurons display distinct axonal projections, and has also shown that one particular subtype is more vulnerable to Parkinson’s disease. These findings strongly suggest that each subtype is potentially associated with a specific circuit, function and/or disease. Our future research aims to investigate how dopamine circuits are altered in transgenic mouse models of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.

HBHL funding was essential for setting up my research lab in a timely and solid way. For an emerging young PI like me, the first years of running a lab are crucial, and the generous support from HBHL provided a critical boost.� - Danilo Bzdok New Rec ru i t Start- Up S u ppl ements Program

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RACHEL RABIN Neural correlates of social cognitive deficits in schizophrenia patients with and without cannabis use RESEARCH AREA:

BLAKE RICHARDS Towards general principles of intelligence RESEARCH AREA:

Computational neuroscience

Addictions

HBHL RESEARCH THEME:

HBHL RESEARCH THEMES:

Neuroinformatics and Computational Modelling (Theme 1)

Applied Cognitive Neuroscience of Brain Plasticity (Theme 3), Population Neuroscience and Brain Health (Theme 4) HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Department of Psychiatry, Douglas Mental Health University Institute To examine the effects of chronic cannabis use on social cognition and underlying brain structure, my lab compares social cognitive performance in cannabis-using patients with schizophrenia and non-cannabis using patients with matched controls. Brain imaging scans are also completed to assess brain health in regions with high concentrations of cannabinoid receptors that also facilitate social processing. Findings from this study will highlight factors that contribute to social dysfunction and help identify therapeutic targets to improve treatments for individuals suffering from schizophrenia and/or cannabis addiction.

HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine My research program’s central goal is to understand the general principles of intelligence and learn how those apply to both natural and artificial agents (i.e. humans and machines). This research program is cyclical, as we first use experimental data on learning in human neural circuits to inform the design of new machine learning systems. In turn, we use machine learning to help us analyze and understand learning algorithms in the real brain. The program’s long-term goal is to map neural circuit functions to behaviour and cognition.

As a young investigator, this grant has provided me with initial funds to start a unique study, collect pilot data and receive visibility within the scientific community.” - Rachel Rabin 16

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APARNA SUVRATHAN The cerebellum in health and disease: From synapses to behavior RESEARCH AREA:

Plasticity and learning HBHL RESEARCH THEMES:

Applied Cognitive Neuroscience of Brain Plasticity (Theme 3), Population Neuroscience and Brain Health (Theme 4) HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine

My lab aims to identify how brain plasticity at the synaptic, cellular and circuit levels results in learned behavior. We can bridge these levels of analysis by investigating the cerebellum, which is critical for a range of functions. We use electrophysiology, imaging, behavioral analysis and molecular-genetic tools in rodents to understand learning in the normal brain. Using this framework, we then determine how cerebellar function may be different in autism spectrum disorders. As a result, our research will lead to new insight that is necessary for reducing the devasting effects of autism spectrum disorders and disorders of brain plasticity.


YANG ZHOU Genetic dissections of neurological disorders RESEARCH AREA:

Animal models

HBHL RESEARCH THEME:

Mechanistic Models of Neurodegenerative Disorders (Theme 2) HIRING DEPARTMENT AND FACULTY:

Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine

My lab is developing and applying technologies to engineer genetic mutations associated with neurological disorders in order to better understand how these mutations impact the neural circuits and behavior in model organisms. This research will identify causes of disease and allow the testing of genetic-based therapeutic approaches, as well as investigations into how genetic disturbances of neural circuits influence learning and cognition.

New Rec ru i t Start- Up S u ppl ements Program

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RESEARCH THEME 1 Neuroinformatics and Computational Modelling The central principle of neuroinformatics is to combine various kinds of information (such as imaging, genetic, clinical and biospecimen data) within “big data” analytical strategies that can be applied to diverse scientific questions. These strategies may involve more traditional multivariate statistical approaches, as well as graph theoretical or agent-based models of network organization and different forms of machine learning. One example involves “connectomics,” the study of whole-brain networks. Such concepts, and their relationship to clinical metrics, are increasingly important in psychiatry, neurology and cognitive neuroscience. As a result, HBHL Research Theme 1 is the crosscutting methodological theme that develops the advanced analytic tools to be employed in HBHL’s other research themes. The big data analytical strategies used in Theme 1 demand extraordinary IT resources — HBHL’s NeuroHub was specifically created in order to provide advanced technologies for web-based data management and highperformance computing. Recently launched, NeuroHub will continue to grow over the coming years to increasingly better serve users in the McGill community and abroad. As part of HBHL’s New Recruit Start-Up Supplements program, Theme 1 also hosts brilliant young data scientists who investigate the theme’s network-based concepts.

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These individuals have already made a considerable impact on McGill neuroscience, and we look forward to seeing their continued contributions to the HBHL community. In addition to offering a unifying link within HBHL, Theme 1 is the natural home for the incorporation of other McGill sectors, such as physics, mathematics and computer science, and industrial partners from pharma, biotech, medical technology and big computing. In a recent example of such a collaboration, McGill and Dell EMC are working together on the evaluation of state-of-the-art hardware for machine learning approaches in brain research. Through these conceptual, analytical and technological advances, HBHL has become a global hub for big data brain research and dissemination of brain data through Open Science, as well as for evaluating new therapeutic interventions customized to individual patients.

Alan Evans

Research Theme 1 Leader


PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS Discovery Fund for Interdisciplinary Research INTEGRATIVE ANALYTICS FOR MULTI-MODAL, MULTI-SCALE NEUROSCIENCE PI: Bratislav Misic Co-PIs: Alan Evans, Celia Greenwood, Jean-Baptiste Poline, Doina Precup HBHL FUNDING: $1,500,000

The project’s goal is to create novel analytic strategies that take advantage of genetics, multimodal imaging and behaviour to understand and predict healthy and pathological trajectories in individuals. To do so, the project integrates existing analytics for a multifactorial characterization of brain function and dysfunction. The assembled team, comprised of experts in network science, dynamical systems, statistics, machine learning and neuroinformatics, will develop an analytic framework for multi-domain data. The team will also leverage strategic collaborations with other HBHL research themes to create tools for studying neurodegeneration, neurodevelopment and learning. Despite only being in effect for two years, the team has been able to mobilize quickly and branch out to the other HBHL themes. The group is set to take a wider leadership role in Montreal for integrating local neuroscience and AI expertise through the Fonds de recherche de Québec – Nature Technologies (FRQNT) UNIQUE cluster. The extensive involvement of Theme 1 PIs in organizations in the global neuroscience community such as Resting State, the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility and the Organization for Human Brain Mapping will further facilitate dissemination and exposure for the HBHL mission.

HBHL has been a key catalyst for our team, helping us to attempt a more ambitious, ‘big-picture’ project than we normally could with more focused Tri-Council funding.” - Bratislav Misic

Innovative Ideas Program MARMOSET MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING PLATFORM PI: Christine Tardif Co-PIs: Louis Collins, Philippe Huot, David Rudko HBHL FUNDING: $169,997

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an essential tool to study the impact of changes at the genetic, cellular and molecular level on the macroscopic structure, connectivity and function of the marmoset brain. This project developed MRI techniques for in vivo anesthetized marmoset imaging using the human 3-Tesla scanner at the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre. The setup includes a new marmoset-dedicated 16-channel head coil to enhance imaging sensitivity, resolution and efficiency. We optimized several acquisition protocols and image analysis pipelines to create a multi-modal marmoset brain atlas.

Given that McGill is one of the institutions in the world with the largest marmoset colony, this grant will help set us at the forefront of marmoset research and make significant contributions to our understanding of the human brain.” - Christine Tardif

Res earc h T h emes

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PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS Innovative Ideas Program DEEP LEARNING APPROACHES FOR NEUROIMAGING PI: Alan Evans Co-PI: Yoshua Bengio (Université de Montréal) HBHL FUNDING: $161,500

This project aimed to develop deep learning architectures for the analysis of large-scale neuroimaging data, specifically the BigBrain 3D dataset. Our approach was broken down into three specific objectives: segmenting cortical layers, segmentation of cortical areas and developing convolutional networks for analysis of cortical meshes. The BigBrain 3D dataset, which resulted from a long-term collaboration between the Evans laboratory at McGill and the laboratory of Katrin Amunts in Jülich, Germany, remains the world’s highest 3D resolution digital atlas of the human brain.

The work in this project was a major factor in our successful grant proposal to Germany’s Helmholtz Foundation to set up the Helmholtz International BigBrain Analytics and Learning Laboratory (HIBALL), a new initiative between McGill and Jülich.” - Alan Evans

McGill-Western Collaboration Grant Program MULTI-SCALE ANALYSIS OF STRUCTURE/FUNCTION RELATIONSHIPS IN TEMPORAL-LOBE EPILEPSY PIs: Ingrid Johnsrude (Western). Neda Ladbon-Bernasconi (McGill) TEAM: Andrea Bernasconi (McGill); Jorge Burneo, Ali Khan, Terry Peters, David Steven (Western) FUNDING RECEIVED: HBHL: $53,400, BRAINSCAN: $46,400

Epilepsy is a severe neurological condition affecting 50 million people worldwide. Uncontrolled epilepsy has devastating socio-economic consequences and is associated with risk of sudden death. Drug-resistant epilepsy can be cured, given the lesion causing seizures is found via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and removed surgically — an effective treatment in most patients. For reasons yet to be determined, seizures may relapse in some patients, while others may experience cognitive impairments that were not evident, or milder, pre-operatively. This collaborative project aims to develop objective predictors of seizure and cognitive outcomes by combining MRIbased markers of structure and function with behavioral testing. 20

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Ingrid Johnsrude

Neda Ladbon-Bernasconi


RESEARCH THEME 2 Mechanistic Models of Neurodegenerative Disorders This theme’s main goal is to develop research programs to better understand, detect, diagnose, measure, model and treat human neurodegenerative diseases. A multifaceted platform was created through HBHL’s Discovery Fund for Interdisciplinary Research to understand how some abnormal proteins can travel between neurons in different parts of the brain and lead to the degeneration of specific neuronal populations, with an emphasis on Parkinson’s disease (PD). A unique approach based on different PD genetic mutation-derived small brain organoids was developed, with the capacity to assess many PD mutations and understand the mechanisms of protein misfolding, propagation and regulation. PD-animal model and human brain imaging protocols, data processing and computational models of protein propagation are being developed and tested. Together, these efforts will lead to an unprecedented ability to test brain regional vulnerability and decipher the effects of specific genes or therapy on disease progression. HBHL-funded Innovative Ideas projects aim to improve the lifespan of brain organoids, understand the relationship between infection and PD, build a high-resolution atlas of brain regions vulnerable to PD and test how propagation of misfolded proteins is regulated in other neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Other projects investigate whether functional brain imaging can capture AD initiation, progression and response to therapy, demyelination processes in multiple sclerosis, cell resilience in neurological diseases, and new genomic and metabolomic tools for psychiatric patients. Through HBHL’s New Recruit Start-Up Supplements Program, two new McGill faculty members were hired to investigate neuronal vulnerability and develop new animal models to dissect molecular, cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying brain disorders. McGill-Western collaborative grants examine neuronal networks in vivo through miniscopes, the role of mid-life stress in AD, or develop a new primate model of AD. Finally, a Neuro-Partnership Program project investigates whether a simple scan of the retina can predict the brain amyloid pathology in AD, and two HBHL-funded projects resulted in the development or support of spin-off companies.

Edith Hamel

Research Theme 2 Leader

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PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS Discovery Fund for Interdisciplinary Research A PLATFORM FOR BIOCOMPUTATIONAL MODELS OF NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASE PI: Alain Dagher Co-PIs: Mallar Chakravarty, Louis Collins, Thomas Durcan, Edward Fon, Ziv Gan-Or, Peter McPherson, Ronald Postuma HBHL FUNDING: $1,499,430

Some of the most common and most devastating neurological illnesses are neurodegenerative, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. A recent paradigm shift in our understanding of the neurodegenerative process implicates the spreading of toxic misfolded proteins. Normal proteins become misfolded and chemically modified, at which point they acquire three properties: the ability to spread from neuron to neuron, toxicity, and the ability to induce further misfolding, thus perpetuating the cell death cascade. However, the model remains controversial.

Alain Dagher

This project aims to test mechanisms of protein propagation and misfolding, generate and share large quantities of well-characterized data from patients with PD and prodromal conditions, and develop computational models of protein propagation. Funding from HBHL has helped to establish a multidisciplinary platform for the study of PD, as well as other neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases characterized by propagation of toxicity along the brain’s connectome. The project’s singular focus on PD from very varied standpoints allows progress to diffuse back and forth along these different levels of investigation. For example, discoveries from genetics and pluripotent stem cell preparations are influencing computational models and animal experiments.

Innovative Ideas DEVELOPING VASCULARIZED BRAIN ORGANOIDS ON CHIP FOR HIGH THROUGHPUT SCREENING

Through this project, we developed a deep learning method based on artificial intelligence for the analysis of oligodendrocyte morphology and myelin. Our published paper in the Nature open access publication Communications Biology (Xu et al 2019) was highlighted for the two-year anniversary collection of the editor’s favorite publications.” - Timothy Kennedy

PI: Timothy Kennedy Co-PIs: Christopher Barrett, David Juncker HBHL FUNDING: $170,000

The project team is developing an innovative tissue engineering approach to investigate the mechanisms underlying human neurodegenerative disease. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) can be grown to form neural organoids (mini-brains). The capacity for neural tissue from individual patients to be grown in the lab has tremendous potential for a variety of applications. The team is testing stable polymer biomaterials to increase organoid reproducibility, as well as engineering a 3D microfluidic chip to increase organoid size and better model the multi-cellular complexity of the human brain. 22 1

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Timothy Kennedy


Innovative Ideas

McGill-Western Collaborative Grant Program

IN VIVO CHOLINERGIC MARKERS OF PRECLINICAL ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE PROGRESSION

INTEGRATING BEHAVIOURAL, IMAGING AND TRANSCRIPTIONAL PROFILING TO DISCOVER THE IMPACT OF MIDLIFE STRESS IN ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

PI: Nathan Spreng

PROJECT TEAM: Rosemary Bagot, Claudia Kleinman, Sylvain Williams (McGill); Flavio Beraldo (Western)

Co-PIs: Pierre Bellec, John Breitner, Judes Poirier,

FUNDING RECEIVED: HBHL: $422,200, BRAINSCAN: $135,700

Pedro Rosa-Neto, Jean-Paul Soucy, Sylvia Villeneuve HBHL FUNDING: $169,952

This project seeks the first definitive evidence for cortical cholinergic denervation as a mechanistic model of early Alzheimer's disease (AD) progression. To do this, the team uses neuroimaging methods to track cell-type specific degeneration of the cholinergic system in humans at the earliest stages of AD. Also, the team investigates the pattern of cortical cholinergic denervation and maps it to cognitive function in pre-symptomatic AD. In a cohort of participants who are asymptomatic but at elevated risk for AD, the team acquires neuroimaging markers of brain structure and function, cholinergic system function and cognition.

PIs: Tim Bussey (Western), Mallar Chakravarty (McGill)

The search for treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s disease may be hampered by testing in animal models and limited measurements that translate well between animal models and clinical populations. To this end, this project leverages two cutting-edge technologies that can be used in both animal models and humans—magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and touchscreen-based technologies for cognitive testing. This project aims to develop a platform to examine changes in brain circuits using MRI and accurate readouts of cognitive behaviours by training mice models of Alzheimer’s disease to perform tasks on the Bussey-Saksida touchscreen.

This high-risk, high-reward project will be on the leading edge with respect to preclinical neuroscience, and our fMRI preprocessing tools are quickly becoming the ‘standard’ for the community.” - Mallar Chakravarty

At the time of submission, my team and I had a theoretical model of Alzheimer's disease progression, and a proposed approach to test it. With HBHL support, only two years later, we now have a comprehensive and advanced dataset, one that is unmatched in scope and precision, to rigorously test our predictions.” - Nathan Spreng Tim Bussey

Mallar Chakravarty Res ea rc h T h emes

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RESEARCH THEME 3 Applied Cognitive Neuroscience of Brain Plasticity How do the billions of cells that make up the brain, through the signals they send between them, yield memories, feelings, thoughts and actions? HBHL Research Theme 3 focuses on understanding how the brain is changed by experience, across the lifespan from childhood to old age. HBHL is bringing together diverse scientists who tackle this complex question from many perspectives. We are discovering how to harness the natural plasticity of the human brain to offset neurodevelopmental challenges, optimize learning and performance, bolster mental health, and protect against or reverse the impacts of age-related threats to brain health. How do genetic and neurobiological variations shape brain function across our lives? How does sleep affect learning and memory? Can non-invasive brain stimulation enhance recovery from stroke or offset the impact of aging or chronic diseases on cognition? Can subtle changes in speech serve as an early warning of neurodegeneration? Are there better ways to “train the brain� to respond to such early warnings, protecting or improving hearing, vision, walking or memory in older people? HBHL support for discovery research, platforms, trainees, new investigators and partnerships with industry has led to progress on all these questions. Thanks to HBHL, fundamental researchers have developed new links with clinicians, paving the way for more effective translational work. Animal models of memory and plasticity are being developed with direct relevance to human health. Patients are becoming partners in research, helping to make training and other interventions more feasible and engaging, and therefore more effective. The sheer variety and creativity of the work to date speaks to the broad potential for harnessing brain plasticity to improve health. The groundwork laid with HBHL’s support to date will yield new knowledge and tools with direct application in the short-term and has set in motion novel translational research directions and interdisciplinary collaborations that will continue to bear fruit for many years to come.

Lesley Fellows

Research Theme 3 Leader

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PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS Discovery Fund for Interdisciplinary Research BRAIN PLASTICITY MEDIATING IMPROVED MEMORIES THROUGH ONLINE AND OFFLINE STIMULATION METHODS IN HEALTHY ADULTS AND PATIENTS

UNDERSTANDING RESILIENCE AND DISEASE BY USING LANGUAGE AND THE BRAIN TO PREDICT INDIVIDUAL OUTCOMES PI: Denise Klein Co-PIs: Shari Baum, Michael Petrides

PI: Julian Doyon Co-PIs: Sylvain Baillet, Julie Carrier, Mallar Chakravarty, Lesley Fellows,

Adrian Owen, Madeleine Sharp, Étienne de Villers Sidani, Robert Zatorre HBHL FUNDING: $1,499,850

Memories are a fundamental part of our identity, as they guide our behaviour in everyday activities. Many studies using a large variety of neuroscience methods have been carried out in order to understand how memories are formed, to develop ways to enhance memories in healthy adults, and to remediate memory functions in neurological patients. The main goal of this project is to investigate the effects of sleep and cuttingedge non-invasive brain simulation methods through markers of behavioural, functional and structural changes in the brain. The project will also investigate new pharmacological manipulations and cognitive training on three fundamentally different memory types: working, procedural or declarative memory. By conducting studies in humans (including healthy individuals, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder and Parkinson’s disease patients) and in rodents, we seek to understand the plasticity-related mechanisms underpinning these memory types at different levels of granularity.

Julian Doyon

Innovative Ideas Program

The custom hardware and software solutions resulting from this research program sit at the cutting edge of worldwide neuroscience research in the areas of sleep and memory. Specifically, the project has investigated non-invasive brain stimulation technology for targeted memory reactivation during sleep, combined with a multimodal neuroimaging an interdisciplinary approach involving human and animal models.

HBHL FUNDING: $170,000

Near-imperceptible signs of speech problems could be signs for neurological disease long before the disease manifests itself. This project aims to link subtle changes in speech with changes in specific brain circuits measured with diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and resting state connectivity. Computational techniques are also used to analyze speech patterns agnostic to the disease, and this data will then be linked with already existing biobanks of information on patients with neurological disease. This would allow for earlier disease diagnosis and intervention, with the potential to reduce the human and socio-economic burden of neurological illnesses.

Better characterization of the brain’s language pathways and their links to subtle aspects of language processing will set the stage to explore language in neurodegenerative disorders and in language development in conditions such as autism. This work has helped to add expertise in a domain that was underrepresented at McGill.” - Denise Klein Denise Klein

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PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS Innovative Ideas Program DOES ADULT HIPPOCAMPAL NEUROGENESIS OCCUR IN THE HUMAN BRAIN? PI: Naguib Mechawar

ESTABLISHING NEUROPHYSIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE TREATMENT OF BRAIN INJURY IN INTENSIVE CARE UNITS

Co-PI: Gustavo Turecki

PIs: Stefanie Blain-Moraes (McGill), Adrian Owen (Western)

HBHL FUNDING: $200,000

PROJECT TEAM: Mohamed Badawy, Justin Letourneau (MNI); Marat Slessarev (Victoria Hospital); Teneille Gofton (University Hospital)

The objective of this research project is to determine whether adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) occurs in the human brain, as its occurrence in humans remains controversial. We propose to use a combination of cutting-edge approaches (including snucRNAseq, neuroinformatics and RNAscope) to assess the presence or absence of stem cells and immature neurons in well-characterized post-mortem hippocampal samples from healthy adolescents and adults. This project will generate a substantial amount of original data that should strongly influence future research directions and public funding allocations in the field.

FUNDING RECEIVED: HBHL: $180,000, BrainsCAN: $180,000

Naguib Mechawar

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McGill-Western Collaboration Grant Program

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This project aims to develop a point-of-care system to accurately predict outcomes of unresponsive patients with brain injuries in the ICU. This system will combine advanced techniques in electroencephalogram (EEG) network analysis with online, patient-accessible cognitive tests for long-term assessment of cognitive function in ICU survivors. In addition to providing support for clinical decision-making, this study has the potential to transform our understanding of the brain mechanisms underlying consciousness and cognition by identifying the key networks and circuits associated with their recovery.

Stefanie Blain-Moraes


RESEARCH THEME 4 Population Neuroscience and Brain Health Why do some people thrive while others have mental illness? Brain health emerges through constant transactions between gene networks and environmental influences, which operate over time to shape neural circuitry. A clear understanding of brain health on an individual level requires that studies occur within a framework that includes cultural influences and context. HBHL Research Theme 4 was built on applying this transactional framework to identify the basic mechanisms of vulnerability, resilience and responsiveness to environments and treatments. Informed by the clarification of the interplay between culture and context, we will be better positioned to move forward the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness to improve brain health in the general public. The implementation of Theme 4 has been marked by a breadth of lines of inquiry supported through the full array of HBHL’s funding programs. This includes one large set of four projects, Translational Neuroscience and Canadian Society, supported through HBHL’s Discovery Fund for Interdisciplinary Research. This theme has also seen the successful funding and launch of five projects as part of the Innovative Ideas program, which support the exploration of novel and innovative high-risk ideas with potential for breakthrough science. As part of HBHL’s efforts to attract scientists, Theme 4 has been successful in assisting in the start-up of two new recruits to the McGill neuroscience community.

Researchers in the theme have also been very active in HBHL’s larger mission to mobilize emerging basic knowledge into translation activities for policy, clinical care and public awareness. To date, 22 Knowledge Mobilization projects have been funded within Theme 4, including more recently funded work focused on implementation science efforts to build the foundation for evidence-based practice. After the launch and support of these individual projects, Theme 4 is at a transitional point. Ultimately, the theme is working towards the integration of knowledge within the theme and assuming a leadership role in cross-theme translation of basic neuroscience into clinical, programming and policy implications. The theme’s leadership role in building the basis of the Canadian Framework for Brain Health will be focused on pulling together lessons learned from across all four thematic areas of HBHL. As a result, the Framework will be focused on a comprehensive set of best practices, guidelines and recommendations that encompass clinical, educational, workplace and community settings. Through harnessing the basic science in partnership with community members, policymakers and practitioners, the Framework will connect across domains of brain health.

Michael MacKenzie Research Theme 4 Leader

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PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS CREATING ETHICAL SPACE FOR FIRST NATIONS-LED NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH Co-PI: Laurence Kirmayer

Discovery Fund for Interdisciplinary Research TRANSLATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE AND CANADIAN SOCIETY

Laurence Kirmayer

This project aims to develop a research training curriculum for First Nations peoples that teaches about the Western science and Indigenous knowledge related to human biology and health. The initiative also seeks to build ethical space and capacity for First Nations communities to lead their own biological research. The project is led by Indigenous researchers, scholars and community members.

BRAIN HEALTH AND FUNCTION IN WORKPLACE AND EDUCATION ENVIRONMENTS Co-PI: Sonia Lupien

Sonia Lupien

This project aims to compare the levels of burnout, other stress-related mental health disorders and stress biomarkers during the last year of university and at the time of transition into the workplace in young adults studying in high- versus low-level occupational sectors. The effectiveness of the Stress Inc© program to prevent emergence of workplace mental health problems at the time of transition towards the workforce will also be assessed.

INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL MOBILITY ON MENTAL HEALTH, MENTAL DISORDERS AND COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING

LEAD PI: Michael MacKenzie HBHL FUNDING: $1,499,270

Co-PI: Xiangfei Meng

The Theme 4 Discovery Grant is divided into

Xiangfei Meng

four distinct projects,

THE MONTREAL ANTENATAL WELL-BEING STUDY

each with their own coprincipal investigator.

Co-PI: Kieran O’Donnell

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By integrating social sciences with basic science, psychosocial epidemiology and population health, the overarching goal of this project is to analyze the intergenerational transmission of parental socioeconomic status in offspring’s mental health, disorders and cognitive functioning, and dissect roles of genetic and psychosocial characteristics.

The Montreal Antenatal Well-Being Study integrates individual-level measures of biology, psychology and social experiences to better identify pregnant women at risk of adverse mental health outcomes. In parallel, the project has partnered with a large randomized controlled trial in order to examine the genomic contribution to individual differences in treatment response to an evidence-based intervention designed to improve maternal perinatal mental health.


Innovative Ideas Program WHEN GENDER MATTERS: DIFFERENTIAL EFFECTS OF PRENATAL ADVERSITY ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF ADHD AND RELATED NEUROCOGNITIVE DEFICITS PI: Ashley Wazana Co-PIs: Celia Greenwood, J. Bruce Morton, Tim Oberlander HBHL FUNDING: $169,575

Through this project, the team examines how sex-dimorphic, prenatal programming, maternal mood, parenting and genetic risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) interact and are manifested from childhood through early adulthood. The team evaluates the multiple modal differences in children by looking at the severity of a multi-level construct of ADHD. In order to do so, the team collaborates with multidisciplinary specialists, including researchers at BrainCAN at Western. Additionally, an international consortium of comparable prenatal cohorts is being created and harmonized in order to test a multi-site model predicting the development of psychopathology from its prenatal origins.

Innovative Ideas Program A PERSONALIZED APPROACH TO DEPRESSION CARE: DISCOVERING ADAPTIVE TREATMENT STRATEGIES PI: Erica Moodie Co-PIs: Christel Renoux, Samy Suissa HBHL FUNDING: $131,695

Our findings should inform and support prenatal and maternal care guidelines, policies, intervention and prevention programs by identifying risk factors and targets of prevention and early interventions.� - Ashley Wazana

Ashley Wazana

People living with depression and their physicians are often faced with many treatment choices and little guidance to help them choose the best treatment strategy for their needs. This research project proposed to use electronic health records to discover adaptive treatment strategies that tailor sequential treatment decisions to patient characteristics such as symptom patterns, co-occurring conditions and response to prior treatments. The project has led to collaborative work with the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) and to the foundation for a US National Institute of Mental Health R01 grant.

Erica Moodie

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PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS Innovative Ideas Program ASSOCIATING WHOLE GENOME RARE VARIANTS WITH BRAIN STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION PI: Celia Greenwood Co-PIs: Mallar Chakravarty, Sebastien Jacquemont HBHL FUNDING: $200,000

Standard medical diagnostic practices identify harmful genetic mutations in 10-30% of children referred to neurodevelopmental and child psychiatry clinics. Although it is generally known that these mutations are harmful, the mechanisms by which they confer risk or alter development are unknown. This study aims to link gene activity—such as gene expression and transcription—to the brain architecture to better understand these mutations and their effects.

HBHL has helped to develop unique expertise in the analysis of rare genomic variants and neuroimaging. In the next few years, McGill will become among the leading institutions in neuroimaging genetics.” - Celia Greenwood

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CORE FACILITIES McGill Brain Health Outcomes Platform (BHOP) PIs: Lesley Fellows, Nancy Mayo HBHL FUNDING: $337,000 PI: Jean-Baptiste Poline NeuroHub Director: Bryan Caron HBHL FUNDING: $3,159,000

Functioning as the overarching data and computational platform for HBHL, NeuroHub provides the scientific community with tools for efficient, collaborative and reproducible science across disciplines. This open neuroinformatics platform advances McGill’s efforts to become a global centre of excellence in data science research by including traditional datasets like neuroimaging and genomics, as well as cohort and longitudinal data studies, behavioural studies, sociology and population data, and soft data extracted from existing publications. NeuroHub's ecosystem allows researchers to: Access computational facilities for small- and large-scale computational workflows, with the results imported back into NeuroHub Securely store and share multi-modal and multi-disciplinary research data Access data for the development of machine learning algorithms Access raw and pre-processed data from the UK Biobank Future updates will introduce access to datasets from the Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform, improved dataset metadata documentation, interoperability with other platforms, tools to publish research objects and more.

BHOP aims to create patient-centered assessments applicable across many brain health conditions. This online platform enables researchers to monitor study participants and generate research-quality longitudinal data, and features online cognitive tests and an electronic consent process. Highlights: First academic application of an online capacity to consent questionnaire in Canada

McGill-Mouse-Miniscope Project (M3) PIS: Mark Brandon, Keith Murai, Stefano Stifani and Sylvain Williams (M3); Jim Gourdon (CMARC) HBHL FUNDING: $2,020,000

The mission of M3, which includes the McGill Comparative Medicine & Animal Resources Centre (CMARC), is to develop new expertise and technologies that bridge research findings between mice and humans. The platform is continually testing novel approaches to decode brain and circuit function. Highlights: Operation of 12 touchscreen/miniscope chambers for mice at the Douglas Research Centre Served 22 users from 17 research groups at McGill and affiliated institutions

Core Fac i l i ti es

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Douglas Brain Imaging Centre PI: Natasha Rajah HBHL FUNDING: $1,449,584

The Douglas Brain Imaging Centre aims to establish the Mental Health Imaging in Neuroscience Database (MHIND) to store an archive of neuroimaging and biobehavioral metadata that will allow researchers to understand the natural history of mental illness across an individual’s lifespan. Highlights: PHOTO CREDIT Anthony Revoy, Neuro Media Services, The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital)

Montreal Neurological Institute Early Drug Discovery Unit (EDDU) PI: Thomas Durcan, Edward Fon HBHL FUNDING: $1,330,000

The EDDU trains the next generation of researchers on stem cells, translates fundamental research and technology into industry-standard assays and works towards identifying new treatments for neurological disorders. Highlights: Improved existing training programs, developed comprehensive training program with STEMCELL Technologies and dedicated iPSC seminar series User base now includes over 180 users and 10 industrial partners

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3-tesla Siemens magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine updated to the latest Prisma-Fit technology Supported 88 peer-reviewed publications, 51 conference presentations, 14 invited talks and one patent

PHOTO CREDIT Axel Mathieu

McConnell Brain Imaging Centre PI: Julien Doyon HBHL FUNDING:: $1,500,000

The McConnell Brain Imaging Centre is recognized internationally for its advances in the acquisition and analysis of multimodal imaging data, as well as its discoveries related to mechanisms of the healthy and diseased brain. Highlights: Supported 396 peer-reviewed publications since 2018 Served 83 research groups from McGill, affiliated hospitals and other academic institutions


Douglas-Bell Canada Brain Bank (DBCBB) PIs: Naguib Mechawar, Gustavo Turecki HBHL FUNDING: $1,152,673

The DBCBB allows for unique discoveries on the human brain. Currently housing over 3,500 brains from people with diverse psychiatric and neurological disorders, along with tissue from healthy individuals, the DBCBB also features a database containing demographic, clinical and developmental histories from the donors. Highlights: Served 58 labs from McGill, affiliated institutions and industrial organizations

McGill Cognitive Neuroscience Research Registry (MCNRR) PI: Lesley Fellows HBHL FUNDING: $282,000

The MCNRR aims to identify and characterize patients with focal brain injuries who are willing to participate in focal lesion research, and coordinate their recruitment for projects carried out by McGill-affiliated researchers. The MCNRR also includes healthy participants to provide access to similarly characterized groups for comparison. Highlights: Recruitment of over 50 new healthy participants and 29 participants completed MRI Served 6 labs from McGill, affiliates, and other academic institutions

Montreal Neuro 7-Tesla MRI Facility (Radio Frequency Coil Lab) PI: Richard Hoge HBHL FUNDING: $500,000

This facility enables specialized radio frequency probes to be built for use in the Montreal Neurological Institute’s whole-body 7-telsa magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. These probes allow the MRI scanner to be used in different patient populations, experimental animal models and for the detection of different biochemical markers in neural tissues. The lab also offers training opportunities for trainees and has proven crucial to the development of new MRI technologies for the study of brain disease and mental health. Highlights: Features first whole-body 7-telsa MRI scanner to be installed in Canada Served over 10 research groups

Core Fac i l i ti es

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Over $5M

awarded for

FELLOWSHIPS FELLOWSHIPS FUNDED: 62 Master’s 110 PhD 22 postdoctoral TRAINING ACTIVITIES

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TRAINING Fellowships HBHL’s Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellowships Programs help McGill to attract, train and retain top students from across neuroscience-related disciplines. Since 2017, HBHL has awarded over $5M to fund 194 Fellowships across six competitions.

HBHL Trainee Committee Currently in its fourth iteration as of 2020-21, the HBHL Trainee Committee consists of volunteer graduate students and postdocs who are responsible for creating trainee-focused communications, organizing monthly Trainee Get-Togethers and the yearly Trainee Research Day, and helping to build partnerships with industry. All students offered HBHL Fellowships are invited to join the committee and contribute to the Training Program's evolution.


TESTIMONIALS

RANA GHAFOURI-AZAR Master’s Fellowship Working with HBHL to create the Neural Pathways podcast was a very rewarding part of my grad school experience, as it allowed me to meet and gain valuable career advice from many impressive McGill alumni. I was able to develop many communication skills by learning how to interview others and extract the most valuable content to relay in podcast episodes and web articles.

CAROLINA MAKOWSKI Doctoral Fellowship The HBHL fellowship afforded me the opportunity to spearhead a collaboration with a PI at Western University. This project really helped to shape the main storyline of my thesis and ended up being the final manuscript-based chapter. The project was a large reason why I was able to deliver as strong of a thesis as I did—it was recently published in Hippocampus and I received Brain@ McGill’s Best PhD Thesis in Neuroscience in 2019. While I’m now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Diego, I know that HBHL’s support has had a lasting impact at McGill, as my PhD lab is still collaborating with the same PI at Western.

HOVY HO WAI WONG Postdoctoral Fellowship Serving as the President on the 2018-2019 Trainee Committee was a uniquely rewarding experience at the postdoctoral level. I had the pleasure to meet and work closely with 12 brilliant graduate students and postdocs outside of academic settings. These experiences helped our growth in important areas such as teamwork, time-management, perseverance and interpersonal skills, and will certainly help us to excel in any of our future careers of choice.

MARAL YEGANEH DOOST Postdoctoral Fellowship Thanks to the Mentorship Program, I was matched with three mentors in my desired field, all of whom taught me a lot about the day-to-day challenges and excitement in those jobs. Also, that was the beginning of efficient networking for me and led to coffee talks with other individuals in those fields. Finally, because of this program, I chose my future path confidently and I am getting prepared for it.

Trai n i n g

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TRAINING INITIATIVES HIGHLIGHTS Professional Development Program Forming the core of the HBHL Training Program, the Professional Development Program offers graduate students and postdoctoral fellows opportunities to develop key skills relevant to their chosen career path and to facilitate their transition into the workplace. Some examples of current initiatives include: HBHL Coding Club, allowing participants to learn the fundamentals of programming in Python through a combination of collaborative group workshops and guided independent learning HBHL Mentorship Program, connecting HBHL postdoctoral fellows with mentors from diverse academic and non-academic fields Neural Pathways Podcast, an HBHL Trainee production highlighting the careers of recent McGill neuroscience graduates Workshops, including the Peer Pathways Program, Science Communication Day, The Competitive Edge: Fellowship Application Writing Workshop, and more.

HBHL Research Day Organized by the HBHL Trainee Committee Since its first edition in 2018, HBHL’s annual Research Day has showcased the research of HBHL trainees and trainees from partner institutions who are working in areas related to HBHL’s goals and priorities. Open to all trainees, faculty and staff to attend, Research Day offers a platform for trainees to practice their presentation skills through oral presentations and poster sessions, network and form new collaborations, and attend a keynote presentation by a world-leading expert in the field of neuroscience. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 edition of Research Day was successfully adapted into a completely virtual format.

Trainee Get-Togethers Organized by the HBHL Trainee Committee HBHL trainees come from diverse backgrounds and all McGill-affiliated institutions across Montreal. Held monthly during the academic year since September 2017, the HBHL Trainee Get-Togethers provide an opportunity for trainees who share a common interest in neuroscience to network, learn from each other and build new collaborations. In addition to offering social activities, the Get-Togethers also include keynote lectures by guest McGill faculty members and presentations by HBHL-affiliated trainees. 36

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GLOBAL POSITIONING By funding partnerships with international organizations and institutions, HBHL has strategically advanced McGill’s strength in neuroscience on the global stage. These international partnerships deepen existing relationships between researchers and help McGill scientists lead and contribute to international breakthrough discoveries.

International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF) HBHL’s significant contribution towards Canadian membership in INCF has enabled Canadian researchers to play a leading role in establishing priorities, best practices and data standards for the global neuroinformatics community. Since 2017, Canada has been a governing node within INCF and McGill hosted the 2018 INCF Annual Symposium. As part of this activity, HBHL has contributed $100,000 per year for three years towards the Canada-China-Cuba (CCC) Axis in order to develop neuroinformatics infrastructures for international brain research projects. This activity has since evolved into the Global Brain Consortium (GBC), an initiative to apply brain mapping technology to improve brain health in low- and middle-income countries.

Gl oba l Pos i ti on i n g

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TRIPARTITE MCGILL-LUXEMBOURG-BEIJING PARTNERSHIP ON BRAIN-PERIPHERY INTERACTIONS IN PRODROMAL PARKINSON’S DISEASE Co-PIs: Julien Doyon, Edward Fon INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS: Piu Chan, Xuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical University; Rejko Krueger, Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine of the University of Luxembourg HBHL FUNDING: $720,000

INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS The HBHL International Partnerships Program supports projects that demonstrate high potential to build and advance research collaborations with leading institutions.

This project aims to better characterize Parkinson’s disease (PD) progression and mechanisms. A unique sharable database integrating clinical, genetic, biological and imaging data will be created, and the role of gut bacteria in the prodomal PD phase will be analyzed.

Julien Doyon

Edward Fon

EPIBRAIN - EPIDEMIOLOGICALLY SCALED IMAGING AND BIOLOGY FOR BRAIN HEALTH ACROSS THE LIFESPAN PI: Gregory Mark Lathrop INTERNATIONAL PARTNER: Manuel Tunon de Lara, University of Bordeaux HBHL FUNDING: $720,000

EPIBRAIN will create a comprehensive data infrastructure for multi-faceted investigations of brain health from adolescence to old age. The project is designed to lead to breakthroughs in the understanding of cognitive decline, dementia and stroke, as well as advance our ability to diagnose, prevent and treat these conditions.

AUTOPSY & RAPID BRAIN COLLECTION PARTNERSHIP: TOWARDS UNDERSTANDING NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASE PI: Jo Anne Stratton INTERNATIONAL PARTNER: Paul Matthews, UK Dementia Research Institute HBHL FUNDING: $185,400

This project aims to address inaccuracies in autopsy material created by processing artifacts. To do so, the team will develop a bank of healthy brain tissue to better inform and optimize the use of autopsy data, determine how differing autopsy processing conditions affect autopsy sequencing datasets, and create a user-friendly website to help researchers assess how their data is subject to artifacts. Jo Anne Stratton

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PIs: Katrin Amunts (Forschungszentrum Jülich, Scientific Director of the Human Brain Project) and Alan Evans (The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital)) HBHL FUNDING: $3,375,000

PHOTO CREDIT Mareen Fischinger Fotografie

Katrin Amunts

This partnership between McGill and Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany combines neuroscience, artificial intelligence, training and open science. HBHL scientists are combining new information about cortical layers, neuroreceptors and gene expression within an existing 3D brain simulation, Virtual Brain, to create a Virtual BigBrain. Through this sophisticated model, scientists will be able to further investigate brain connectivity and explore what happens when that connectivity goes awry.

MCGILL-DOUGLAS – MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE OF PSYCHIATRY INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATIVE INITIATIVE IN ADVERSITY AND MENTAL HEALTH PIs: Elisabeth Binder (Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry), Gustavo Turecki (McGill) HBHL funding: $2,500,000

This initiative focuses on advancing our understanding of how adversity is biologically embedded to increase the risk of psychiatric disorders. The initiative will offer possibilities for research into adversity by combining unique resources, including animal models, cutting-edge sequencing, big data analytics, and large clinical and epidemiological cohorts. Training workshops and research support for joint projects will promote collaboration between the two partner institutions and offer educational opportunities for graduate students and clinician-scientists.

HIBALL links the IT infrastructures of HBHL’s NeuroHub with EBRAINS, a data portal that supports the Human Brain Project. The alignment of these two portals provides a powerful system to share neuroscience data internationally.

Alan Evans

HIBALL is jointly funded by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (€3,000,000 Euro) and McGill University ($4,500,000 CAD).

We’re building the equivalent of Google Earth for the brain and exploring how artificial intelligence can model the functional organization of the brain at an unmatched 3D spatial scale.” - Alan Evans

Elisabeth Binder

Gustavo Turecki

Gl oba l Pos i ti on i n g

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COLLABORATIONS HBHL’s collaborations with partner institutions and organizations offer mutually beneficial access to resources and opportunities for researchers and trainees.

CFREF-FUNDED INITIATIVE LED BY CAMPUS MONTRÉAL (THE UNIVERSITÉ DE MONTREAL, HEC MONTRÉAL AND POLYTECHNIQUE MONTRÉAL)

Yoshua Bengio (Scientific Director), Andrea Lodi (Scientific Co-Director) HBHL’s collaborations with IVADO build on mutual strengths in neuroinformatics and deep learning strategies. Partnership through Union neuro-sciences et intelligence artificielle Québec (UNIQUE) IVADO faculty involvement in HBHL-funded projects Training opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows Access to joint events, such as the Montreal Artificial Intelligence & Neuroscience (MAIN) conference Joint support of the Neuroprosthetics Virtual Summer School (see TransMedTech Insititute)

CFREF-FUNDED INITIATIVE LED BY POLYTECHNIQUE MONTRÉAL, UNIVERSITY OF MONTRÉAL, CHU SAINTE-JUSTINE, CHUM AND JEWISH GENERAL HOSPITAL OF MONTREAL

Carl-Éric Aubin (Chief Executive and Scientific Officer) Collaboration on a new funding opportunity dedicated to supporting pairs of trainees affiliated with TransMedTech and HBHL whose projects combine neuroscience and medical devices Joint support of the Neuroprosthetics Virtual Summer School, alongside IVADO. This free, four-day virtual program in July 2020 focused on the intersection of neuroscience, engineering, AI and medicine

IVADO researchers can access McGill’s CBRAIN and LORIS platforms

Dell EMC and McGill have launched a collaboration to explore the algorithmic challenges and opportunities of big data neuroscience, using state-of-the art Dell EMC technology valued at over $365,000. This joint venture will examine different HBHL use cases to better define optimal approaches, such as machine learning or more traditional statistical modelling, that can handle complex computational problems in brain research. In the long term, this collaboration is intended to establish a global centre of excellence in computational neuroscience. 40

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Partnership through UBC’s CFREF grant, the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (Andrea Damascelli, Scientific Director) UBC faculty involvement in HBHL-funded projects Trainees from both institutions have opportunities for exchanges and training UBC researchers can access McGill’s CBRAIN and LORIS platforms


CFREF-FUNDED INITIATIVE THROUGH WESTERN UNIVERSITY

Ravi Menon (Co-Scientific Director), Lisa Saksida (Co-Scientific Director) Through a combined Canada First Research Excellence Fund investment of $150 million, HBHL and Western University’s BrainsCAN have developed collaborations that take advantage of the world-class infrastructure and expertise at both institutions. These collaborations span multiple funding programs, including the McGill-Western Collaboration Grant (MWCG) Program, and feature a variety of cross-institutional teams working in joint projects, trainee exchanges, training events and mutual access to research facilities.

The understanding of brain disorders is still very much a challenge, so bringing together the vast knowledge of Western and McGill researchers is a fantastic opportunity to help solve the mysteries of neurodegenerative conditions together.” - Ravi Menon BrainsCAN scientific co-director

Additional highlights of the McGill-Western collaboration include: 37 joint teams across four HBHL funding programs, totaling more than $5M awarded to research 120 joint outputs, including peer-reviewed journal articles, publications, conference proceedings and conference presentations 162 highly qualified personnel involved in joint projects Clinical innovation and joint training programs for both HBHL and Western trainees Shared research infrastructure

This partnership has allowed many McGill researchers, including myself, to make strong and meaningful links with researchers at Western University.” - Mark Brandon MWCG funded researcher

My trainees have visited Western to receive training from team members in London, Ontario. These visits have allowed them to bring expertise back to McGill University that we do not have access to here in Montreal, raising our project’s level of excellence.“ - Stefanie Blain-Moraes MWCG funded researcher Col l a borati on s

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NeuroSphere was created by HBHL to act as McGill's Neuroscience Innovation accelerator. This dynamic entrepreneurship ecosystem for neuroscience and neuroinformatics helps high-potential projects to mature, accelerate and move forward towards commercialization. As an “entrepreneur one-stop shop” for researchers and trainees, NeuroSphere ultimately provides the McGill neuroscience community with: Expertise, advice and support from dedicated staff Workshops, networking opportunities, training and mentoring activities Funding opportunities through the Neuro Commercialization Grants program and the Neuro-Partnerships program in collaboration with MEDTEQ and the Consortium de recherche biopharmaceutique (CQDM) Scholarships and awards for trainees NeuroSphere’s operations are funded by the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI). Funding programs are supported by CFREF.

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BY-THE-NUMBERS

About

$2,776,350 TOTAL FUNDE D PROJ ECT VALUE

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NeuroSphere-supported projects led

PROJECTS FUNDED INVOLVING

115 PEOPLE

1 PATE NT

20

MCGILL PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS FUNDED

43 OTHER MCGILL PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS INVOLVED

16

2 L I C E NSES

INDUSTRY COLLABORATORS

9 ACADEMIC COLLABORATORS

3 STARTU P S

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STUDENTS AND TRAINEES

21 227

COLLABORATORS

EVENT PARTICIPANTS


INITIATIVES NeuroSphere works with other groups at McGill and collaborates with external programs to promote innovation and encourage researchers to consider translational projects.

Introduction to Neuro Entrepreneurship Online Course This three-hour course helps participants get an overview of what it means to venture into neuro-entrepreneurship. Spanning project stages from having an initial idea to pitching a business to investors, this module provides key insights and lists of resources for additional study. Developed in collaboration with NeuroTechX.

Health Startup Day 2020

Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Researchers

100 participants

45 participants

Featuring talks by entrepreneurs and industry professionals, this event helped facilitate ecosystem and community building, targeted networking opportunities and included discussions of the current challenges and opportunities in health innovation. The event was presented by NeuroSphere, Health Innovation Initiative and Imagine Ideation with the support of the Caisse Desjardins du RĂŠseau de la santĂŠ.

To help researchers turn their scientific findings into commercialized products, this one-day event in March 2020 featured a variety of speakers from accelerations hubs and experts from the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Montreal. The event was co-organized by NeuroSphere, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, the Centre for Research on Brain, Language and Music and McGill ENGINE.

Nevicia Case (R) and Caitlin MacEachen (L) of the Health Innovation Initiative

Margaret Magdesian, Ananda Devices

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NEUROSPHERE FUNDING HIGHLIGHTS Neuro Commercialization Grants: Ignite Grants PERSONALIZED WORKER FATIGUE RISK ESTIMATOR RESEARCH THEME 4 PI: Diane Boivin

Neuro-Partnerships Program ADVANCED NYSTAGMUS SYSTEM (ANS™) AS OBJECTIVE DIAGNOSTIC TOOL FOR MILD TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (mTBI) AND CONCUSSION: A VALIDATION STUDY USING STRUCTURAL AND FUNCTIONAL MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING

HBHL FUNDING: $49,930

RESEARCH THEME 3

With support from HBHL, the team intends to develop a commercial app that will assist individual shift workers in their appraisal of their levels of fatigue-related risks.

PI: Alain Ptito HBHL FUNDING: $61,040

HBHL funding has enabled the team to undertake a study that attempts to apply basic science research to validate a tool for quick and accurate diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury, and to identify those at risk for complication.

This funding has given us the opportunity to transform an academic idea into a business opportunity.” - Diane Boivin

CANNABIDIOL FOR NEUROPATHIC PAIN AND INSOMNIA RESEARCH THEME 2 PI: Gabriella Gobbi HBHL FUNDING: $50,000

In this project, our lab aims to unveil the pharmacological properties of CBD through the characterization of the effects of pure CBD oil in laboratory animals with chronic pain and associated insomnia.

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DEVELOPMENT OF A HIGH THROUGHPUT 3D MICROPHYSIOLOGICAL PLATFORM FOR RAPID AUTOMATED ASSESSMENT OF HUMAN BRAIN ORGANOIDS RESPONSE TO DRUGS TARGETING NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS

Neurasic Therapeutics is a new company aiming to advance research in opiatesparing, pain-relieving drugs, and NeuroSphere enabled critical partnerships between the parties involved. Based on innovative research by McGill neuroscience professor Dr. Philippe Séguéla, the venture is a collaboration between adMare BioInnovations and AmorChem LLC.

CONCORDIA LIFE SCIENCES ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM SCHOLARSHIPS

RESEARCH THEME 2 PIs: Tom Durcan, Christopher Moraes HBHL FUNDING: $600,000

This project aims to develop a customized platform to scale up automated production of brain organoids engineered from reprogrammed cells of patients. This will decrease total costs associated with generating and maintaining these organoids, as well as increase the efficiency and reproducibility of 3D neuronal models for drug screening and data acquisition.

Tom Durcan

Christopher Moraes

Sheida Rabipour Scholarship recipient “The course has exposed me to a diverse network of knowledgeable, experienced and encouraging professors, as well as coaches, entrepreneurs and peers who share similar interests. I’ve also found greater confidence in progressing on my own entrepreneurial projects.”

(L-R): Marie-Élyse Lafaille-Magnan, Xavier Linker, Sheida Rabipour and Daneck Lang-Ouellette

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KNOWLEDGE MOBILIZATION Project Highlights Canadian Framework for Brain Health The Canadian Framework for Brain Health (CFBH) aims to reduce the social impact of brain and mental health issues, improve health and productivity, and reduce health inequality. To do this, the CFBH will translate the latest brain research into evidence-based best practices, guidelines and recommendations to inform clinical care, community practice and policy development. A large network of stakeholders will be involved in the production, dissemination and implementation of these guidelines, including patients, researchers, clinicians, policy makers and community groups. The CFBH also aims to bring together many of the different organizations already working Canadawide to investigate and improve aspects of brain health, including university, government, industry and community partners. Through partnerships with these groups, the CFBH will work towards bringing these groups together at the federal level with the help of Health Canada. In order to continuously evolve to meet the needs of Canadians, the Framework will continue to incorporate new knowledge and perspectives through a multipronged outreach and implementation strategy. The CFBH will facilitate multi-way information exchange, with patients able to inform research. To date, a CFBH Policy Steering Committee has been focused on development of the CFBH and its next steps. During this time, HBHL-funded researchers have been continuing to do work relevant to policy and clinical care in many different scientific areas, which can eventually be brought into the CFBH.

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REDUCING SHIFT WORK FATIGUE: A WEB-BASED INTERVENTION FOR NURSES RESEARCH THEME 4 PI: Virginia Lee HBHL FUNDING: $70,000

This study evaluates the effectiveness of a web app that provides personalized light therapy guidelines to nurses based on their sleep times and work schedules. The team aims to understand the impact of light therapy on nurses’ fatigue, sleep, psychological well-being and work performance. Following positive results, the team will promote the app and practical fatigue management strategies to nurses and other shift workers across Canada.

Virginia Lee

LEGALIZATION OF CANNABIS IN CANADA: IMPLICATIONS FOR ADOLESCENT BRAIN DEVELOPMENT, MENTAL HEALTH & PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH THEME 4 PI: Suparna Choudhury HBHL FUNDING: $19,850

This project established a multidisciplinary international think tank to serve as an interface between cannabis research and policy to inform the Canadian Framework for Brain Health, and provide public outreach around cannabis and adolescent brain health. The think tank also analyzes open datasets, and reviews health and social policy literatures to develop new directions for the adolescent brain research agenda. The group has launched the Cannabis & The Developing Brain Knowledge Hub (CADB) website, which provides analyses of important studies for a general audience. Suparna Choudhury


TOWARD A CANADIAN FRAMEWORK FOR BRAIN HEALTH RESEARCH THEME 4

PSYCHIATRIC ILLNESS IN CANADIAN YOUTH: MOBILIZING MEASUREMENT TO IMPROVE CLINICAL CARE RESEARCH THEME 4

PI: Laurence Kirmayer

PIs: Eran Tal (McGill), Skye Barbic (UBC)

HBHL FUNDING: $19,500

This project brought together a policy working group help realize the Canadian Framework for Brain Health. The CFBH Policy Steering Committee initially worked to bring together faculty and partners to develop a workplan, review existing policy related to HBHL research domains, build a network of partners across Canada and identify further funding opportunities.

HBHL FUNDING: $99,733

This project aims to help mental health clinicians who treat 12- to 24-year-old patients make better use of patient-reported data obtained from psychometric questionnaires. Clinicians often lack clear guidelines for interpreting such questionnaires and many questionnaires are unfit for use with young adults or outdated. This project is in collaboration with youth representatives and Foundry, a network of integrated mental health clinics in British Columbia.

COMPLEX DYNAMICS IN BRAIN AND BEHAVIOUR: INDUSTRIAL KNOWLEDGE DISSEMINATION EVENTS RESEARCH THEME 3 PI: Caroline Palmer TOTAL HBHL FUNDING: $8,382

These events were organized by the NSERC-CREATE Program in Complex Dynamics, a research training program in nonlinear dynamics of brain and behaviour with over 200 trainees across six universities. HBHL-sponsored CREATE networking events brought industry partners together with trainees for speed-interviewing and short presentations by the industry professionals. These events helped trainees secure internship placements and permanent job placements in relevant industries.

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HBHL Symposium The HBHL Symposium is designed to spark new ideas, collaborations and innovations in neuroscience at McGill, across the country and internationally. The inaugural edition of the Symposium was held in May 2018 with over 300 attendees, and was successfully followed by a second edition in May 2019, which welcomed over 200 attendees. The third edition of the HBHL Symposium, originally scheduled for May 2020, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Symposium highlights: Keynote presentations by world-leading experts in the field of neuroscience, including Carol Worthman, Richard Wade-Martins, David Glahn, Pedro Valdes-Sosa, Dimitri Krainc and Silvia Bunge Progress reports from principal leading Discovery Fund projects Flash Talks from HBHL PIs Moderated panel discussions Updates on HBHL funding and activities Networking opportunities

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Funders

HBHL Staff

NeuroSphere

Krystle van Hoof

Xavier Linker

Yannick Breton

Marc Lussier

Noha Gerges

Laura Rivest-Khan

Managing Director and CEO

Senior Advisor, Metrics & Reporting

Director of Business Development - Mitacs Program

Sarah Kaderabek Awards Officer

Falisha Karpati

Training and Equity Advisor

Jing Liu

Project Manager

Chris Maskell

Communications Officer

Kim Reeve

Administrative and Events Officer

Louise Schratz Financial Officer 50

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Business Development Advisor

Entrepreneur-in-Residence - NeuroSphere

Program Officer




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