The Computational Brain Anatomy (CoBrA) Laboratory is located at the Cerebral Imaging Centre at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute (Verdun, QC, Canada; affiliated with McGill University). Our laboratory is interested the anatomy of the brain and how it matures through adolescence, how it stays healthy through the normal ageing process, and how alterations in brain anatomy are related to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia. To do so, we use and develop sophisticated computational neuroanatomy techniques that are able to automatically parse the geometric complexity of brain anatomy. Our group is a multi-disciplinary group of neuroscientists, computer scientists, engineers, and physicists all working towards a common goal of improving our understanding of the structure-function relationships of the brain through health and illness. We publicly disseminate much of the algorithmic and atlas work that we do in an effort to promote open and reproducible science.

Congratulations to Elisa on receiving a W.G. Dewhurst Travel Award!

Ph.D. student Elisa Guma recently won a W.G. Dewhurst Travel Award to attend the Annual Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACCN) Meeting which will be held in Kingston, Ontario from June 7th to 9th. At the conference, she will present her research investigating how the timing of maternal immune activation (a known risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia) affects neuroanatomical and behavioural outcomes in the offspring. If you happen to be at the ACCN meeting, check out her abstract entitled “Neuroanatomical and Behavioural Differences in Models of Neurodevelopmental disorders: An Examination of Offspring Exposed to Maternal Immune Activation in Early and Late Gestation”.

Congratulations to Colleen on receiving the Gates Cambridge Scholarship!

The CoBrA lab would like to congratulate Colleen Rollins on receiving the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. This scholarship funds international students from outside the UK to pursue a post-graduate degree at the University of Cambridge. With this scholarship, Colleen will be completing a PhD in Psychiatry under the supervision of Dr. John Suckling, co-director of the Brain Mapping Unit. Her research aim is to use a multimodal approach integrating brain structural and functional data and cognitive measures to develop a neurobiological model for the manifestation of hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia.

Congratulations to Stephanie on receiving a NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship!

M.Sc. student Stephanie Tullo was awarded the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The objective of the Canada Graduate Scholarships is to help develop research skills and assist in the training of highly qualified personnel by supporting students who demonstrate a high standard of achievement in undergraduate and early graduate studies. With the support of this award, Stephanie will investigate the relationship between age and motor performance (previously demonstrated to be of importance in the study of movement disorders) on subcortical morphology across the adult lifespan by improving our automated segmentation pipeline, MAGeTbrain, through the development of improved input atlases of the basal ganglia and thalamus.

Congratulations to Vincent on graduating from the IPN program with a M.Sc. in Neuroscience!

The CoBrA lab would like to congratulate Vincent on graduating with a degree of M.Sc. in Neuroscience from the Integrated Program in Neuroscience from McGill University!

Vincent completed his master’s thesis entitled “Longitudinal Neuroanatomical and Behavioural Characterization of a Triple Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease” in February, and will be attending his convocation ceremony in June. During his time at the lab, Vincent contributed to the initiation and development of the animal portion of the lab in terms of procedures, protocols, and animal care and husbandry. He is currently looking for opportunities where he can continue to find new things that to fill his curiosity for neuroscience and the workings of the human body.

The CoBrA lab would like to wish Vincent the best of luck in his future endeavours!

It's an exciting time for Alzheimer's disease research

There is more reason to feel hopeful about future prospects for Alzheimer’s disease treatment and prevention as research continues to yield important new insights about the disease. 2016 saw key breakthroughs and trends in the fight against Alzheimer’s, however there is still so much about this disease that is still unknown.

Check out the article 10 Reasons to Be Hopeful About the Future of Alzheimer’s Disease which summarises this past year’s research findings, initiatives and information on treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Importantly, work from our group has been identified as one of the critical important factors for the identification of biomarkers that may lead to early prevention.