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 Dr. Christopher Steele on his new position at Concordia University

The CoBrA lab would like to congratulate Dr. Christopher Steele on becoming a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, Concordia University. During his post-doctoral fellowship at the CoBrA Lab, Chris worked on examining cerebellar anatomy and cerebellar and cerebello-cortical connectivity and its heritability. We look forward to watching Chris build his team and his research program!

Congratulations to Mila on winning Best Poster Presentation at the Undergrad Expo


The CoBrA lab would like to congratulate fellow member Mila Urosevic on winning third place for best poster presentation at the 2018 Undergraduate Research Expo of the Douglas Institute Research Centre. Mila presented her work titled, “Investigating the effects of diet and exercise in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease”. Mila presented data on her summer project examining the impact of diet and exercise interventions (using new dimensionality reduction techniques) on performance in Alzheimer’s disease related behaviours in the 3xTg mouse model.

Congratulations to the other winners, and to all students who presented!

Detecting Alzheimer's disease early using Artificial intelligence

While standard MRI allows us to see advanced Alzheimer’s disease, such as atrophy of the hippocampus, detecting subtle alterations in the brain occuring long before people start experiencing confusion and memory loss is crucial in order to detect and diagnose the disease long before it’s too late. With the use of artificial intelligence however, trained computer algorithms can detect patterns across MRI images to recognize these changes early and identify patients at risk of developing this disease.

Check out the video below where Dr. Mallar Chakravarty explains artificial intelligence (AI) and shares recent research from our group in which describes how AI can help with the early detection and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about this research, click the link to read our paper Bhagwat et al. (2018)

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

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

As part of her Master’s, Stephanie investigated the normative relationships between age and subcortical morphology and microstructure across the healthy adult lifespan by first improving upon an existing automated segmentation pipeline, MAGeTbrain, through the creation of five high-resolution input atlases of the striatum, globus pallidus and thalamus (see Tullo et al., (2018) for more information about the atlas creation).

In addition to completing her Master’s thesis entitled “Mapping age-related effects on the striatum, globus pallidus and thalamus in healthy individuals across the adult lifespan”, Stephanie was also involved in various projects during her time at the CoBrA lab. Specifically, she was involved in recruitment and data collection of two human studies, “Effects of normal and healthy aging on hippocampal subfield anatomy”, and “High-resolution MRI-based biomarkers for identifying risk for Alzheimer’s disease”.

Stephanie will be commencing her Ph.D. studies with the CoBrA Lab in September, where she will work on models of Parkinson’s disease.

Congratulations to Emily on winning a 2018 Brain@McGill Undergraduate Prize

The CoBrA lab would like to congratulate Emily Snook on being awarded the 2nd place Brain@McGill Prize for Neuroscience Undergraduate Research. This Brain@McGill prize is part of an essay competition for the “most outstanding neuroscience essay written by a McGill undergraduate student” based on their research during their undergraduate degree. Emily was awarded the 2nd place prize for her research investigating the impact of maternal immune activation (MIA) as a risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorder, with a specific focus on early postnatal life in an MIA mouse model.