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 Raihaan on receiving a FRQS Training Award!

Ph.D. student Raihaan Patel was awarded a Fonds de Recherche Santé du Québec (FRQS) Doctoral Training Award for his project titled “Une parcellisation multi-modale de l’hippocampe humaine in-vivo”. In this work, Raihaan will be using multimodal MRI data to investigate changes in the structure and function of the hippocampus throughout the lifespan.

For more information, please visit the FRQS website or check out the results for the FRQS Doctoral competition to learn more about the funded research projects.

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

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

Saashi completed her master’s thesis entitled “Large-scale analysis of heterogeneity and cortical thickness in autism spectrum disorder” in December 2017. For her Master’s, Saashi aimed to address the heterogeneity in autism spectrum disorder by performing a large-scale examination of alterations in cortical thickness, with a specific focus on the impact of sex, age, and IQ, using a large, multi-site structural magnetic resonance imaging dataset and state-of-the-art computational and statistical analysis techniques. To learn more about her project and the results obtained, be on the lookout for her paper in which she is in the process of submitting for publication.

While Saashi is currently working as an RA in the CoBrA Lab, she is hoping to start her PhD at McGill University in September 2018. The CoBrA lab wishes her the best of luck in her future endeavours!

Mental health and cultural communities

On Wednesday, January 31, Canadians everywhere will talk, text, and tweet as part of Bell Canada’s annual Bell Let’s Talk Day initiative designed to fight stigma surrounding mental illness and raise funds for mental health in Canada.

To raise awareness about Bell Let’s Talk Day and promote the open discussion of mental health, Dr. Mallar Chakravarty was invited to talk with CTV’s Mutsumi Takahashi about the stigma of mental illness and the challenges individuals of cultural communities face in seeking and receiving mental health services.

Check out the video below for interview on CTV Montreal News.

For more information about the mental health services mentioned by Dr. Chakravarty, please visit the following: PEPP, ACCESS, as well as other services available at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute.

A new way to detect Alzheimer's Disease

Check out the video below where Christine Tardif and Mallar Chakravarty talk to Laura Casella from Global News Montreal about recent research from our group where a link between MRI-based hippocampal volume estimates and biomarkers have been found in patients years before cognitive decline. For more information about this research, click the link to read the published paper Tardif et al. (2017)

A Non-Invasive Method to Detect Alzheimer’s Disease

Research from our group has shown a link between MRI-based hippocampal volume estimates and biomarkers found in patients years before cognitive decline. Specifically, a recent paper from our group, Tardif et al. (2017) suggest that hippocampal subfield volume and extra-hippocampal white matter microstructure demonstrate a complex pattern where an initial volume increase is followed by decline among asymptomatic individuals who, in some instances, may be a decade or more away from onset of cognitive or functional impairment associated with Alzherimer’s disease.

To learn more about how to identify individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease, check out the video below for Dr. Mallar Chakravarty’s interview with Mutsumi Takahashi on CTV Montreal News.