Mapping the human brain

A panel presentation and discussion exploring cognition, behaviour, and degenerative disease

Tuesday, December 15

11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Online via Webex (Please register below)

Amer Burhan

Modulating brain networks with non-invasive brain stimulation to treat neuropsychiatric illnesses

Amer Burhan

Amer Burhan is a Geriatric Psychiatrist, Physician-in-Chief and Endowed Chair for Applied Mental Health Research at the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby, Ontario, and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He is also an Adjunct Research Professor in Psychiatry and Neurosciences at Western University and Geriatric Psychiatrist with the Operational Stress Injury Clinic at Saint Joseph’s Health Care and is associate scientist at the MacDonald Franklin Operational Stress Injury Research Centre and the Lawson Health Research Institute in London Ontario. He leads several pragmatic clinical trials in the area of neuropsychiatry of dementia and in therapeutic brain stimulation for resistant mental illness across the life-span in addition to being active in several initiatives to develop guidelines to standardize definitions, assessment, and management of treatment resistant mental illnesses. He is a clinician, educator, and investigator and his career is focused on complex mental health presentation in old age and on therapeutic brain stimulation.

At Research Talks, he will discuss modulating brain networks with non-invasive brain stimulation such as electronic and magnetic transcranial stimulation to treat neuropsychiatric illnesses.

Myra Fernandes

Memory and the life cycle of the brain

Myra FernandesMyra Fernandes is a Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Waterloo. Her research identifies cognitive processes and key brain structures supporting memory function. She uses procedures such as fMRI brain scans, as well as computer and paper/pencil testing in young adults, in senior citizens, and in those with a past head injury or concussion.

Myra was awarded the Canadian Psychological Association’s President’s New Researcher Award, the Ontario Ministry of Research & Innovation’s Research Excellence Award, and the Women in Cognitive Science Canada Mentorship Award. She holds numerous editorial board positions and is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and Canadian Society for Brain Behaviour & Cognitive Sciences. She is a past co-Chair of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s grant review panel for Biological Systems.

The ability to encode, store, and retrieve information requires numerous cognitive processes. Identifying those critical for successful memory performance is a goal of psychologists and neuroscientists. At Research Talks, Myra will discuss the brain changes that accompany aging, and how these impact our ability to think, communicate and remember. She will review evidence from cognitive experiments, neuroimaging data, and studies of normal aging, that pinpoint critical processes and brain regions important for enabling contextually-rich high-quality memories and recollections of the past. She will also review a variety of encoding techniques that can be used on a daily basis to engage more diverse brain representations, ultimately enhancing memory capabilities and performance.

Peter Hall

Reaching beyond conventional brain health metrics

Peter HallPeter Hall is a Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, and Director of the Prevention Neuroscience Laboratory. His research has two main foci: 1) the interplay of the mind and brain with the social environment in the context of disease prevention research, and 2) the development and validation of conceptually meaningful measures of brain health using magnetic stimulation and mobile brain imaging. He is a Fellow of the Academy for Behavioral Medicine research, and recipient of early career awards from the Canadian Psychological Association and Canadian Institutes for Heath Research. He has completed advanced fellowships in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) at Harvard Medical School and Duke University Medical Centre.

At Research Talks, Peter will discuss the rationale for reaching beyond conventional brain health metrics with the aim of identifying new approaches to brain health assessment that might eventually play a role in early diagnosis of brain diseases. In particular, challenge-based paradigms - very widely used in other areas of medicine might be of particular interest when mapping the brain, behaviour and cognition. He will provide an overview of some emerging approaches using TMS coupled with mobile brain imaging.

Donna Kwan

A team science approach to looking across the neurodegenerative spectrum

Donna KwanDonna Kwan is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and the Neuropsychology Platform Lead for the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI) and Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) funded initiative. ONDRI is a multi-site, multi-cohort, multidisciplinary cohort study on Ontarians living with diseases such as Alzheimer's, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)Parkinson's, Frontotemporal Dementia, and Vascular Dementia

At Research Talks, Donna will outline the team science approach across the neurodegenerative spectrum and how, in her unique role as a neuropsychological liaison, she collaborates with scientists, clinicians, statisticians, and community members to shed light on the role of cognitive (dys)function in understanding neurodegenerative disease.

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Research Talks is supported by the Research Support Fund.

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