Astronauts at The Neuro


Learning becomes marveling as the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro reveals the wonders of the human brain to over 200 elementary school students as part of the latest annual edition of Brain Awareness Week, March 14-20.  

Launching The Neuro’s events will be Canada’s first astronaut in space and Member of Parliament, Marc Garneau, along with Bob Thirsk, the astronaut who has spent a longer time in space than any other Canadian (more than 200 days).  During his 6 months aboard the International Space Station, Dr. Thirsk,a McGill medical graduate,carried a surgical dissector that belonged to The Neuro’s founder, Wilder Penfield.  Dr. Thirsk will return the dissector at a ceremony on March 14 and discuss highlights from Expedition 20/21.

During Brain Awareness Week, students will participate in hands-on workshops in labs throughout The Neuro.   In plain language and with plenty of humour, The Neuro’s researchers will take students on a trip through the nervous system-territory that was as little known 30 years ago as outer space.

The workshops’ fun, original demonstrations are specially designed to keep young students enthralled.  One demonstration on the brain’s visual system will gently fool students into seeing something that’s not there.  In a workshop on brain anatomy, students will have a chance to observe and even touch a real human brain.

Students will get to see some of the most sophisticated neuroscience machines on the planet---magnetic resonance imaging used for diagnostics and for scientific discovery; positron emission tomography for tracing brain functions; electroencephalography for pinpointing brain lesions. 

Brain Awareness Week ( is an international initiative

that brings together universities, hospitals, schools, government agencies and professional associations worldwide to increase public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research, as well as to educate students about the brain and inspire them to pursue careers in health sciences.

About the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital

The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital — The Neuro, is a unique academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience. The Neuro is a research and teaching institute of McGill University and forms the basis for the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. Founded in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, The Neuro is recognized internationally for integrating research, compassionate patient care and advanced training, all key to advances in science and medicine. Neuro researchers are world leaders in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience and the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders. The Montreal Neurological Institute was named as one of the Seven Centres of Excellence in Budget 2007, which provided the MNI with $15 million in funding to support its research and commercialization activities related to neurological disease and neuroscience.

Contact Information

Anita Kar
The Neuro
anita.kar [at]
Office Phone: 
514 398 3376