Know Your Brain: Montreal universities, institutes and research centres team up for Brain Awareness Week (BAW)


Explore your brain with the experts. Montreal neuroscientists join forces to shed light on the greyest of matters -our grey matter- during the upcoming Brain Awareness Week (March 15-21). The week sees neuroscience graduate students visiting over 340 classrooms all over Montreal providing 10,000 elementary and high-school students a chance to learn more about the brain. Youngsters will learn about the five senses while adolescents will be learning about the effects of drugs on the brain. In addition, the public is invited to participate in a Cafe Scientique, titled “The Brain Symphony” on March 15, 2010, about the relationship between the brain and music.

The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital - the Neuro, will also be hosting its 5th Annual Open House on March 19 for 5th and 6th graders, a fun-filled day where students learn about the brain and all its wonders. 120 students will have the chance to enjoy interactive presentations and learn about the brain and how it is studied, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, neurology, EEG and more. There will also be an opportunity for the students to see and feel a real human brain during the anatomy presentation. A keynote lecture will be delivered by Dr. Chris Pack, who specializes in the visual system of the brain. The day culminates with an exciting game show and prizes for the students.

Brain Awareness Week, created by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, is an international initiative to teach the public about brain function and new research. The Montreal organizing committee, consisting of neuroscience graduate students from schools across Montreal, makes use of the fact that Montreal has one of the largest concentrations of neuroscientists in the world, and brings together students from The Neuro, Concordia University, Douglas Hospital Research Centre, McGill University, the Université de Montréal, and the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Brain Facts – Did you know that:

The adult brain contains about 100 billion neurons;

The brain uses 20% of the oxygen we breathe, although it accounts for only 2% of the body’s total weight;

Neurons multiply at a rate of 250,000 neurons/minute during early pregnancy;

Your brain generates 25 watts of power while you're awake - enough to illuminate a light bulb.

Montreal Brain Awareness Week Café Scientifique: The Brain Symphony – a neuroscience Café Scientifique on music and the brain.

Have you ever wondered how music changes the brain or which parts of the brain process music? How are the brains of musicians different from those of non-musicians and how can musical training influence motor learning? How can music be used for therapeutic purposes for patients with neurological or psychiatric disorders? Come be a part of a relaxed and informal discussion on the science behind the relationship between music and the brain on Monday, March 15th with Montreal scientists from The Neuro, McGill, Concordia and Université de Montreal.  The Café Scientifique will include a live performance by Bananafish, Armen at the Bazaar and DJ Theo Zanos.  This will be a bilingual event as presentations will be in both French and English.

When: March 15th, 2010, 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm

Where: O Patro Vys at 356 Mont Royal Est, Montreal H2T 1P9

Band: Bananafish; Armen at the Bazaar

Host: Patrick Bermudez

DJ: Theo Zanos

Entrance is FREE – refreshments provided

Featuring guest panelists:

Dr. Robert Zatorre

Researcher and Professor, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University

Co-Director, BRAMS (International Laboratory for Brain Music and Sound Research)

Dr. Virginia Penhune

Researcher and Professor, Concordia University

Member of BRAMS

Nathalie Gosselin, Ph.D

Invited Professor, Faculty of Music, Université de Montréal

Research Associate, BRAMS

Visit Brain Awareness Week’s web site:

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. For more information, please visit

Contact Information

Anita Kar
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
anita.kar [at]
Office Phone: 
514 398 3376