It’s brain time!


Published: 10Mar2014

A wonder-filled week of the brain

This week, learning becomes more exciting as Montreal neuroscientists join forces to reveal the wonders of the human brain during the 15th annual Brain Awareness Week (March 10 – 16). The week sees neuroscience students give over 350 bilingual presentations across Montreal providing 10,000 elementary and high-school students the 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. The public is invited to participate in a Café Scientifique, titled ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: the neuroscience behind the two sides of human behaviour’ (details below).

As part of Montreal's Brain Awareness Week, the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro opens its doors to 60 elementary students. On March 31, the students will have the chance to participate in fun, hands-on workshops designed to captivate young students, where they will learn about the brain and how it is studied. In plain language and with plenty of humour, The Neuro’s researchers will take students on a trip through the nervous system. 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 - magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) used for diagnostics and for scientific discovery; magnetoencephalography (MEG) for mapping the brain’s activity, and more. The day culminates in a dynamic keynote lecture designed to both inform and inspire the students.

Brain Awareness Week is an international initiative created by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives to increase public awareness about the brain, new research, and inspire the next generation of scientists and clinicians. The Montreal campaign is organized by Brain Awareness Montreal (BAM), a volunteer organization consisting of neuroscience graduate students from schools across Montreal, which offers a variety of programs for people of all ages, including the Montreal Brain Bee and Café Scientifiques on fascinating topics related to the brain. Montreal has one of the largest concentrations of neuroscientists in the world. BAM 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.

Café Scientifique: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: the neuroscience behind the two sides of human behaviour

Tuesday, March 11th, at 7:00PM, Cabaret Playhouse (5656 Du Parc)

Why is it painful to watch others in pain? How is empathy mapped in our brain? How about other emotions like anger and fear? Can we distinguish between those who are aggressive and those who aren’t by looking at their brains? How do we develop prosocial or antisocial behaviour?

In the first Brain Awareness Montreal Scientific Café of 2014 leading neuroscientists Jorge Armony, PhD, Jeffrey Mogil, PhD, and Jean Seguin, PhD will discuss how our social emotions are developed and mapped in our brain. After a brief discussion by each speaker, they will answer questions from the public. This bilingual evening of entertainment and enlightenment includes refreshments live music; is free and open to everyone.

The Neuro

The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital — The Neuro, is a unique academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience. 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. 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.  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, visit

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