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 this week to shed light on the grayest of matters -our gray matter- during the upcoming Brain Awareness Week (March 16-22). 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 on March 18 on the topic of sleep and dreams (see more details below).  

This year, the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (the Neuro) will also be hosting an Open House for 5th and 6th graders. 155 students will have the chance to attend presentations related to the brain, imaging, neurology, EEG and more. A keynote lecture will be delivered by Dr. Gabriel Leonard, clinical neuropsychologist interested in cognitive changes associated with brain damage and also in normal brain development, especially in adolescence. Students will also enjoy an exciting game show and prizes.

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: Sleep and dreams

Have you ever wondered why we dream or why we even need to sleep? Come join in on a relaxed and informal discussion on the science behind sleep and dreams on Wednesday, March 18th at 6:30pm with Montreal neuroscientists. Followed by a live performance by the Blue Monkey Band. Host: Dr. Virginia Penhune, PhD Speakers:Dr. Jean-Roch Laurence, PhDHypnosis researcher at Concordia University Dr. Florin Amzica, PhDSleep researcher at University of Montreal Dr. Roger GodboutSleep in children researcher at Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies

Location: O Patros Vys356, rue Mont-Royal ESTMontréal (Québec), CanadaH2T 1P9

Entrance is FREE – Refreshments Provided

Visit Brain Awareness Week’s web site:


The MNI is a McGill University research and teaching institute, dedicated to the study of the nervous system and neurological diseases. Founded in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, the MNI is one of the world's largest institutes of its kind. MNI 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 MNI, with its clinical partner, the Montreal Neurological Hospital (MNH), part of the McGill University Health Centre, continues to integrate research, patient care and training, and is recognized as one of the premier neuroscience centres in the world. At the MNI, we believe in investing in the faculty, staff and students who conduct outstanding research, provide advanced, compassionate care of patients and who pave the way for the next generation of medical advances. Highly talented, motivated people are the engine that drives research - the key to progress in medical care. A new building, the North Wing Expansion, is currently under construction and will house state-of-the-art brain imaging facilities. Once the construction is completed and the new building is fully equipped, the scientific community focused on brain imaging research at the MNI will be without equivalent anywhere in the world.



Contact Information

Anita Kar
Montreal Neurological Institute
anita.kar [at]
Office Phone: 
(514) 398-3376