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A unique album: 30 years of imaging the brain

Published: 9 February 2015

The Neuro’s McConnell Brain Imaging Centre reaches a milestone

How does the brain grow and develop in childhood and aging? How does brain activity shape and unfold within milliseconds? How does our brain respond to objects, faces, food, and music? How is the brain affected in drug abuse, multiple sclerosis, depression? How can we better prepare for neurosurgeries?

These are some of the fascinating and important questions dealing with human brain and behaviour explored at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital’s McConnell Brain Imaging Centre (BIC). The BIC is the site of the most diverse, sophisticated, and cutting-edge brain imaging technology currently available. It is a world-class research and training centre, home to more than 150 staff and students. Importantly, the BIC is also a major service platform for 120 investigators and their trainees across Montreal. Over the past 30 years, the BIC’s international influence in research and training has helped revolutionize how scientists explore the nervous system and behaviour, in health and disease.

The BIC is celebrating its 30th anniversary on February 11 with a day-long event that looks at the past and next three decades of producing a wide palette of neuro-images, and significantly advancing our knowledge of brain function and neurological disease.

As part of the event, four former BIC directors will relate how the Centre has developed an ever-increasing capability to peer inside the brain. BIC scientists produced Canada’s first PET scans, first MR images and first CT scans. Today, the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre produces large volumes of data and analysis methods that are shared with hundreds of scientists and clinical partners in Montreal and Canada, and with many thousands of users around the world. A panel of BIC scientists will highlight how these images are used in research and medical treatment.

An international panel will also look at cutting-edge brain-imaging research taking place today that will determine the shape of things to come. Dr. David van Essen of Washington University, St. Louis, will talk about the Human Connectome Project, which is mapping anatomical and functional connectivity in the brain. Dr. Henry Markram of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, will discuss the Human Brain Project, which is constructing a computer simulation of the brain. Dr. Robert Zatorre, James McGill Professor of neuroscience at The Neuro, will discuss how music influences our brain.

30 Years of Neuroimaging at the BIC
The celebration event is free and open to the public. Registration is required at
When:  Feb. 11, 9:00 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where:  Jeanne Timmins Amphitheatre, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, 3801 University Street, Montreal

The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro
The Neuro is an academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience.  As a research and teaching institute of McGill University, The Neuro is at the centre of the neuroscience mission of the McGill University Health Centre.  The eminent neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield founded The Neuro in 1934.  Since then, The Neuro has achieved international renown for its integration of research, outstanding patient care and advanced training.  The Neuro has a world-class staff in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience, as well as in the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders.  For more information, please visit

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