Centre for Research in Neuroscience

Welcome to the McGill Centre for Research in Neuroscience!

We are a vibrant and multidisciplinary research centre located at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

The research conducted by our highly interactive research groups has led to major advances in basic and medical neurosciences.

The CRN provides training to students toward an MSc or PhD, and to postdoctoral researchers and MDs for careers in research.


Dr. Garth M. Bray (July 25, 1936 – September 26, 2022)

The CRN is saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Garth Bray. In 1969, Garth was among a cadre of exceptional young physician-scientists recruited by Dr. Donald Baxter to build a new vision for the Division of Neurology focused on clinical efforts, research, and teaching. Garth, along with fellow neurologists and Ph.D. scientists at the CRN, made remarkable scientific discoveries in the areas of neuron-glial cell interactions and CNS regeneration in the 1970s and 80s. Garth was known as a warm, soft-spoken individual that many looked to for advice. On the clinical side, he was appreciated for his calmness, and the care and empathy he provided for his patients and their families.

Garth will be greatly missed.


Dr. Donald Gilbert McCrae Lawrence (January 18, 1932 - August 28, 2022)

The CRN is very saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Donald Lawrence. Don was a much respected and valued member of the Neurology Division at the Montreal General Hospital and the Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery at McGill University. CRN faculty have fond memories of Don, who was a soft-spoken and caring person with a delightful sense of humor. He was deeply appreciated by researchers, nurses, and other clinical staff alike. He was an exceptional teacher, attending all of the lectures for the medical students, and giving high priority to the needs of his students. Don was also involved in neuroscience research in Dr. Albert Aguayo’s Lab over the years. His two papers in 1968 published in Brain on cortical and subcortical pathways that project to spinal motor neurons are classics in the field. He also served as Dean of Admissions for the medical school.

Don will be deeply missed by many of us who had known him.


CRN Statement Condemning Racism, Discrimination, and Violence

The killing of George Floyd and many others is a sickening reflection of systemic racism, violence, and discriminatory practices against Black men, women, and children, which is unacceptable. The Centre for Research in Neuroscience (CRN) condemns all forms of racism, discrimination, and violence, and is committed to providing a safe, inclusive research environment where respect for all individuals is paramount. We at the CRN are committed to confronting these issues and we are working harder to improve education for all Centre faculty, staff, and trainees on racism, discrimination, and violence, and develop stronger training and outreach programs to achieve an equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment. For example, we are collaborating with the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience (BRaIN) Program to create a committee focused on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI). The mission of this committee will be to gather input from faculty, staff, and trainees on how the CRN and BRaIN Program can develop anti-racism and anti-discrimination policies that promote equity within our research environment and promote education and EDI training for all of our researchers. (18 June 2020)

Recent CRN News

  • Dr Hovy Wong (Sjöström Lab) is a winner of a CAN 2024 Brain Star Award! Congratulations! (May 2024)

  • Congrats Amanda McFarlan (Sjöström Lab), who is the 2023 recipient of The Carbonetto Award! Amanda also published a study on the long-term plasticity of VIP interneurons in Frontiers, congratulations! (Apr 2024)

  • Congratulations to Haley Renault (Sjöström Lab) for renewing the Savoy Foundation studentship! (Apr 2024)

  • Congrats, Connie Guo (Sjöström Lab) for winning both the NSERC CGS-M and the FRQS Bourses de formation à la maîtrise! (Apr 2024)

  • How does the synapse sustains high-frequency neurotransmission that is crucial for memory formation? Drs. Hovy Wong and Jesper Sjöström published a paper in Neuron to resolve this. (November 2023) Congratulations to the team!!

  • The Wei-Hsiang Huang lab recently published 3 papers that decipher the neurobiology of RAI1 in epileptogenesis (Proc Natl Acad Sci U SA) and obesity (eLife), as well as developing the first CRISPR gene therapy for Smith-Magenis syndrome mice (J Biol Chem). Congratulations to the first authors Dr. Debbie Chang and Ph.D. students Sehrish Javed and Paul Chang! (September 2023)

  • Congratulations to Dr. Wei-Hsiang Huang for being selected as one of the Future Leaders in Canadian Brain Research from the Brain Canada Foundation. Dr. Huang was also awarded grants from the Savoy Foundation and the RDMM Network. News link https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2023/09/21/2747590/0/en/Brain-Canada-s-flagship-program-awards-2-8-million-for-brain-research.html (September 2023)

  • Congrats, Christina Chou (Sjöström Lab) for winning the Ann and Richard Sievers Neuroscience Award, IPN’s most prestigious internal award! (3 Sep 2023)

  • Congratulations, to Dr. Samuel David  who has officially  been selected as a CAN-ACN Honorary Member, joining a small group of distinguished neuroscientists that are formally recognized by CAN-ACN. 
  • Congrats to Airi Watanabe and Connie Guo (Sjöström Lab) who published a paper in iScience, titled "The developmental profile of visual cortex astrocytes"! (16 June 2023)
  • Congratulations to the Murai Lab on their recent publication of the article in Current Biology titled " Organizing principles of astrocytic nanoarchitecture in the mouse cerebral cortex"  This study was co-led by Keith Murai, PhD, senior scientist and leader of the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience Program at the RI-MUHC, and Kaleem Siddiqi, PhD, professor in the School of Computer Science and the Centre for Intelligent Machines, McGill University.  (16 Feb 2023) See article by the RI MUHC here.
  • The Sjöström Lab published a review in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, titled "The plasticitome of cortical interneurons". Congrats! (30 Dec 2022)
  • Dr Sjöström was interviewed for ScienceNews. (16 Dec 2022)

  • The Sjöström Lab published a new study in PLOS Computational Biology, titled "Pre- and postsynaptically expressed spike-timing-dependent plasticity contribute differentially to neuronal learning". Congrats! (15 June 2022)

  • Congratulations to Sabine Rannio (Sjöström Lab) for being awarded the FRQS Bourse de doctorat! (8 June 2022)

  • Dr. Wei-Hsiang Huang's team was awarded a grant from Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) to study gene therapy in autism spectrum disorders. Congratulations! SFARI (November 2021)

  • Dr. Sjöström published an editorial piece in Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience, titled "Grand Challenge at The Frontiers of Synaptic Neuroscience." (20 Oct 2021)

  • Congratulations to Hovy Wong (Sjöström Lab), who was awarded a QBIN 2021-2022 Postdoctoral Scholarship! (4 Oct 2021)

  • Congratulations to Dr. Wei-Hsiang Huang and Dr. Keith Murai who were awarded the Azrieli Award in Neurodevelopment from the Azrieli Centre for Autism Research. (September 2021)

  • Together with Dr Kim Huber (UT Southwestern, Dallas US) and Dr Pierre Paoletti (INSERM Paris France), Dr Jesper Sjöström edited an article collection for Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience titled "Latest Advances on Excitatory Synapse Biology". (10 Sep 2021)

  • The Huang lab’s first research paper “Temporal dissection of Rai1 function reveals brain-derived neurotrophic factor as a potential therapeutic target for Smith-Magenis Syndrome” was published in Human Molecular Genetics, see link. This work represents the first successful therapy for SMS-like metabolic and social deficits in mice. Congratulations to co-first authors PhD student Sehrish Javed and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Yu-Ju Lee! (31 Aug 2021)

  • Dr. Aparna Suvrathan, Dr. Wei-Hsiang Huang, and Dr. Charles Bourque were awarded CIHR Project Grants! Congratulations! (23 July 2021)

  • Congratulations to Airi Watanabe and Sabine Rannio (Sjöström Lab) for receiving the HBHL Doctoral Fellowship! (8 July 2021)

  • Congratulations to Dr. Hovy Wong (Sjöström Lab), who was awarded a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship! (1 June 2021)

  • Dr. Charles Bourque's team published a paper titled "High dietary salt amplifies osmoresponsiveness in vasopressin-releasing neurons" in Cell Reports, see link. Congratulations! (16 Mar 2021)

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