CONNECT - Cycle 2

Projects Funded in Cycle 2

Recipient Project Title Funding Received Start Date
Adrien Peyrache Interdisciplinary seminar series $5,415 August 1, 2023
Kyle Greenway A heart-to-heart: towards a social biomarker of therapeutic outcome $38,500 September 1, 2023
Delphine Raucher-Chéné Fighting stigma through work to improve cognition $29,870 September 1, 2023
Keita Christophe Neurons to neighborhoods: Quantifying the micro- and meso-determinants of adolescent brain health $75,000 September 1, 2023
Marie Brossard-Racine Operationalize the collection of social determinants of brain health in Pediatric Research $25,000 September 1, 2023

Cycle 2 of the Cognitive Neuroscience kNowledge Exchange for Clinical Translation (CONNECT) initiative was the second in a three-year effort to do cognitive neuroscience differently.

This second session was focused on examining the social factors that might be relevant to cognitive neuroscience. 


Projects Lay Summaries

Interdisciplinary seminar series

PI: Dr. Adrien Peyrache
Co-PIs: Nour Chahine, Maria Tkachuk, Henry Denny, Roseanna Rought, Zeeshan Haqqee
Start date: 2023-08-01; End date: 2023-07-31

Lay abstract: The “Integrate and Fire Seminar Series” was developed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration across the diverse research community at McGill University. This year, with the support of CONNECT, the project aims to promote the consideration of social factors in human cognition by providing a platform for junior researchers to discuss cutting-edge topics. This includes seminars on cognition in a social context, sex and gender in the brain, and the impact of social factors on health and disease. By coming together, junior researchers will forge new bonds while thinking about how these questions might influence their research.

A heart-to-heart: towards a social biomarker of therapeutic outcome

PI: Kyle Greenway
Co-PIs: Lena Adel, Sara Gloecker, Ellisabeth Irvine, Carla Benea, Julien Thibault-Levesque, Sara de la Salle, Michael Lifshitz,
Start date: 2023-09-01; End date: 2024-08-31

Lay abstract: The working relationship between patients and clinicians, known as therapeutic alliance, is amongst the most essential ingredients in psychiatric care. Therapeutic alliance is generally measured by questionnaires, which have numerous drawbacks. One potential alternative to questionnaires is physiological synchrony. Preliminary research has found that feelings of strong interpersonal connections are reflected physiologically, e.g., by hearts beating in sync. This project will evaluate whether synchronization between the heartbeats of patients and therapists may serve as a reliable measure of therapeutic alliance. If confirmed, the research could yield a novel “social biomarker” to advance the study of therapeutic processes in psychiatry.

Fighting stigma through work to improve cognition

PI: Delphine Raucher-Chéné (PI)
Co-PIs: Genevieve Sauvé, Katie Lavigne
Start date: 2023-09-01; End date: 2024-08-31

Lay abstract: People living with severe mental illness (SMI), such as bipolar or schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, face stigmatization that they might internalize with time; this self-stigma has a detrimental impact on their quality of life. Cognitive impairments (e.g., memory issues or attentional deficits) are also part of these disorders and impact their everyday functioning. Working might reduce self-stigma and improve cognition by providing social interactions and enhancing self-esteem. We aim to disentangle the relationships between cognitive performance, self-stigma, and employment to provide healthcare providers and job counselors with new insights to improve the quality of life of people living with SMI.

Neurons to neighborhoods: Quantifying the micro- and meso-determinants of adolescent brain health

PI: Keita Christophe
Co-PIs: Anna Weinberg, Alexis Dennis, Sam Nelson
Start date: 2023-09-01 1; End date: 2024-08-31

Lay summary: This project investigates how neighborhood context shapes adolescent and family cognitive development and wellbeing. We will create a publicly available tool that displays data on neighborhood-level social determinants of health. We will also collect data on cognition and wellbeing from a cohort of 500 Black parent-adolescent dyads in Montreal. Via postal code, we will link data from the neighborhood context tool to our cohort data to better understand the social determinants of cognitive functioning and wellbeing. This tool will serve as a free-standing resource for individuals and researchers interesting in relations between neighborhood factors, well-being, and cognitive functioning.

Operationalize the collection of social determinants of brain health in Pediatric Research

PI: Marie Brossard-Racine
Co-PIs: Emma Duerden, Anne Gallagher, Sarah Palmis, Angela White, Camille Héguy, Eva Sokol
Start date: 2023-09-01; End date: 2024-08-31

Lay abstract: Following the increasing recognition of the negative impact of biosocial adversity on children’s neurodevelopment, the scientific community has enhanced the collection of social determinants to assess their effect on brain health. However, the variables collected are extremely heterogeneous between research groups and there is currently no consensus regarding how these determinants should be measured. To fill this gap in knowledge, our study will test a variety of social determinants and evaluate which ones are best associated with cognitive abilities in children with and without neurodevelopmental deficits using a previously validated online cognitive testing platform.

Back to top