Professional Development Program

Ongoing & Upcoming Activities 

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HBHL Coding Club

This beginner-level series teaches the fundamentals of programming in Python through collaborative group workshops and guided independent learning. Intended for graduate students and postdocs with little to no previous experience in programming.

Read more about Coding Club

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Neural Pathways Podcast

This Trainee-produced podcast explores the wealth of career options out there for neuroscience grads. The first season is hosted by Rana Ghafouri, a former neuroscience Master's student at McGill University.

Read more about the podcast and listen on Spotify

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Peer Pathways Program

This four-week program helps participants build an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to set goals for short- and long-term developments. Take part in four expert-led online workshops and small group meetings with program peers, while working out of the program workbook.

Register for Peer Pathways

Past Activities

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Date Title
November 2019 - August 2020

Postdoc Mentorship Program

The HBHL Postdoc Mentorship Program provided an opportunity for HBHL-funded postdoctoral fellows to explore career options by meeting successful professionals in academic and non-academic careers. It included the creation of an individual development plan, networking event for postdocs and mentors, individual meetings between each postdoc and three mentors matched based on career interests, as well as postdoc discussion sessions to reflect on the mentor meetings and discuss career planning.

February 21, 2020

HBHL Wellness Day

This full-day event included three sessions, all led by neuroscientists:

  • Strain on the brain: Reducing stress to improve brain health
    • Aislinn Sandre (PhD candidate, Psychology, McGill University) discussed the neuroscience of stress as well as research-supported tips for stress management. Attendees participated in interactive discussion and activities focused on real-world application of the presented research.
  • Healthy screen-time and smartphone use: Ongoing questions and emerging research
    • Dr. Samuel Veissiere and Dasha Sandra presented findings from recent research on the impact of smartphone use and tips to to build healthier smartphone habits.
  • The Neuroscience of Sleep / How to get a good night’s sleep in the modern age
    • Through a talk by Dr. Barbara Jones and workshop led by Drs. Aurore Perrault and Nathan Cross, participants learned what happens in the brain during sleep, how sleep deprivation and poor sleep hygiene affects health, and how and why to integrate better sleep habits into a busy lifestyle.

January 28, 2020/ March 13, 2019/ March 27, 2018

The Competitive Edge: Writing a successful HBHL Fellowship application

At this workshop and webinar, participants learned about the requirements, evaluation criteria, and evaluation process of the Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives Graduate Student Fellowship. We discussed qualities that grant application reviewers look for, and common successes and pitfalls of past applications. Participants completed independent writing activities to generate ideas related to their own projects that they can apply to their Fellowship applications.

This event was offered in collaboration with Graphos.

January 24, 2020

Science Communication Day

This full-day event included the following three sessions as well as art-science projections and a booth exhibition from science communication-related student groups.

  • The Reviewer’s Perspective: A panel discussion on academic writing
    • Participants received tips and advice on writing impressive manuscripts and navigating the academic publication process from 4 McGill neuroscience researchers.
  • A Picture is Worth 1000 Statistics: Effective data visualization for scientific communication
    • At this interactive workshop led by Eisha Ahmed (offered in collaboration with the McGill Initiative in Computational Medicine), participants discussed and applied strategies for creating accurate, accessible and engaging scientific figures.
  • #SciComm on Social Media: Sharing Your Science Beyond the Lab
    • In this interactive workshop, SciComm expert Samantha Yammine shared best practices for audience-first storytelling, and tips and tricks for engaging folks with science through social media.

This event was offered in collaboration with SciCommCollective.

October -November 2019

Peer Pathways Program

Participants were guided through the creation of an Individual Development Plan for academic, career and personal success. The program included three expert-led workshops, two meetings with peer groups and ongoing independent reflection and activities guided by the myPath workbook.

This program was offered in collaboration with myPath.

September 20, 2019

Make Your Mark: Personal and project branding for neuroscientists

At this workshop, participants learned how creating a brand for their research projects can further the reach of their work and how creating a personal brand can help candidates stand out in the job market. They generated ideas for their own project and personal brands through guided activities.

This workshop was offered as part of the 2019 Integrated Program in Neuroscience retreat.

March 19, 2019

How To Plan Your Life

In this workshop, participants learned what is involved in creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP). They completed activities designed to promote reflection on academic and professional goals, and begin the process of creating an IDP.

This event was offered in collaboration with myPath and GSAP.

February 23-24, 2019


This workshop provided an introduction to computer programming for research trainees. On the first day, participants learned how algorithms are designed and how to perform basic programming tasks such as writing functions. On the second day, two concurrent sessions allowed participants to explore basic machine learning concepts in Python or data visualization in R.

February 7, 2019

Under Pressure: Stress management for better brain health

This workshop began with a talk on the neuroscience of stress from Dr. Anna Weinberg. Participants learned what happens in the nervous system during stress, how this affects cognition and behaviour, as well as evidence-based stress-reduction strategies. The talk was followed by activities focused on real-world application of these strategies, including mindfulness, improving sleep habits and avoiding co-rumination.

January 22, 2019

How to make more than minimum wage in grad school

At this seminar, participants were introduced to a variety of funding sources for research trainees, including Tri-Council scholarships, McGill-internal awards, collaboration with industry through Mitacs fellowships as well as lesser-known alternative sources of funding. They learned strategies to effectively search for funding opportunities, communicate with potential funders, determine success rates for various competitions and avoid common pitfalls of the funding application process.

December 4, 2018

Neuroscience lab skills beyond the lab: Effectively presenting your skill set in the job search

Professional recruiter Auréliane Pajani from Adoc Talent Management presented the transferable skills commonly learned through neuroscience research training, and tools for trainees to use to identify their own skills. Participants learned how to clearly express these skills in resumes and job interviews.

November 28, 2018

The Reviewer's Perspective: A panel discussion on academic publishing in neuroscience

Participants received tips and advice on writing impressive manuscripts and navigating the academic publication process from 5 McGill neuroscience researchers. Discussion topics were guided by questions from the audience, and included writing style, what reviewers look for in a manuscript, common pitfalls of manuscripts, journal choice and open science.

November 14, 2018

From divergent thinking to convergent solutions: Including creative thinking in your research

At this workshop, participants learned why creative thinking is important in research, and how divergent and convergent thinking can be applied in scientific and artistic contexts. They participated in interactive artistic activities and discussions to generate ideas and potential solutions for complex, abstract science-related questions.

This workshop was facilitated by the Convergence Initiative.

October 23, 2018

The neuroscience of persuasion and effective public speaking

Public speaking expert Jay Olson provided participants with practical advice for giving effective and engaging presentations. Topics covered included handling nervousness, enhancing clarity, improving body language, and holding the audience’s attention. Findings from psychological and neuroscientific studies were discussed to support the advice given.

October 16, 2018

Small Talk, Big Impact: Developing an elevator pitch for your neuroscience research

Participants were guided through the process of writing draft 1.5-minute elevator pitches for their own research projects for both academic and public audiences. They learned to develop a hook to grab the audience’s attention, concisely state background/methods/results and express the value and impact of their research for both audiences.

September 21, 2018

Putting the "Go" in Negotiation: Strategies to drive your collaborations forward

At this workshop, participants learned how to effectively prepare for a negotiation. Then, they discussed five common negotiation strategies along with real-world situations where they can be used, with an emphasis on identifying opportunities for a collaborative approach. Participants applied these concepts to prepare for and execute a practice negotiation.

This session was offered as part of the 2018 Integrated Program in Neuroscience retreat.

May 24, 2018

The Road Less Travelled: Unique careers for neuroscientists

Six individuals who completed neuroscience-related graduate studies presented their inspiring and unique career paths in fields including business, government, communications, consulting and public outreach. The career panel included an interactive discussion guided by audience questions, as well as networking opportunities.

This event was offered in collaboration with the Integrated Program in Neuroscience, with support from the McGill Alumni Association.

February 13, 2018

Increase Your Impact: Sharing neuroscience research with diverse audiences

Participants discussed the multitude of dissemination opportunities available for neuroscience research, and how to select appropriate dissemination method(s) for various types of research. They analyzed neuroscience research content targeted towards diverse audiences in order to extract communication strategies, and then applied these strategies to describe their own research.


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