Year in review: 2023

The events, awards, and achievements that made this year one to remember

The year 2023 was full of exciting developments at The Neuro. The hospital staff worked through challenging times to maintain excellent quality of care, and researchers continued to fight neurological disorders through the latest science advances. Here is a list of our top news stories from the year.

Montreal: Capital of Neuroscience 

The 26th World Congress of Neurology brought together over 4,000 delegates from 132 countries. This biennial conference was an opportunity for neurologists and researchers from around the world to meet and share the latest innovations. Many interesting events were open to the general public as part of Amazing Brain Week.

Montreal also played host to this year’s Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) conference. At OHBM, the life’s work of The Neuro’s own Michael Petrides was recognized with the prestigious Glass Brain Award.

On Nov. 30, The Neuro held its annual Open Science in Action Symposium, an event that brought leading scientists, including the winners of the 2023 Neuro - Irv and Helga Cooper Foundation Open Science Prizes, together to discuss the latest trends and developments in OS.

Research taking steps forward

The Neuro’s Clinical Research Unit began many promising trials in 2023, including a new gene therapy for Frontotemporal Dementia, the first of its kind in Canada. The trial is specifically for patients with FTD who have a mutation in the GRN gene, that stops them from producing enough progranulin – a protein crucial for brain function.

Dr. Bernard Brais published a study in The New England Journal of Medicine in January that found the genetic cause of a common late-onset ataxia. The discovery opens the possibility of a clinical trial that could alleviate some of the symptoms.

Also published in January, a study from the lab of Dr. Alain Dagher found a correlation between neurodegeneration in obese people and Alzheimer’s disease patients. This study helps reveal the neurological impact of obesity, showing that it may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Research infrastructure also made several leaps forward in 2023. The Neuro’s Open Biobank made its collection of biospecimens, longitudinal clinical and neuropsychiatric information and imaging data openly available through its online data portal. It also developed a digital consent form for patients who want to donate to the biobank, a more efficient way for them to accelerate neurological research and participate in clinical trials. The biobank will also receive consenting patient data from CareAxis, an organization that reduces wait times for spinal surgery.

Clinical research leadership

Dr. Guy Rouleau, The Neuro’s Director, was announced as co-chair of a new research consortium this year. Accelerating Clinical Trials (ACT) is a pan-Canadian initiative to improve the country’s clinical trials. ACT brings together hundreds of researchers from 28 networks, 11 trial units from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and Nunavut, as well as patient-partners, hospitals, government and industry partners, with the goal of boosting the impact and speed of Canadian-led trials, ultimately improving health outcomes.

Guy Rouleau

Dr. Rouleau was also announced as Principal Investigator of The Neuro’s Virtual Integrated Patient Platform (NeuroVIPs), a new Open Science patient registry to share data with researchers around the world and let patients see how their data is used to develop new treatments for neurological disorders.

 A history to remember

In 2023 The Neuro’s ALS Clinic celebrated its 25th anniversary. Since opening in 1998, it has grown to see 350 to 375 patients, accepting 40 to 50 new patients every year. It has expanded its multidisciplinary team from two people to over 15, including specialists such as a nutritionist, speech language therapist and a spiritual care counselor. 

The Neuro also lost someone important to its history. Hanna Pappius was a Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, and an Associate member in the Department of Biochemistry at McGill University.

Hanna Pappius

A dedicated, pioneering researcher and colleague at The Neuro for close to seventy years, Prof. Pappius made significant contributions to her field by pursuing studies on cerebral edema and the effects of brain injury on neurotransmitter and receptor mechanisms.

Hanna Pappius passed away on March 29, 2023, at the age of 97.




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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.



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