Featured research stories of 2015


Published: 4Dec2015

Could maple syrup help cut use of antibiotics?

Syrup extract found to make antibiotics more effective against bacteria. A concentrated extract of maple syrup makes disease-causing bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics, according to laboratory experiments by researchers at McGill University.


Why aren’t there more lions?

Discovery of what appears to be a new law of nature: more crowding leads to fewer offspring.


Gay pay for straight work

Wages in Canadian labour market stratified by sexual orientation.


His and her pain circuitry in the spinal cord

This research reveals for the first time that pain is processed in male and female mice using different cells. These findings have far-reaching implications for our basic understanding of pain, how we develop the next generation of medications for chronic pain—which is by far the most prevalent human health condition—and the way we execute basic biomedical research using mice.

“Research has demonstrated that men and women have different sensitivity to pain and that more women suffer from chronic pain than men, but the assumption has always been that the wiring of how pain is processed is the same in both sexes,” said co-senior author Jeffrey Mogil, Ph.D., E.P. Taylor Professor of Pain Studies at McGill University and Director of the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain.


The personalities of spiders

Focusing on animal personalities changes the picture for scientific research.


First language wires brain for later language-learning

Research demonstrates brain's plasticity and ability to adapt to new language environments. In Nature Communications, researchers from McGill University and the Montreal Neurological Institute describe their discovery that even brief, early exposure to a language influences how the brain processes sounds from a second language later in life. Even when the first language learned is no longer spoken.


The secret of empathy

Stress from the presence of strangers prevents empathy, in both mice and humans. This research identifies a reason for the empathy gap and answers the vital question of how do we create empathy between strangers,” said McGill University psychology professor Jeffrey Mogil, senior author of the study.

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