In 2017, the uOBMRI and Bruyère Research Institute (BRI) launched the Memory Collaborative, a joint fundraising partnership for improved memory and dementia research. Our 2017-2018 Annual Report profiled the Memory Cognition Group and how the Memory Collaborative partnership emerged from it.
Stem cells can become neurons within the stroke-injured brain – making them potential big players in recovery
From uOttawa Media: Dr. Diane Lagace, Dr. Jean-Claude Béïque and their team from the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the uOttawa Brain and Mind Research Institute, including first author and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Timal Kannangara, are bringing new hope for stroke recovery.
The team’s work published in Stem Cell Reports shows that stem cells in the adult brain can migrate to the site of stroke damage and become neurons. Although limited in number, these new cells can fire action potentials and are functionally connected with surrounding networks, all defining features of fully functioning neurons.
Migraine headaches are often accompanied by electrical waves that slowly move across the brain, causing flashes of light and other visual disturbances. Referred to as “migraine aura”, this phenomenon also affects the brain’s blood vessels, allowing large molecules from the blood to leak into the brain and cause inflammation and damage. New research led by Drs. Baptiste Lacoste, Cenk Ayata and Chenghua Gu reveals for the first time exactly how the blood-brain barrier opens during a migraine attack, and how to stop it.
Dr. Nafissa Ismail selected for the Ontario-China Young Scientist Exchange Program
Dr. Nafissa Ismail has recently been selected for the 2018 Ontario-China Young Scientist Exchange Program (YSEP). The goals of the exchange program are to develop long-term research collaborations between Ontario and Chinese institutions, to encourage the development of leadership skills among YSEP participants and to create future "science ambassadors" between the two jurisdictions.
Dr. Ismail will go to Beijing and Shanghai this fall to meet Chinese collaborators in connection with her projects on the microbiome and mental health.
Dr. Simon Chen awarded with 2018 NARSAD Young Investigator Grant
From press release: Dr. Chen wants to help develop therapeutic strategies to counteract brain circuit dysfunctions associated with motor skill-related deficits in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). One strong genetic risk factor for developing an ASD is a specific mutation that researchers have been able to mimic in mice, which has the impact of delaying motor-skill learning. Dr. Chen will image the brains of these mice to elucidate the roles of the hormone and neurotransmitter noradrenaline in motor learning and examine whether stimulating the brain cells that produce noradrenaline can affect motor learning.
Study led by Dr. Jing Wang suggests that diabetes drug could enhance stem cell treatment for stroke
From the OHRI: Imagine removing blood or skin cells from a patient after a stroke, turning them into powerful stem cells in the lab, and then transplanting them back into the same patient’s brain so they can give rise to new neurons to repair the damage. This is the promise of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, and new research led by Dr. Jing Wang could help make it a reality. Dr. Wang and her team discovered that metformin, an established diabetes drug, can stimulate neural stem cells derived from iPSCs, helping them integrate into the brain and give rise to more neurons. In a stroke model, animals that received metformin-treated neural stem cells showed signs of increased regeneration in the brain and had faster recovery of gross motor skills compared to animals that received untreated cells. Future research will examine if other combinations of stem cells and drugs could be even better. See Stem Cells and Development for details.