Research

Research at the uOttawa Brain and Mind Research Institute

There are 100 trillion connections between neurons in the human brain, grouped together into billions of distinct networks in which brain cells work together at the speed of thought. The brain can also be quite adaptive and malleable (plastic), which provides hope for therapies. However, very little is known about the interconnected webs of cells that form the brain's fundamental architecture.

How do brain cells work together? How does this change as a result of disease?

We seek to answer these questions and determine how protective, regenerative and restorative strategies—including pharmacotherapy, gene therapy, exercise and deep brain stimulation—improve brain circuit function in patients with brain disorders.

By understanding and manipulating brain connectivity in meaningful ways, we can develop effective treatments for neurological disorders.

The ultimate goal of uOBMRI is to incorporate and represent all brain- and mind-related activities in a cohesive fashion. In consultation with our stakeholders and the uOBMRI Scientific Council, the institute has generated a multiphase plan of action with the initial focus on the following areas of strength and expertise.

Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease affects 10 million people worldwide. It is a devastating neurodegenerative condition that leads to slowness of movement and rigidity and, in a large proportion of patients, depression and dementia. Currently, while there are strategies to alleviate early motor symptoms, there is no cure...

Depression

Depression

There are many unknowns surrounding depression, which affects 121 million people worldwide and is the second leading cause of disability. It is believed that there are a number of biological, genetic and environmental factors that trigger depression in susceptible individuals. However, the way these factors combine to lead to depression is a mystery...

Neuromuscular disease

Neuromuscular Disease

Neuromuscular diseases (NMDs) represent a broad group of more than 150 genetic and acquired disorders, many causing disability and even premature death through progressive muscle wasting. Collectively, NMDs affect over 1 million people in Canada and the United States.

Neural dynamics

Neural dynamics

Central nervous system function is managed by sophisticated and dynamic sets of neuron networks and circuits that regulate brain function. These highly active and tightly controlled circuits in turn instruct all behavioural and cognitive outputs of the brain, including movement, mood and memory...

Regenerative medicine

Regenerative Medicine

Recently, tremendous excitement in brain research has been generated with the realization that the adult brain has the capacity to generate new-born neurons, either basally or in response to injury. A number of important questions have to be addressed, however, before a regenerative strategy will succeed clinically...

Genetics

Genetics

Defining the genetics of brain disorders provides critical clues to the mechanistic underpinnings of brain disease. Important questions about how disorders start and progress and how patients respond to treatment involve genetic characterization of brain disorders.

International partnerships

International Partnerships

International partnerships are an important part of the uOBMRI and its mandate to impact fundamental and clinical brain research. As such, we have launched collaborative international partnerships with these institutions—the majority of which have joint calls for research proposals...

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