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Brain Awareness Week 2015

March 16-22

Dr. Matthew Farrer


Professor, Dept. of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia
Canada Excellence Research Chair
in Neurogenetics and Translational Neurosciences
Don Rix British Columbia Leadership Chair in Genetic Medicine
Senior Scientist, Brain Research Centre, VCHRI

Visit by Dr. Matthew Farrer

Brain Awareness Week will be held March 16-22, 2015, and as part of this event we are pleased to announce that we will be hosting CERC chair Dr. Matthew Farrer from UBC. He will be giving both scientific and public talks, and further details about his visit will be posted as they become available.

Scientific Lecture

On Monday, March 16th, 2015, the Chapter will kick off BAW with Dr. Farrer's noon-hour Scientific Lecture, entitled "Parkinson Disease: Mapping a path for molecular neuroscience". This lecture is followed by a Student Lunch with Dr. Farrer at 1pm in room SR415, Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine.

Public Lecture

On Monday evening, March 16th, 2015, the Chapter is co-sponsoring a Public Lecture with the Faculty of Health Sciences. Dr. Farrer's public lecture is entitled, "Neurogenetics and neurodegeneration".

Café Scientifique

On Wednesday, March 18th, 2015, also during BAW, the Chapter will be co-sponsoring a session in the Café Scientifique series with the Office of the VP Research. The session is entitled, "Keeping Your Head in the Game: How Concussions Affect the Brain". Dr. Michael Ellis, one of the panelists for this session, will also have more to say about the management of concussions as part of Friday, March 13th's Neuroscience Rounds.

Brain Bee

In addition to the visit and lectures by Dr. Farrer, and the Café Scientifique session, on Saturday, March 21st, 2015, we'll finish the week by presenting the first ever Winnipeg Brain Bee with Manitoba high school students competing. We are excited to grow this event over the next several years as a tool for grass-roots neuroscience outreach in our local communities.

This event includes talks and demonstrations and was a challenge to organize and execute. We're especially grateful to the following people for making it a success: Dr. Sari Hannila, Dr. Melanie Martin, Dr. Barb Shay, Dr. Sabine Hombach-Klonisch, Dr. Katinka Stecina, Dr. Sarah Chen (Stecina Lab), Crystal Acosta (Anderson Lab), and Scott Dyck (Karimi Lab). Thanks to all!!

Biosketch: Dr. Farrer's research interests are age-related neurodegenerative disorders, with a focus on the molecular genetics and functional modeling of movement disorders, including Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia. Such diseases of the brain represent one of the greatest challenges to global medical health in the 21st century, and the need for therapeutic interventions that slow or halt disease progression has never been greater. Major projects include the genetic analysis of patient DNA samples, from pedigrees and population isolates, by Sanger and next-generation sequencing to identify mutations underlying neurodegenerative disorders, and the physiologic characterization of those mutations in model systems. Subtle changes to the mouse genome through cre-loxP conditional recombineering enables studies of mature primary cell cultures, brain slices and whole animals, using a combination of electrophysiology, microdialysis, behavioural assays and neuropharmacology. A long term objective has been to provide molecular targets, tools and research insights to "lower the bar" for major pharmaceutical investment, to help develop disease-modifying therapeutics aimed at neuroprotection. Dr. Farrer currently directs the Centre for Applied Neurogenetics (CAN; http://www.can.ubc.ca/) within the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.

Click here for photos from 2015 BAW lectures and Brain Bee.



Brain Awareness Week is an international Society for Neuroscience event, and is coordinated locally by the Winnipeg Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.