Research Themes

OVERVIEW

Campus Alberta Neuroscience actively works with researchers and stakeholders in five focused research areas: Depression, Healthy Brain Aging and Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Nervous System Injury, and Neuroimaging. In each of these areas, CAN facilitates the development of strategic focus and the establishment and work of integrated teams of researchers, clinicians, trainees and stakeholders to advance fundamental understanding and knowledge translation from a framework of productive collaboration.

Depression

The Depression Research and Intervention Team Connects Depression Researchers Across Alberta
The Depression Research and Intervention Team is focused on connecting depression researchers and clinical professionals to improve depression treatment and awareness in Alberta. The Team is working in collaboration with the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network (CDRIN) and through active involvement of community groups and people with lived experience of depression.

Purpose

The Depression Research and Intervention Team was formed to connect individuals involved in all areas of depression research and care across Alberta to facilitate innovative research and improve education and knowledge dissemination. Several initiatives that the team is involved in represent a partnership between Campus Alberta Neuroscience and the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network (CDRIN).

Goals

The Depression Research and Intervention Team aims to:
  • Increase understanding of the psychosocial and biological causes of depression
  • Facilitate the interaction between the depression research community and people with lived experience of depression
  • Emphasize the effective integration of research, education, translation and collaboration to build a solid foundation beginning with the psychological and biological origins and leading to effective treatments
To achieve these goals the Team will:
  • Ensure connection among collaborative projects across Alberta universities, CDRIN, and organizations representing people with lived experience
  • Work with Alberta depression researchers and stakeholders to identify priority areas and develop research approaches targeting those areas
  • Work to connect research to the mental health care system, mental health care stakeholders and industry

Organization

Established in 2014, the Depression Research and Intervention Team includes mental health researchers from the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary, Campus Alberta Neuroscience, and community partners. Visit our researcher directory for a list of current Depression Research and Intervention members.

Recent Activities

  • 2016 Neuroscience Innovation for Improving Brain Health Symposium: the Depression Research and Intervention team hosted depression focused sessions October 20th 2016 at the Edmonton Coast Plaza hotel. These sessions were held in parallel with other CAN theme sessions and included an interactive panel discussion and a speaker session. The panel discussion included both researchers and people with lived experience to discuss the rewards and challenges associated with lived experience engaged research. The afternoon session focused on innovative research being done by Alberta researchers and collaborators. The day was concluded by the CDRIN Alberta Hub Lived Experience Lead to highlight the importance of research and the voices of those with lived experience in research to ensure better outcomes for depression in Alberta.
  • 2015 Innovation in Depression Research and Intervention Symposium: the Depression Research and Intervention Team hosted a one-day depression-focused Symposium at the University of Calgary in October 2015. Alberta depression researchers came together to share their work and develop connections for increased interaction and development of innovative, collaborative depression focused projects involving individuals working in basic, clinical and applied research. Furthermore, the Symposium included significant involvement of people with lived experience of depression, better connecting researchers with the community.

 

Contact the Depression Research and Intervention Team

For more information on the Depression Research and Intervention Team, please contact Campus Alberta Neuroscience at (403) 220-2422 or [email protected].

For more information on CDRIN, please visit their website.

Healthy Brain Aging and Dementia

The Healthy Brain Aging and Dementia (HBAD) Team works toward preventing dementia and promoting healthy brain aging
The HBAD Team brings together Alberta researchers along the entire spectrum of both healthy brain aging and dementia research – from basic to translational sciences. The goal of HBAD is to accelerate diagnostic advancements, improve cognitive health and reduce the overall burden of dementia on Albertans.

Purpose

The HBAD Team brings together Alberta researchers along the entire spectrum of both healthy brain aging and dementia research – from basic to translational sciences. The overarching goal of HBAD is to accelerate diagnostic advancements, improve cognitive health and reduce the overall burden of dementia on Albertans.

Goals

HBAD aims to:
  • Strengthen collaborations across Alberta and develop a common vision for healthy brain aging and dementia work in Alberta;
  • Implement a collaborative, pan-Alberta healthy brain aging and dementia research, education and translation approach that will create significant positive impacts;
  • Increase the integration of research, education, translation and population health to build a pipeline from biology to cure.

Organization

The HBAD Team has formed collaborative partnerships with Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions, the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories, the Seniors Health Strategic Clinical Network, Alzheimer Society of Calgary, Alberta Prion Research Institute as well as a wide variety of Alberta-based researchers. HBAD members are also involved in the development of the Alberta Dementia Strategy.

Outside of Alberta, the HBAD Team is connected with the Victoria Longitudinal Study, the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging and other national initiatives.

Contact the HBAD Team

For more information on the HBAD Team, please contact Campus Alberta Neuroscience at (403) 220-2422 or [email protected].

Multiple Sclerosis

The Alberta Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Collaboration: Supporting Multiple Sclerosis research and translation
Campus Alberta Neuroscience (CAN) and the Alberta MS Network have partnered to establish The Alberta MS Collaboration to boost the province’s capacity for MS research and translation through industry, government, community and academic partnerships. 

Purpose

Campus Alberta Neuroscience (CAN) and the Alberta MS Network have partnered to establish The Alberta MS Collaboration to boost the province’s capacity for MS research and translation through industry, government, community and academic partnerships.

The Alberta MS Network (formerly known as the Alberta endMS Regional Research and Training Centre) was created in 2009 and serves as an interdisciplinary hub connecting scientists and trainees across the province.

Organization

Established in 2014, the Alberta MS Collaboration is a multi-stakeholder initiative co-led by CAN and the Alberta MS Network. Other partners include Alberta Economic Development and Trade, Alberta Health and the MS Society of Canada. Visit the CANdex for a list of current Alberta MS Collaboration members.

Goals

The Alberta MS Collaboration aims to:
  • Support innovation through industry- and academia-partnered MS research and translation
  • Build capacity, collaboration and alignment in the Alberta MS research community
  • Strengthen the capacity for rapid translation of research into practice
To achieve these goals, the Collaboration:
  • Promotes and facilitates province-wide collaboration to build capacity and impact
  • Works through attraction and investment of research/translation dollars from industry, government and non-profit stakeholders to improve outcomes for people with MS

Focus Areas

  • Neuro-protection and repair
  • Progressive MS
  • Life-modifying therapies
  • Models of care to support early diagnosis, self-management and improved quality of life

Recent Activities

  • 2016 Collaborative Team Grant Competition: The Alberta MS Collaboration held a team grant competition in the area of neuroprotection and repair. With funding from Alberta Economic Development and Trade and Sanofi Genzyme Canada, the competition awarded two projects led by Bradley Kerr (University of Alberta; with co-PI Gerlinde Metz, University of Lethbridge) and V. Wee Yong (University of Calgary; with co-PI Olga Kovalchuk, University of Lethbridge), $200,000 each over a two year period.
  • 2017 Seed Grant Competition: The Alberta MS Collaboration held a seed grant competition in the area of neuroprotection and repair. With funding from Alberta Economic Development and Trade, Sanofi Genzyme Canada, and Branch Out Foundation, the competition awarded four projects led by Babita Agrawal (University of Alberta), Michael Colicos (University of Calgary), Nils Forkert (University of Calgary), and Gerald Pfeffer (University of Calgary) $75,000 each over one year.
  • 2017 Postdoctoral Fellowship Competition: The Alberta MS Collaboration held a research and clinical postdoctoral fellowship competition. With funding from Sanofi Genzyme Canada, the competition awarded Jeff Dong (with supervisors Wee Yong, University of Calgary and Fabrizio Giuliani, University of Alberta) a two year research fellowship.
  • 2018 Postdoctoral Fellowship Competition: The Alberta MS Collaboration held a research and clinical postdoctoral fellowship competition. With funding from Sanofi Genzyme Canada, the competition awarded Carlos Camara Lemarroy (supervisor Luanne Metz, University of Calgary) a two year clinical fellowship.
  • 2018 Translation, Implementation and Commercialization Competition: The Alberta MS Collaboration will launch a competition for MS projects with translation, implementation and/or commercialization potential December 3, 2018. See Partnered Opportunities for more details.

Contact the Alberta MS Collaboration

For more information on the Alberta MS Collaboration, please contact Campus Alberta Neuroscience at (403) 220-2422 or [email protected].

Nervous System Injury

Changing the landscape of nervous system injury treatment and recovery
The NSI Team works to increase the creation and application of knowledge that promotes positive recovery and outcomes for individuals following spinal cord, traumatic brain and nerve injury. This will be accomplished by establishing and maintaining nervous system injury research and translation partnerships and collaborations with Alberta researchers, clinicians, community partners and trainees. 

Purpose

The NSI Team works to increase the creation and application of knowledge that promotes positive recovery and outcomes for individuals following spinal cord, traumatic brain and nerve injury. This will be accomplished by establishing and maintaining nervous system injury research and translation partnerships and collaborations with Alberta researchers, clinicians, community partners and trainees.

Goals

NSI aims to:
  • Improve understanding of the mechanisms underlying nerve injury
  • Advance innovations in rehabilitation and repair
  • Promote translation of new discoveries to the clinic and community
To achieve these goals NSI:
  • Increases the knowledge generation and impact of NSI research across the province
  • Supports and facilitates the development of new models and assistive devices
  • Engages stakeholders, such as Spinal Cord Injury Alberta and the Rick Hansen Institute, in the development and discussion of research priorities, targets and projects.

Tools and Technology

NSI members’ work spans preclinical and translational research. This involves the increased understanding of basic mechanisms underlying repair and recovery using cutting-edge tools, including optogenetic, neuropharmacological and behavioural analyses. Applications in these areas range from animal models, to mental health, to combinations of rehabilitation strategies with other therapies. The pursuit of therapeutic and translational avenues is also driven by engineering and technology solutions including neural implants, robotic assistive exoskeleton devices and nerve stimulation.

Organization

Established in 2014, NSI is an open organization that includes members from the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge. Visit the CANdex for a list of current NSI members.

The NSI Research Team connects across repair, recovery, and different injury state research. Our members work together within directed research priority areas, using collaborative approaches to examine the role of these neural systems on recovery. Recent activities supported by the NSI are listed below:

Recent Activities

  • Nervous System injury Symposium 2014: The Road to Rehab and Beyond: At Campus Alberta Neuroscience’s 3rd Annual Symposium, nearly 250 attendees from the NSI and across Alberta took part in the opportunity to discuss new and innovative approaches to nervous system injury rehabilitation and recovery. Presentations included keynote address by Grégoire Courtine, a Richard B. Stein annual lecturer, on the restoration of sensorimotor function.
  • Spinal Cord/Nerve Injury & Pain NeuroTeam Community Research Day: A unique and exciting event was held at the Cochrane RancheHouse on November 4th, 2015. Sponsored by CAN and AIHS, this event included clinicians, researchers, trainees and community members brought together to present ongoing projects, and discuss relevant research priorities that will benefit the lives of Albertans living with nerve injury both now and in the future.

Contact the NSI Team

For more information on the NSI Team, please contact Campus Alberta Neuroscience at (403) 220-2422 or [email protected].

Neuroimaging

Campus Alberta Neuroscience Imaging Consortium (CANIC): bringing together Alberta’s bioimaging scientists
CANIC connects structural and functional nervous system imaging researchers, clinical practitioners and trainees from across the province to accelerate discoveries that support health, social, and economic benefits to Albertans.

Purpose

Campus Alberta Neuroscience Imaging Consortium (CANIC): bringing together structural and functional nervous system imaging researchers, clinical practitioners and trainees from across the province to accelerate discoveries that support health, social, and economic benefits to Albertans.

Goals

CANIC aims to:
  • Improve clinical diagnosis and predictions
  • Inform novel treatment and interventions
  • Provide understanding on and increase prevention of neural disorders

Organization

Established in 2013, CANIC is an open organization that includes members from the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, and Lethbridge who share a common interest in neuroimaging and employ a wide variety of technologies to develop solutions to the biggest questions in brain science.

Projects involving cognitive, behavioural, and social conditions are explored through the examination of the nervous system using imaging tools such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electroencephalography (EEG), and positron emission tomography (PET).

Visit the CANdex for a list of current CANIC members.

Contact CANIC

For more information on CANIC, please contact Campus Alberta Neuroscience at (403) 220-2422 or [email protected].