A word from the Vice-President, Research

Mona NemerMona Nemer
Professor and Vice-President, Research

Minding our brains

You are the caretaker of the most incredible and complex creation known to exist—your brain.

Containing nearly 100 trillion neural connections, yet weighing less than 1.5 kilograms, your brain is the cradle of your mind. Its maze-like bundles of grey matter give rise to this precious thing we call consciousness and house your most cherished memories of the past and dreams for the future.

Although the human brain is marvellously complex, it is also profoundly sensitive to external stimuli, to other organs and to our own mental health. From depression and anxiety to stroke and Parkinson’s disease, problems with our brain affect how we function, feel, think and behave. To feel and be healthy—from birth to death, in slumber and in action—we need to promote and preserve the health of this master of all organs.

The University of Ottawa is home to some of Canada’s best and brightest interdisciplinary researchers and clinical investigators working to unravel the mysteries of the brain and its functions. As we lay the foundations of the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute, we are broadening our focus more than ever before, uniting medical research, the sciences and the social sciences in groundbreaking new ways.

How do we make sense of noise? Is junk food aging our brains? Are we on the threshold of a cure for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s? In this issue of Research Perspectives, it is my pleasure to introduce just some of the extraordinary people who are tackling these questions and forging the University of Ottawa’s continued excellence in brain and mind research.

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