Archives - 2017


Congratulations to André Parent who was named Officer of the Order of Canada by her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada. Dr. Parent was honoured 

For his groundbreaking work to advance our understanding of basic anatomical structures of the brain and their function.

The announcement was made by official release on December 29th and Dr. Parent will be invited to accept his insignia at a ceremony at a later date...


A multidisciplinary team from Université Laval, composed of Gabriel Gagnon-Turcotte, PhD student in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and of Professors Benoît Gosselin, of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, Christian Éthier and Yves De Koninck, both at the CERVO Brain Research Centre, will present their work at the prestigious « IEEE International Solid-state Circuits Conference (ISSCC) »...


In an article published in Cell Reports, Dr Jasna Kriz's team reports on the discovery of a new mechanism controlling the innate immune response of microglia relying on messenger RNA (mRNA) translation on ribosomes.  By using a model system for in vivo analysis of ribosomes, her team found a dichotomy in the mRNA networks undergoing translation and the proteins being synthesized in microglia following the induction...


A recent publication by Caroline Ménard shows that chronic stress, as occurs in cases of bullying, can make the blood-brain barrier more permeable to contaminants and microbes that may be in the blood.  As the brains of depressed individuals show signs of inflammation, Caroline Ménard and her colleagues had hypothesized that leakiness of the blood brain barrier could allow molecules and microbes to reach the brain, causing inflammation.


The 2017 Research Day will take place December 14th at Baie de Beauport - Save the date!

Here is the program of the 2017 Research Day.  The theme of the day will be Interdisciplinary research on the Brain at CERVO.

12 h 30

Welcome in Le Saint-Laurent room of the Main Pavilion

13 h...


Congratulations to Professor Chantelle Sephton who was recently awarded a grant from Innovation Canada for her research, through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund.  At a time of intense international competition, the John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) is a critical strategic investment tool designed to help institutions attract and retain the very best of today’s and tomorrow’s researchers. The John R.


Professor Nathalie Gingras, child psychiatrist and associate member of the CERVO Brain Reseach Centre and her colleagues recently reviewed the scientific literature about the links between internet and eating disorders.  The found that while online information can make these disorders worse, it can also be part of the solution.  This was reported in a recent article by Jean Hamann, published in the most recent edition of the magazine LeFil, a Université Laval publication . 


The CERVO Brain Research Center celebrated its 30th anniversary at a cocktail reception on October 4th, and by organizing an international scientific symposium on October 5th at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec.  Researchers at the CERVO Brain Research Center have been pursuing research to understand, prevent and treat disorders of the brain since the founding of the research center in 1987 by Professor Michel Maziade


International Symposium - 30 years of the CERVO Brain Research Centre
Date: October 5 2017
Location: Salle Marie Renouard, 2601 de la Canardière, Québec


Read an article in the Université Laval newspaper, Le Fil, about Benoît Labonté's recent discoveries (in French only).

Les deux visages de la dépression - La dépression majeure affecte différemment l'expression des gènes dans le cerveau des femmes et des hommes

By Jean Hamann


Professor Joël Macoir and his team published in a recent edition of the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias a tool they have developed to screen for language impairments that are associated with neurodegenerative diseases.  This test, which can be administered in five minutes, will allow doctors and nurses to identify people suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia associated with ageing.  


Benoit Labonté published results in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine showing that depression is expressed differently in the brains of men and women.  In this article, in which he is the first author, Benoit Labonté explains: "Depression affect the activity of neurons in different regions of the brain.  In men and women, the genes expressed in depression were very different, and were the same only in 5 to 10% of the cases.


Could singing in a choir have positive effects on the brain and communication?  This is the one big question question CERVO researcher Pascale Tremblay is currently asking.  View a recent television report about this on Radio-Canada (in French only): Reportage de Camille Simard de Radio-Canada.


Research by professor Charles Morin has demonstrated that psychotherapy, and specifically cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), is more efficient than drugs to treat insomnia.  According to data presented last Thursday by Dr. Morin at the annual meeting of the Quebec psychiatric association, drugs work, but have effects that vary from weak to moderate, depending on the insomnia component being measured (number of awakenings per night, length of sleep, etc...), while the effect of cognitive-...


The Canadian Pain Society highlighted the research accomplishments of Yves De Koninck and Robert Bonin, a research centre alumnus and professor at University of Toronto, at their annual meeting, which took place May 23-26 in Halifax.  Congratulations to Professor De Koninck, who received the Distinguished Career Award, and to Professor Bonin, who received the Early Career Investigator Pain Research Grant.


Congratulations to Gabriel Gagnon-Turcotte, electrical engineering student, who received the Jury Prize scholarship for excellence in graduate studies from the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ). This prestigious prize was given to him by the Vice-President of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec Foundation (FOIQ), Mrs. Anne Baril, during the excellence in engineering gala on May 8 2017.  


The neuropsychologist and ADHD specialist Nancie Rouleau has given her advice on the hand spinner type devices that are popular in many schools across Quebec. These devices are said to help students focus, according to their promoters.  This statement has little to no support in the litterature, indicates Dr Rouleau. Best case scenario, it is therefore unproven, but could also very well be false, concludes Rouleau.


The CERVO Brain Research Centre is proud to partner with the Musée de la civilisation de Québec to present the exhibition Mad about Brains, which runs until March 11, 2018.  

Learn more about this exhibition in the following media coverage: 

La Presse - Le cerveau détricoté, par Jean-François Cliche


The Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for Numeric Strategy, Ms. Dominique Anglade, and the Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister of the Quebec city region, Mr. François Blais, announced today the first companies that will be supported by the Fonds InnovExport, and Chronophotonix, a company founded and co-directed by Marc Hébert, professor at Université Laval and researcher at the CERVO Brain Research...


Nancie Rouleau, neuropsychologist, professor and researcher at the CERVO Research Centre will participate in a symposium at the next ACFAS meeting, in Montréal on May 12th in the afternoon.  She will present a new mindfulness program she and her team have developed for children with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which they have named programme PEACE (Programme d’Entraînement de l’Attention et de la Compassion chez l’Enfant).


A team including Laura Monetta, researcher at the CERVO Brain Research Centre and speech impediment specialist, has developed an online training program for people working with aphasic people.  Aphasic people will have difficulty, to various degrees, to find words, to name familiar objects, to build sentences or to articulate correctly.  Others will have difficulty understanding, reading or writing.  About a third of people who have a stroke suffer from aphasia.  


Dear Colleagues,

In the name of all the members of the research centre, I want to send our congratulations to André Parent, who received on May 3rd the Gloire de l'Escolle medal, given during the "Les Remarquables" ceremony that honors distinguished graduates, who, by their contribution to society and the scope of their career, bring honour to Université Laval.  André is a world-recognized expert in neurobiology. He has contributed to the Quebec city's, an our research centre's,...


Participe in the National Mental Health Week at the CERVO brain research centre.  

Many free activities are offered to our personnel and the general public, including three public lectures (in French):


A recent article in Le Soleil newspaper indicates that 50 % of the population could be suffering of seasonal affective disorder, a particularly high proportion, linked to a long winter season.  It is double the usual incidence of this disorder, normally estimated to affect 25 % of the population.


The Executive Director of Sentinel North, Martin Fortier, has launched a call for applications for research chairs and scholarships to attract promising and established researchers and outstanding trainees to develop this ambitious program at Université Laval.  As stated in the announcement:


Read a recent interview with Annie Vallières, Professor at Université Laval and Researcher at the CERVO research centre, in Impact Campus, for the world sleep day.  Dr. Vallières discusses perceptions of sleep, the effects of lack of sleep, the concept of the ideal night and give advice to students for exam periods.  

Read the full interview here (in French):

Dormir sur ses deux...


One of the major obstacles preventing traumatic brain injury (TBI) sufferers from driving again is speed of information processing.  This conclusion was recently confirmed by a study published in a recent issue of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation by researchers in the School of Psychology at the CIRRIS et at the CERVO research centre, the new name of the Centre de recherche de l’...


The lack of attention paid to the millions of children born to a parent with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or recurrent major depression is out of phase with the massive need in primary care and the available scientific evidence.

says Michel Maziade in a Perspective article published in the March 9 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.  A recent article by Jean Hamann of the campus newspaper Le Fil, reports Dr. Maziade's message:  


Yves De Koninck recently gave an interview to Le Soleil newspaper about an important discovery published in Nature Medicine which offers new hope to people suffering from dependency to morphine and fentanyl. In the interview, Yves De Koninck indicates that the discovery his team participated in could help people get out of their dependent state by blocking withdrawal symptoms, without blocking the pain relieving effects of morphine and derived drugs.  


A patent application was filed by ImStar Therapeutics from Vancouver and by Université Laval in the name of inventors Jean-Pierre Julien,  from Université Laval, and Anthony Shaw and Agnes Chan, for the use of molecules derived from compounds naturally occuring in indian gingseng for the treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and of four other neurodegenerative diseases.  


Researchers Joël Macoir and Vincent Martel-Sauvageau and their colleagues Patrick Boissy, Marilyn Tousignant and Michel Tousignant, from the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Sherbrooke, have tested the efficacy of a telespeech therapy on 20 patients suffering from chronic aphasia following a stroke that occured less than one year ago.  Aphasia is a disorder in the production and understanding of spoken and written language that can occur following brain trauma, most often...


The Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) annonced a grant worth 940 832 $ from the Canada Public Health Agency for a project aiming to support new parents that were exposed to traumatic events during their childhood.


A recruitment symposium will take place at the Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec on February, 7th. The full program is now available.


The Health Minister Gaetan Barette and the member of Parliament André Drolet visited the research centre on February 1st.  They toured the research infrastructures and talked research with the scientist that were present.


A study published in Nature Medicine suggest morphine withdrawal syndrome could be treated in a new way.  The study has uncovered many physiological mechanisms underlying the withdrawal symptoms addicted individuals encounter when they abruptely stop taking opioids.  Even better, they found that two drugs, already in use in humans for other conditions, target the same mechanism.  Their efficacy to treat the symptoms of withdrawal could therefore be quickly tested on patients, says Yves De...


Congratulations to Yves De Koninck who will receive the distinguished career award from the Canadian Pain Society.  This prize aims to highlight the important contribution Dr. De Koninck has made to pain research.  The award will be given to him at the next meeting of the Canadian Pain Society, in Halifax next May.   


A discovery made in collaboration with researchers from our research center is amongst the top 10 discoveries of 2016, according to Québec Science magazine.  

Interested in nerve repair, but not satisfied with the pharmacological approach - long, costly and ineffective, neuroscientist Margaret Magdesian searched for tools to directly manipulate grey matter.  "Nerve connections are of the nanometric scale, says Magdesian, so I looked into nanotechnologies." She turned to Peter Grutter...


Joanne Lavoie, clinical and research nurse at the Research Centre of the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale talks about the HoPE project in the professional journal of the Québec nurses association, l'Ordre des infirmières et des infirmiers du Québec

« With the HoPE team, we are attempting to intervene early, to prevent the occurence of disease, slow its progress or reduce its severity », explains Ms. Lavoie. The HoPE project received funding from the Foundation of the...

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