Centre for Brain and Mind opens, announces U.K. partnerships

Recognized as a world leader in cognitive neuroscience research, the Centre for Brain and Mind at The University of Western Ontario will begin training postdoctoral fellows from three of the top institutions in the United Kingdom next year.

Each summer, the new Visiting Postdoctoral Fellows Program will attract to London, Ontario up to three trainees from each of University of Cambridge, King’s College London and University College London.

Similarly, the initiative enables Western to send three postdoctoral fellows to each of these institutions for four-month training periods. Each institution will publish results of this work jointly.

The program was announced this morning at the grand opening of a newly created, state-of-the-art space that allows all of the centre’s researchers to work side-by-side in a common area for the first time. Previously, researchers were scattered across campus.

“Western’s already strong ties to the United Kingdom were bolstered by our having recruited Adrian Owen from the University of Cambridge as a Canada Excellence Research Chair last year,” says Ted Hewitt, Vice-President (Research & International Relations).

“This program not only enhances our international leadership role in the field, it helps us train the next generation of neuroscientists to answer questions related to high-level cognitive function and disease.”

Known around the world for pioneering research, the centre has attracted more than $25 million in funding since 2005 and is home to 20 principal investigators – including 10 Canada Research Chairs and the Canada Excellence Research Chair held by Owen – their graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

In all, more than 50 Western researchers affiliated with the Centre are approaching studies of the human brain from backgrounds in a variety of disciplines.

“To continue making advances in this field, we need to provide trainees with access to the best minds and facilities in the world, and this is a great opportunity to leverage expertise at these four institutions,” says Centre director, Melvyn Goodale.

“Western is a prime destination for international trainees in neuroscience, not only because of our longstanding expertise in the field, but for access to the globally unique suite of equipment housed here.”

This equipment includes one of the world’s most comprehensive biomedical imaging suites and one of only three 7T MRIs used for neurological use worldwide.