Western University

BrainsCAN: Brain Health for Life

The neural mechanisms that give rise to human thought are harder to probe than the farthest reaches of the universe. Yet, understanding how brain networks support our actions, thoughts and emotions, and how these become disrupted in disorders that affect humans across their lifespan, are fundamentally important questions. Answering these questions will profoundly impact how we understand ourselves, each other, and the societies in which we live.

Researchers at Western University, along with their national and international academic and commercial partners, will deliver evidence-based assessments and interventions for the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the brain. These approaches will be informed by answers to fundamental aspects of how we learn, think, move and communicate.

Understanding higher brain functions is central to diagnosing, classifying and treating psychiatric and neurological diseases; improving childhood learning and communication; optimizing neurosurgical interventions; and developing intelligent devices and algorithms. Technological innovation is a key to understanding higher brain functions, and will also further the application of that understanding. In such innovation, there lies considerable potential to stimulate a knowledge-based Canadian economy and benefit society as a whole.

Building on decades of success in competitive federal grant programs, and fuelled by substantial strategic institutional support, Western University has become home to a large cluster of world-renowned researchers who study brain function, utilizing: state-of-the-art tools for investigating human cognitive performance, unique animal models, and leading facilities that can image across species.

Already ranked amongst the best in the world in cognitive neurosciences and neuroimaging, Western University excels in the breadth of cognitive, computational, clinical, technological and translational approaches required for understanding and intervening in brain function. In partnership with the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, the BrainsCAN initiative will accelerate the university’s ability to deliver effective solutions to the grand challenge of maintaining brain function across the lifespan.