More than 50 members of the local life sciences, business and research/economic development communities came together at a Brain Repair Centre-hosted even in October 2013—to get to know each other better and to learn about recent developments at the BRC.

In addition to researchers, trainees and representatives from such organizations as the Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development & Tourism, Dalhousie Industry Liaison & Innovation, BioNova, the gathering welcomed representatives of the Canadian Paraplegic Association and ALS Society.

BRC director Dr. Vic Rafuse shared significant highlights from the neuroscience community in the past year, including:

  • recruitment of a new William Dennis Chair in Epilepsy, to be filled by Dr. Alon Friedman, currently neurosurgeon and professor at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, in 2014
  • recruitment of a new tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Medical Neuroscience at Dalhousie Medical School
  • approval to recruit a Canada Research Chair to investigate neurological disorders in zebrafish
  • successful hosting of the 2013 Canadian Spinal Cord Conference in April, sponsored in part by a BRC Research, Dissemination and Commercialization Grant
  • successful session of the Radiant CREATE Summer Institute in Neurotechnology, Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship
  • receipt of the BioNova Innovation Award at Bioport 2013 to BRC member and neuroscience PhD student Chris Cowper-Smith
  • awarding of three $30,000 BRC Knowledge Translation Grants to Dr. Sultan Darvesh, Dr. Alan Fine and Dr. Ying Zhang
  • receipt of a $20,000 gift from Scotiabank, which will support the top-ranking applicants to the Scotiabank-BRC Research, Dissemination and Commercialization Grant Program in 2014 and 2015
  • establishment of a new funding program to support neuroscience journal clubs that seek to create broad communities of interest
  • new initiative to develop a database of BRC-affiliated researchers and their projects, teams and funding


Following Dr. Rafuse’s remarks, BRC Knowledge Translation Grant recipients shared how they are using their grants to move exciting commercialization projects forward.

Dr. Sultan Darvesh is developing an imaging technology for diagnosing Alzheimer disease at an early stage of the disease, when it could still be possible to halt progression of the disease. Learn more about Dr. Darvesh’s research.

Dr. Alan Fine is developing a breakthrough lensless microscope that allows for fast, mobile, non-invasive and ultra-high-resolution imaging of living cells and tissues in real time. Learn more about Dr. Fine’s research.

Dr. Ying Zhang is developing a technology for high-throughput screening of potential drugs for treating ALS. Unlike current technologies, this system reveals compounds’ ability to preserve vital synaptic connections, as well as motor neurons.

Learn more about Dr. Zhang’s research.

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