For media enquiries or to connect with researchers in the MacVicar Lab at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, please contact Emily Wight, Communications Manager.

For general enquiries about MacVicar Lab activities, please contact Katherine Rhodes at

From Bugs to Brains: Event Recap Mar 10, 2016

Dr. Helen Tremlett and her team brought together researchers from a variety of disciplines for a half-day event to foster collaborative efforts in gut microbiome research and its relation to brain health on February 5, 2016.

Mobile device / smartphone in hands.
Smartphones need a redesign to improve brain function: Q&A with Dr. Peter Reiner Mar 5, 2016

Rather than improving our mental abilities, smartphones are increasingly blamed for ruining our brains. We replace valuable face-to-face social interactions with a constant virtual connection and complain that it’s harder to concentrate.

Bacteria in the gut may mean the difference between relapse and remission in kids with MS Mar 1, 2016

New research, published this week in Journal of the Neurological Sciences, shows that a reduced abundance of a particular bacterial phylum in the gut is associated with subsequent relapse risk in pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS). The pilot study, led by Dr. Helen Tremlett and Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant (University of California, San Francisco), may offer a potential drug target to decrease relapse risk in some patients.

Impairment in orbitofrontal cortex linked to cognitive inflexibility Feb 25, 2016

Suppressing neural activity of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) made rats less likely to modify their behaviour in response to negative reinforcement or changes in the probability of receiving rewards, finds new research published this week in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Woman receiving counselling
Study shows genetic counselling helps psychiatric patients Feb 24, 2016

A new University of British Columbia study shows that genetic counselling helps patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and similar conditions understand and cope with their illness.

The paper is published today in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The study is among the first to show the value of genetic counselling for psychiatric illnesses, demonstrating that it can help patients understand the cause of their illness, the genetic component and how they can protect their mental health going forward.

Kids learning basketball from teacher in gym class
CATT for Educators helps teachers support students' recovery from concussion Feb 17, 2016

The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource to help athletes, parents, coaches, health practitioners, and now teachers to recognize, treat, and prevent concussions to decrease the risk of lasting damage and long-term health issues. Updated monthly, CATT provides users with the most comprehensive collection of concussion information in British Columbia, and includes video tutorials, printable resources, and online commentary by professionals.

Young woman at microscope in lab.
100 Years WISE: the push for more women in leadership roles culminates at UBC on March 9 Feb 16, 2016

“Diversity is the engine of invention,” Dr. Judy Illes says. “It’s important to talk about diversity now, so that we can move into our brighter future with the better opportunities diversity will provide.”

Alzheimer disease, neuron network with amyloid plaques
Injury to the deep periventricular areas of the brain is associated with Alzheimer disease Feb 3, 2016

In a recently published article in the journal Neurology, investigators at the University of British Columbia have demonstrated that build-up of cerebral amyloid, a protein marker of Alzheimer disease, is more common in those with injury to the deep periventricular area of the brain.

Older man listening to music.
Research finds therapeutic benefit to patients' favourite music in Alzheimer disease Jan 27, 2016

For patients with Alzheimer disease, research found that music can have therapeutic benefits that can alleviate some of the anxiety that can accompany the disease.

Flashing lights and music turn rats into problem gamblers
Flashing lights and music turn rats into problem gamblers Jan 20, 2016

“Anyone who's ever designed a casino game or played a gambling game will tell you that of course sound and light cues keep you more engaged, but now we can show it scientifically.”