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

Taking a risk or playing it safe is influenced by dopamine signals Oct 20, 2014

For the better part of a century, the neurotransmitter dopamine has been understood as a key player in the brain’s reward-related processing. Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute researcher Dr. Stan Floresco has discovered more precisely that bursts and dips of dopamine activity in the brain guide the level of risk taken when making a choice.

Researcher profile: Dr. Dan Marigold Oct 16, 2014

In order to pursue discovery and improve the mobility of people with eye disease and other neurological conditions, Dr. Marigold’s research combines basic science with clinically relevant scenarios.

Researcher profile: Dr. Carles Vilarino-Guell Oct 15, 2014

Molecular geneticist Dr. Carles Vilarino-Guell has played an important role in the identification of the genes that carry mutations responsible for the onset of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis.

Novel communication between neurons and the brain’s immune cells Oct 14, 2014

Pictured:The dendrites of one neuron (red), and microglial cells (green).

Researchers in Dr. Brian MacVicar’s lab recently established a novel communication pathway between neurons and microglia, the brain’s immune cells.

Canadian diamond pioneer donates $9.1 million for Alzheimer’s research Sep 30, 2014

The quest to understand and treat Alzheimer’s disease is being bolstered intellectually and technologically thanks to three gifts to from Charles Fipke, whose geological discoveries made Canada one of the leading producers of diamonds.

Fipke has given $3 million to endow a professorship dedicated to Alzheimer’s research, and has pledged $600,000 to outfit the professor’s lab with cutting-edge equipment at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. He has also committed $5.5 million to support the purchase of the most novel and coveted brain imaging technology.

Jack Taunton. Photo credit: Martin Dee.
Jack Taunton to be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame Sep 22, 2014

Dr. Jack Taunton, professor in the Department of Family Practice and neurotrauma investigator at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, will be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame this week. He is being recognized as a Builder, in appreciation for his contributions to sports medicine and research.

Woman checking symptoms on a mobile device.
MoodFx, a new mobile-friendly website, will help Canadian workers with clinical depression Sep 12, 2014

Led by Dr. Raymond Lam, researchers at the Mood Disorders Centre at UBC Hospital and the UBC eHealth Strategy Office have released a new mobile-friendly web tool called MoodFx, which has been designed to help Canadian workers with clinical depression. The site enables users to partner with their mental health care providers to track outcomes before, during, and after treatment.

elderly woman, parkinson's disease
Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson’s Disease Annual Meeting Sep 9, 2014

On September 12, delegates from 60 research sites and 23 countries will converge on the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health (DMCBH) as part of the ninth annual Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson’s Disease (GEO-PD) meeting. Hosted by Dr. Matt Farrer and the Centre for Applied Neurogenetics, this meeting brings together international collaborators and integrates neurology, neuroscience and neurogenetics.

Stopping ALS starts with knowing how it spreads Jul 16, 2014

Amyotophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a devastating and fatal neurodegenerative condition that includes symptoms such as paralysis and loss of the ability to walk, talk, eat, and breathe. Although there is no cure for ALS, patients suffering from the disease may find hope in a recent discovery by researchers at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI) about how it spreads within the body that could lead to revolutionary new immunotherapies.

National Core for Neuroethics researchers featured in Science Magazine Jul 8, 2014

Young researchers from the National Core for Neuroethics at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health talked to Science Magazine about challenging ethical questions facing young investigators. Shelly Benjaminy, Karen Jacob, Cody Lo and Nina Di Pietro discussed issues ranging from patient understanding of new medical technologies to the use of drugs to enhance brain performance. Their interviews can be found in the July issue of Science Magazine.