Neurosciences: Meetings between French and Canadians Researchers a Success

A French delegation of scientists and neuroscience specialists from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie and from the Hospital Pitié-Salpêtrière arrived in Vancouver last month to pay a visit to their Canadian partners at the Brain Research Centre (BRC). The delegation then visited Toronto for the occasion of the French-Canadian seminar on the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegenerative diseases.

From October 3 to 6, 2010, researchers Bernard Zalc, Laurent Cohen and Ann Lohof from the Paris Research Centre of the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute (CRICM – Mixed unit from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, CNRS and INSERM) had the opportunity to visit the research facilities at the University of British Columbia (UBC) such as the BRC, considered to be one of Canada’s most reputable institutes in this field of expertise. This visit was the occasion for the French and Canadian researchers to present their respective work and to set up scientific and university co-operations. A number of research angles were discussed, namely concerning neurodegenerative diseases and the development and use of imaging systems.

The delegation from CRICM (20% of the total neuroscience research in France is conducted by this centre alone) then travelled to Toronto to participate in the seminar organized by Christian Turquat, Science and Technology Attaché at the Consulate General of France in Toronto, on October 7.


During the seminar, the French delegation and Canadian neurologists Dr. Roder and Dr. McGowan of the University of Toronto as well as Dr. Desouza and Dr. Goel of the University of York presented their institutes and their research in the field of neurosciences. A number of Canadian institutions together with three companies, Iseehear Inc., Neuroimage Inc. and Toronto Region Research Center, attended as well. The presenters discussed topics such as neurodegeneration, epigenetics applied to the nervous system, psychological effects and dependence on drugs and chemical substances (of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry), and cognition (conscience, reading, vision, etc.). Philippe Carlevan, Science and Technology Counsellor, and Christian Turquat opened the seminar with a presentation of the different programs that the Office for Science and Technology makes available to researchers with the aim of promoting French-Canadian collaborations. You can listen to their speeches at the following link:

According to a recent report prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO), mental and neurological disorders are seriously underestimated by traditional epidemiological methods which take only mortality into account and not the disability rates. Moreover, longer life-expectancy and the ageing of the general populations in both developed and developing countries constitute two factors likely to increase the prevalence of numerous chronic and progressive physical and mental diseases including neurological disorders.
Given this context and the continually rising costs of research (materials and human resources), neuroscientists have been working toward pooling their knowledge and expertise. France and Canada have each in their own way invested in neurosciences – for example, France has an allocated budget of 200 million euros over 5 years for Alzheimer’s disease research – and can each be considered competent in this field. France and Canada collaborate already, mainly through the partnership established with the Province of Quebec (ERA NET – Neuron).

This seminar has succeeded in achieving its objectives, and an article on the event appeared in the local francophone newspaper Le Métropolitain. Interviews with Professors Zalc, Cohen and Lohof were conducted by the scientific journal The Chronicle of Neurology and Psychiatry and also for the Radio-Canada’s program “Au-delà de la 401” and the channel TFO televised program “RelieF”. Philippe Carlevan and Christian Turquat also had an opportunity to talk on the radio programs of the University of Toronto and Ryerson University.

November 5, 2010


Last modified on 03/10/2012

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