Check out the latest collaborative research, news and innovations with our guest contributors from the world-wide scientific community.

My experience from IBAGS XI: Basal Ganglia: Eilat, Israel 2013

By: Boris Rosin, IMRIC Researcher
Boris Rosin

The International Basal Ganglia Society (IBAGS) is a scientific society with the distinct goal of promoting the understanding of normal basal ganglia function and the pathophysiology of their disorders, including Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, depression and schizophrenia.  IBAGS triennial meetings bring together research scientists from all disciplines, as well as clinicians who are actively involved in the treatment of basal ganglia disorders, to discuss the most recent advances in the field and to generate new approaches and ideas for the future. The society was founded in 1983 and since that time at the end of each meeting a President is elected and the next conference is held in 3 years' time in the President elect country of origin. For the past 3 years, my mentor Professor Hagai Bergman, of the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC), has served as the President of the IBAGS and therefore this IBAGS was held in Israel.

It is difficult to even begin and describe the sheer excitement of meeting in person all the leading researchers from your field. This conference was marked by outstanding scientific quality, the participation of all major researchers in the field and outstanding organization. The range of discussions was as broad as this of the work presented, starting from experimental results of song learning in song birds and ending in data from human patients of Parkinson's disease and other basal-ganglia related disorders. The conference was opened by basic science and clinical tutorials, given by the world's leaders in both areas. A special session of the computational aspects of basal ganglia function and its models was also held. The closing gala dinner was marked by great atmosphere and enthusiasm. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate in the IBAGS conferences during my PhD program and especially proud of the fact that the current IBAGS was held in Israel and that Professor Bergman did such a fabulous job of organizing it.

Below are some select pictures from the conference that I would like to share with you. 



This is me and Prof. James Tepper









Prof. Paul Krack and Prof. Anne Young










 Prof. Thomas Whichmann









Prof. Peter Redgrave







Prof. Rob Turner











 Our lab (Prof. Hagai Bergman)

Hebrew University: A Universally-Minded Institution in the Jewish Homeland

Hebrew University


When I began my position with Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University at the end of the summer, there was a major misconception held by some of my friends when I told them the name of the organization, specifically the ones who are unaware of the institution:

Hebrew University?  Oh, neat, so is that something to do with Jewish studies? Zionism? Are you working at an Israeli advocacy group, Noah?”

And to be fair, to those who aren’t as familiar with Israel, hearing the words Hebrew University certainly denotes a more Jewish nature before anything else. After all, Oxford is not called English University and University of Delhi does not feature Hindi in its title. Hebrew University is a flagship for Jewish studies and language studies, but has evolved to become a beacon for medical research, agricultural innovations and technological advancements, among other things.

To read the whole post click here.

Vlog: IMRIC MD-PhD Student Boris Rosin, Breakthrough Parkinson's Research Explained

By: Boris Rosin, IMRIC Researcher
IMRIC MD-PhD Student Boris Rosin

Check out my latest Vlog post. I am so excited to share my latest breakthrough research with you on Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), carried out at the Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine at the laboratory of Hagai Bergman, Simone and Bernard Guttmann Professor of Brain Research at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) and the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC). DBS has provided significant therapeutic benefits for movement disorders like Parkinson’s and for disorders like chronic pain and major depression.  Our research could possibly improve the current DBS method. In DBS an electrode is implanted in a deep region of the brain, serving as a “brain pacemaker” delivering electrical stimuli at the implantation site. The result is that the patient receives a measure of immediate relief from these symptoms.

On the Importance of Getting Patients and Scientists Together

My New York Minute Blog

Check out this incredible blog post from the blog My New York Minute, a blog about prostate cancer. 

This past weekend in Washington has this guy–yes, ME–speechless.

Saturday’s program in Washington included a documentary filming of a men’s prostate cancer retreat. In the center, in the blue sweater, is our host, Trip Casscells.

It’s not often that I find myself searching for words. Thirty-two years as a communicator and someone whose personality tends toward the highly effusive, I am surprised that I find myself having difficulty putting into words, the transformational experience I just had in Washington D.C. with PCF scientists and a group of patient-survivors. From where I sit, I often have one arm fully extended into the patient-survivor world and the other in the vast and often dense world of scientific research and discovery. In the middle, I try to share information and insights that marry the two.

As part of the Celebration of Science (an event focused on reinvigorating America’s support for scientific research to find cures for patients across many disease states) and PCF’s program within the event, I led a small group of patient-survivors so that they could see first hand the advances that are being made on their behalf. It was also an opportunity to thank our funded researchers and let them hear from those who deeply appreciate their commitment to finding cures. I also had the honor of opening the PCF program Friday with a tribute to our special guests and closing it as we ”passed the torch” to out nearly 100 Young Investigators. In the morning, I reminded our scientists that each man on the stage represented more than a million men and families around the world who are touched by prostate cancer–that they are our raison d’etre–our sole reason for being. In closing, I ended by saying those in the brotherhood can supply each other with encouragement for peace and strength, but that we need to look to our scientists to keep the wish of life alive for so many.

To read more click here

Dan Zenka, senior vice president of theProstate Cancer Foundation was diagnosed with his own case of prostate cancer in April 2010 at the age of 51. He had a radical prostatectomy in June and was subsequently diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic cancer. He completed seven weeks of radiation treatment in December 2010 and endured two years of androgen deprivation therapy, which he is soon concluding. He started this blog within days of his original diagnosis to share information and patient perspectives and, most importantly, to encourage men to talk about prostate cancer. 

Research Update with Dr. Adrienne Meyers: Canada, Israel and Nairobi

By: Dr. Adrienne Meyers
Dr. Adrienne Meyers


Well, summer is here in Winnipeg, Winter in Nairobi and already well into the heat of Jerusalem!  We’re busy in all locations working on our collaborative projects.  Prof. OferMandelboim and I decided it was time to get together and evaluate what we’ve got and where to go next with the projects so I made a quick but extremely productive trip to the Mandelboim lab at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) in Jerusalem, just a plane ride away!  It was a whirlwind trip but I managed to spend time with most of the students and discuss their work, as well as attend a great Sunday morning lab meeting where Ariella Glasner from Ofer’s lab who presented some novel data for discussion. 

Our most active study right now is the microRNA project where we are looking at what role, if any, microRNA plays in protection from HIV infection. Preliminary studies have given us some promising results and we are now full steam ahead to follow up with new data. At this time we are focused on enrolling new study participants collecting samples in the clinics in Nairobi – this started just a few weeks ago and is progressing smoothly.  All the teams involved (Canada, Israel, and Kenya) are excited to move forward with this work.

Ofer and I brainstormed some new investigations we could do and we’re pretty excited to get started!  Because of my past work in the Level 4 lab, we discussed some of the work we could do with level 4 pathogens such as Ebola or Spanish Flu 1918.  We are in the midst of finalizing our thoughts and scientific design on this and plan to initiate these studies this fall. This work will really provide insight into understanding how Natural Killer (NK) cells function in the context of these viruses which can then provide us with details on how to better approach such pathogens for development of vaccines or treatments!

Ofer and I are now left with thinking about new avenues for grant support to continue our work together….we’ve really been having fun and would love to expand our studies as much as possible as our research unfolds.  I’ve had several students keen to be involved and work on these projects so we’re trying to find a way to make it happen.

The visit was great – motivating, exciting and inspirational I thoroughly enjoyed my time with his group and you can see why they are such a dynamic productive lab – they have a super supervisor!

To learn about Dr. Adrienne Meyers click here.