Best Buddies in research and beyond: how collaborative science facilitates progress in autism bio-imaging research

How many times have you asked yourself whether your research has a broader impact on society? Why is it so hard to quantify the impact of our scientific endeavors? I recently sat down with a few prominent neuroscientists who are members of both QBIN and the Transforming Autism Care Consortium (TACC) network. I wanted to get a sense of the state of the art in autism bio-imaging research and what the motivating factors and benefits are behind collaborative science and inter-network initiatives in Quebec.

Spotlight on a Rising Star: A conversation with Sylvia Villeneuve

Exceptionally this year, QBIN will be awarding two Professors the Rising Star in Bio-Imaging in Quebec award, Profs. Sylvia Villeneuve and Hassan Rivaz, who will present their work at the 2022 QBIN Scientific Day in Sherbrooke on June 2nd along with this year’s William Feindel lecturer, Louis Collins. In order to learn more about their research and interests, the QBIN blog team conducted interviews with each of them. Stay tuned for interviews with Hassan Rivaz and Louis Collins soon and enjoy this first interview with Sylvia Villeneuve!

Supporting Women in Academia through the Women’s Neuronetwork (WNN)

Most academics have at some point in their lives been asked by a well-meaning friend or relative when they will get a “real job”. While the natural response is to defensively explain that completing a PhD or a postdoc is in fact a real job, the question itself is not completely out of line. While for many career paths, people enter the job market directly after an undergraduate degree or an apprenticeship, research training takes many more years – up to ten years from the start of a PhD program to landing a permanent position (with no guarantees!).

The link between oxidative stress, glutathione, and aging

Aging is a normal part of life, and just like the rest of the body, the brain changes as we get older. In normal aging, most people will eventually experience some changes in the way they think, like slower processing speeds or certain types of memory loss, although skills and knowledge tend to remain stable or are even improved over time.

Gradients of Brain Organisation Workshop

QBIN is proud to have sponsored the 2nd edition of the Gradients of Brain Organisation workshop, which took place on the 16th of June, 2021. In total, 395 individuals from around the world registered for the event. At the peak on the zoom call, 164 individuals were online and many more watched the livestream on Vimeo.

The Open Science Room at OHBM 2021

This year, QBIN was proud to sponsor the Open Science Room, which took place from June 16-18 at the virtual annual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM). As part of our commitment to help make science more open and accessible to everyone, QBIN has sponsored several activities organized by the OHBM Open Science Special Interest Group (OSSIG) in the past few years, including the Open Science Room and various Brainhack events.

Taking off the white coat

Early one January morning, I hurried out of bed and dashed to the front curb, worried that I would be late to take out my garbage and recycling in time for the collectors. Still in my pajamas with unbrushed teeth and hair, I hadn’t noticed a woman nearby rummaging through my neighbours’ recycling bags to collect bottles for consignment. She approached me to ask for any refundable bottles from my bag. Suppressing my discomfort at the idea of a stranger examining my waste, I opened my bag to allow her to investigate. She sparked a conversation about her distrust of the COVID-19 vaccine and warned me to avoid it at all costs. When I asked her why, she replied that the government had implanted a tracking device in the vaccine so that they could monitor us at all times. She told me that since we had never needed this vaccine before, it is suspicious for the government to insist on it now. I was so completely dumbfounded that I hardly knew how to respond.

Can a computer make you cry? Revisiting the age-old question through the uncanny valley

Video games are more popular and more profitable than ever before.  Having come a long way since the arcade hits of decades past like Pong and Pac-Man, modern video games often have incredible photorealistic 3D graphics as well as complex narratives and engaging storylines that have helped them outperform even cinema in terms of profit and share of the entertainment industry. Video game players get to become part of the narrative by virtually embodying characters through gameplay, which often runs for over 20 hours or more, rather than just observing the story from the outside for 1-2 hours of film. As a result, people often report that video games can to some extent elicit far stronger emotional responses than movies, making it somewhat unsurprising that many games end up with cult-like followings of devoted fans waiting anxiously for the next release.

The Art of Imaging: Science meets beauty

While art and science are often presented as opposing forces in today’s world, the aim of the two disciplines has always been fundamentally the same: to provide a representation of the real world. This intricate link between art and science becomes more obvious as we look to past discoveries that were made before the invention of modern scientific technologies that help us capture reality, in a time when it was in many ways necessary for scientists to be artists as well.

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