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Stephanie L. Borgland and Brian E. Chen both winners of 2014 CAN Young Investigator Awards

The Canadian Association for Neuroscience is proud to announce that Dr. Stephanie Borgland, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at University of Calgary, and Dr. Brian Chen, from the Centre for Research in Neuroscience at McGill University, are both winners of CAN Young Investigator Awards for 2014. Drs. Brian E Chen and Stephanie L Borgland were both judged equally deserving of this distinction, which recognizes excellence in neuroscience research in a young neuroscientist. They will receive their awards during the opening ceremony of the upcoming Canadian Neuroscience Meeting on May 25 2014

Brian Chen: How to build a brain

Dr. Brian Chen seeks to understand how the instructions to wire up a brain are encoded in our DNA. His research uses a combination of high-resolution imaging techniques with advanced molecular genetics to look inside the brains of living animals while their neurons form connections. Dr. Chen's research provides insight into how the brain's wiring is encoded in the DNA, and how these instructions malfunction in mental disorders.

Dr. Chen's research accomplishments demonstrate his ability to address central questions in the field of neuroscience. His research has helped deepen our understanding of the underlying genetic causes of mental retardation, caused by diseases such as Fragile X, Down's and Rett's syndrome, and autism. His important research has been published in high impact journals such as Nature, Nature Neuroscience and Nature Neuroscience.

Stephanie Borgland: Why we eat too much

Dr. Stephanie L Borgland studies the neuroscience behind addiction and obesity. Most people that become obese overeat despite the knowledge that the consequences will be harmful. Similarly, a key feature of addiction is the inability to stop drug use despite negative consequences. The mechanisms in the brain underlying abnormally heightened motivation leading to obesity and addiction may be similar. Dr. Borgland and her research team focus on the neural mechanisms that underlie eating for reasons other than hunger.

Dr. Borgland is internationally known for her innovative work in neuroscience and many of her discoveries have been published in top journals in neuroscience (including Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, The Journal of Neuroscience and Biological Psychiatry). Her lab uses a combination of techniques to explore how areas of the brain involved in evaluating reward and motivating behaviour are rewired by consumption of high fat foods. The laboratory has made exciting discoveries on how peptides that signal satiety ("I'm full"), such as insulin and leptin, modulate dopamine neurons involved in reinforcement and motivation. This understanding is of key importance to understand why we start and stop eating.

Full profiles of Drs. Chen and Borgland, including references to representative research publications can be found on the Canadian Association for Neuroscience website, at


Contact: Julie Poupart
Canadian Association for Neuroscience

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Stephanie L. Borgland and Brian E. Chen both winners of 2014 CAN Young Investigator Awards
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