Program Overview

Dr. Keith Murai


Associate Leader
Dr. Kathy Mullen

Dr. Andrée Lessard
514-934-1934 ext. 34753

The Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience Program (BRaIN) draws upon the world-class research being performed by basic neuroscientists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, psychiatrists, neurosurgeons and population health/evaluative researchers at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). The program facilitates a new level of collaboration, consolidating this expertise within a single research program to address research themes in key priority areas. These themes include:

  • Neural and synaptic development and function
  • Aging, neurodegenerative diseases, and other neurological disorders
  • Vision and cognitive neuroscience
  • Pain, inflammation, trauma and repair
  • Mental health and addiction.

Basic, translational and evaluative research within these areas aims to improve diagnosis, develop future therapies to mitigate genetic or acquired dysfunction, and synthesize and disseminate new knowledge into the health care system. Researchers in the BRaIN Program are primarily located at the Montreal General Hospital site of the MUHC (MGH-MUHC), at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) and at the Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE).


Dr. Keith Murai is a professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University and is a recipient of Canada Research Chair and EJLB Scholarships. His research is focused on understanding how the brain encodes information at synapses, the intimate contact points between cells within neural circuits. Work from his research team has provided insight into cellular and molecular pathways that regulate synapses and the contribution of glial cells to brain development and function. An important goal of the research is to discover novel strategies for treating conditions where dysfunction of neural circuits occurs. Current and past leadership roles include Chair of the Montreal General Hospital Facility Animal Care Committee and Treasurer of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience. Dr. Murai's research has been published in journals such as the Journal of Neuroscience, PNAS, Journal of Cell Biology, Nature Neuroscience, Current Biology, Neuron, Cell Reports, and Cell. His work is currently supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Pfizer-FRQS and Brain Canada.

Dr. Kathy Mullen is a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University and a founding member of the McGill Vision Research unit. Her areas of research and expertise are in human vision, specializing in colour vision and disease processes, such as multiple sclerosis, that may affect the neural aspects of vision. Her research uses functional brain imaging, brain stimulation, behavioural measurement, and computational modeling to identify the different stages along the visual pathway, from thalamus to cortex, involved in colour vision. She is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America in recognition of her contributions to vision sciences. She has taken an active role in leadership within the McGill community as a program committee member of the Integrated Program in Neuroscience (IPN). Dr. Mullen's research has been published in journals such as the Journal of Neurophysiology, Brain Stimulation, European Journal of Neuroscience, Scientific Reports, and Journal of the Optical Society of America. Her work is currently supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Dr. Andrée Lessard holds a doctorate in physiology from the Université de Montréal. She pursued her training in neuropharmacology and neuroanatomy at Cornell University as a postdoc and instructor and was recruited by the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) as an assistant professor. Dr. Lessard has published a number of first- and corresponding-authored original manuscripts investigating brain circuitry involved in stress and mental diseases. At UMSOM, she also directed a brain bank on psychiatric diseases. She brings her expertise and experience as both principal investigator and manager to our neuroscientific community.