The central nervous system (CNS, the brain and spinal cord together) is perhaps the most complex biological entity in the world. The CNS allows us to experience our environment, to feel pleasure and pain, and to remember events that take place in our lives. Understanding how the CNS works is the broad goal of much of neuroscience research. Disorders of the CNS, including everything from autism to chronic pain to Alzheimer’s disease, exact an increasing toll on our society and yet we have no successful treatment, let alone cures, for these disorders. New, more efficient treatments, and possibly even cures for these disorders, may only be possible by better understanding the CNS.
Much of CNS function remains a mystery. But recently there has been an evolution in the tools scientists can use to image and manipulate the brain and spinal cord with unprecedented speed and accuracy. We propose to build a sophisticated imaging facility that will take advantage of recently developed imaging technologies to allow researchers to better probe the function of the brain, in an awake and behaving mouse. This Facility will be unique in Canada and serve as a resource for all Canadian neuroscientists to help propel the research across this country to answer fundamental questions about CNS function that previously could not even have been asked. By uniting research across Canada, our goal is to build foundational knowledge of CNS function and dysfunction that will enable the development of better therapeutics for all Canadians.