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Caroline Menard is quoted in a Washington Post article entitled “How inflammation in the body may explain depression in the brain”. Professor Menard explains her research showing that inflammation affects the brain (more…)


On October 6th, during the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec’s awards ceremony, pharmacist Marie-France Demers was awarded the Ordre’s highest distinction, the Louis-Hébert Award! The Louis-Hébert award is the highest distinction of the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec. It recognizes the career of a current or former member who has distinguished himself or herself in a sustained manner through his or her commitment to the profession, his or her influence within and outside the practice environment, and his or her high ethical standards, making him or her a model for the profession.   (more…)


The official inauguration of the “À visage humain” exhibit took place on October 6, 2022 at the CERVO Brain Research Center. The exhibition “À visage humain” is part of a series of initiatives by the CERVO  aimed at providing the Capitale-Nationale region and its scientific, cultural and community milieu with a unifying project that combines knowledge, arts, memory and mental health, all under the umbrella of innovation.

Learn more about the exhibition in this interview with Francine Saillant broadcast on TVA

and on the  event webpage


Congratulations to Charles Morin for his leadership!

A research consortium led by Professor Charles Morin, from the School of Psychology and the CERVO Brain Research Centre, has received $3.8M in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to conduct research on sleep and insomnia. This consortium brings together some thirty researchers who will combine their expertise to advance knowledge on these important determinants of individual and public health.

Read more about this story on the  ULaval Nouvelles website (in French only)


Summary of the discovery published by Jean Hamann (ULaval News)

How does our brain learn? A study specifies the role of a neuromodulator, noradrenaline, in reinforcement learning

It is said that practice makes perfect. There is no doubt that this proverb is true, but the neural mechanisms by which repetition of a task can lead to an improvement in its execution are still largely unknown. A study published today in Nature lifts part of the veil on the subject and clarifies the role of a neuromodulator, noradrenaline, in this process.

The first author of this study, Vincent Breton-Provencher, from the Faculty of Medicine and the CERVO brain research centre at Laval University, undertook the research that led to this publication while doing a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Mriganka Sur’s team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Our work was aimed at understanding the functioning of the neural circuits that control noradrenaline and their involvement in task performance and learning reinforcement,” he says.

Noradrenaline is mainly produced by neurons in the locus coeruleus, an area located between the spinal cord and the brain. “The cell bodies of the neurons that produce noradrenaline are located in the locus coeruleus, but their axons extend into several areas of the brain. This is what allows them to modulate functions as varied as attention, arousal, vigilance, sleep, learning and reinforcement,” Breton-Provencher points out.

Read the rest of this news (in French) on the website ULaval Nouvelles

Read the original research article in Nature:

Vincent Breton-Provencher, Gabrielle T. Drummond, Jiesi Feng, Yulong Li & Mriganka Sur. Spatiotemporal dynamics of noradrenaline during learned behaviour. Nature (2022).


Congratulations to Laurence Dion-Albert, a doctoral student in neuroscience at the CERVO Research Centre, under the supervision of Caroline Ménard, who has been awarded the FRQS Relève étoile Jacques-Genest award for May!

She wins this award for the publication

  Vascular and blood-brain barrier-related changes underlie stress responses and resilience in female mice and depression in human tissue, published in : Nature Communications


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and one in five people will be affected in their lifetime. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is responsible for protecting the brain and preventing toxins, pathogens and harmful inflammatory molecules in the bloodstream from entering the brain. In addition, it allows water, nutrients and vitamins to pass through to the brain to feed the neurons. The laboratory where Laurence Dion-Albert works has previously shown alterations in the BBB in male mice exposed to chronic stress as well as in men with MDD. Interestingly, these changes were restricted to a region important for emotional control, the nucleus accumbens. In this study, Laurence Dion-Albert and colleagues report for the first time alterations of the BBB in the prefrontal cortex of female mice and women with depression. This region is involved in anxiety and self-esteem. The results demonstrate that BBB dysfunction plays an important role in the stress response in mice and in MDD in humans in a gender-specific manner. These results could lead to the discovery of new mechanisms and innovative diagnostic tools in mental health to help men and women worldwide.



Congratulations to Archana Gengatharan of Armen Saghatelyan’s lab for winning the Marlene Reimer award, which is the first place in the Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN) – Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction (CIHR-INMHA) Brain Star Award competition for the following article:

Archana Gengatharan , Sarah Malvaut , Alina Marymonchyk , Majid Ghareghani , Marina Snapyan , Judith Fischer-Sternjak , Jovica Ninkovic , Magdalena Götz , Armen Saghatelyan. Adult neural stem cell activation in mice is regulated by the day/night cycle and intracellular calcium dynamics. Cell. Volume 184, issue 3. P709-722.E13


Read a summary of the discovery on the CAN website:

Stem cells activation in the brain is regulated by day and night


The editor of the scientific journal Scientific Reports has published a list of key articles in the field of super-resolution microscopy, including a publication by Paul De Koninck, Flavie Lavoie-Cardinal and their team at the CERVO research center.



Super-resolution microscopy encompasses optical microscopy techniques that produce images in which structures are laterally resolved beyond the diffraction limit of light (250nm). These techniques have revolutionized fluorescence microscopy and enabled probing cellular structure in unprecedented detail. Since Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell and William Moerner were awarded the 2014 Nobel prize in Chemistry for developing super resolved fluorescence microscopy, the methodologies have continuously evolved and are becoming increasingly amenable to real time and quantitative imaging.  Super resolution imaging is now also being used in conjunction with other microscopy techniques to further extend their abilities to uncover nanoscale detail. This Collection showcases the latest research presenting applications of super resolution microscopy—to characterize cellular ultrastructure and dynamics, in medicine—as well as technological improvements and quantitative methods applied to the techniques.





View the Editor’s choice: super-resolution microscopy here





Read the article by the CERVO teams here:





Lavoie-Cardinal, F., Bilodeau, A., Lemieux, M. et al. Neuronal activity remodels the F-actin based submembrane lattice in dendrites but not axons of hippocampal neurons. Sci Rep 10, 11960 (2020).