Revolutionizing mental health research
Until recently, we lacked the technology to adequately study the living brain in all its complexities; however, new research and technologies, pioneer by Ludmer Centre researchers, have resulted in significant advancements in the fields of genetic mapping, brain imaging and epigenetics, among others. The next decade will be marked by an exponential growth in brain-based datasets. However, the technological capacity – neuroinformatics- to apply high-capacity computational analysis to these datasets remains too expensive to duplicate across laboratories. Moreover, the ability to utilize and continually adapt and advance this infrastructure requires a cadre of innovative highly-specilised neuroinformatics experts.
Big-data revolution in mental health
The Ludmer Centre collaboration was built on the belief that science is on the cusp of a revolution in our ability to understand and treat mental illnesses provided we can bring together the right infrastructure and expertise to analysis these datasets. Thus, the centre was created in 2013 to unite leading neuroscience researchers with state-of-the-art neuroinformatics infrastructure at the McGill Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (MCIN).
Combined, and without duplicating unnecessary infrastructure, the Ludmer Centre institutions have the technology, datasets and expertise in neuroscience and neuroinformatics to unravel the brain’s complexity.
- Cutting-edge neuroinformatics infrastructure: Founded on 30 years of innovative research, MCIN is a world leader in neuroinformatics platform, technology and tool development. The CBRAIN computational platform, research software and staff expertise are utilised free-of-charge by hundreds of researchers globally and are continually expanded.
- Brain imaging leader: In addition to a large bank of brain imaging datasets and tools, MCIN is developing the first interactive visual atlas of the human brain.
- Unique databases: Drawing on two longitudinal birth cohort studies, the centre has established the first, and only, two databases globally to encompass genetic, epigenetic, imaging and clinical datasets.
- Leading research: Our researchers lead numerous studies and participate with hundreds of collaborators globally.
- Training tomorrow’s researchers: We mentor new researchers and provide training on applying a big-data approach utilising the centre’s infrastructure and support services.
We mentor new researchers and provide training on applying a big-data approach utilising the centre’s infrastructure and support services.
The centre’s ability to apply powerful analytic strategies –neuroinformatics– to integrate multidisciplinary heterogeneous datasets will dramatically advance and provide unique perspectives in our understanding of mental health and mental illnesses. Researchers are only beginning to relate symptoms to abnormal interactions between specific brain networks; increased understanding of brain-level symptoms will eventually enable us to pinpoint the causes of abnormal interactions.1
Currently, no other Canadian or international initiative has the Ludmer Centre’s infrastructure and research expertise and proven track record for big-data analysis in mental health.
The Ludmer Centre would not be possible without people like you. The generous support of visionaries, community leaders, corporations, foundations, and the individuals impacted by mental health problems, as well as their families and friends, are helping us create the next revolution in mental health prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Help make the research happen.
- Eugene Rubin M.D., Ph.D. Demystifying Psychiatry, Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia—Similar and Different. Psychology Today, Mar 05, 2013