Research Round-up: five must-read stories

Thursday, May 8th, 2014
The Prime Minister and the Sonenberg laboratory team

The Prime Minister and the Sonenberg laboratory team

Investing in neurological disorder research is a no-brainer: 
On May 1 McGill welcomed Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Goodman Cancer Centre for a tour of the laboratory of renowned researcher Nahum Sonenberg. Following the visit the Prime Minister announced a new investment from the Azrieli Neurodevelopmental Research Program, funded by The Azrieli Foundation, the Brain Canada Foundation and the Government of Canada through the Canada Brain Research Fund, which will aim to develop new diagnostics, treatment and prevention strategies for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and fragile-x syndrome (FXS) disorders. Dr. Alan Evans and Dr. Nahum Sonenberg will receive over $3.7 million to advance this research. Guy Lafleur of Fondation de petites tresors, a charity that advocates for the mental health of children and adolescents in Quebec, attended the announcement at Montreal’s Palais de Congres.
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Star Power:
Neutron stars, the extraordinarily dense stellar bodies created when massive stars collapse, are known to host the strongest magnetic fields in the universe – as much as a billion times more powerful than any man-made electromagnet. But some neutron stars are much more strongly magnetized than others, and this disparity has long puzzled astrophysicists. McGill’s Physicists Gourgouliatos and Cumming shed new light on neutron star magnetic fields and their new findings could help advance understanding of matter at extreme densities.
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Big Data takes on the Big C:
McGill Profs Guillaume Bourque and Bartha Maria Knoppers join a consortium sharing $7.3 million in funding focused on manipulating vast amounts of data to help find cures for cancer. This effort will require thousands of high performance computers working in tandem, along with the yet-unavailable software tools that can coordinate such a daunting and complex exercise. At the heart of the project will be a new cloud computing facility, the Cancer Genome Collaboratory, capable of processing genetic profiles collected by the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) from cancers in some 25,000 patients around the world.
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The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry:
An international team of pain researchers led by scientists at McGill University have discovered that mice and rats are stressed by male experimenters and their reaction may skew research findings. What’s to be done?
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Reason to stop believing what you hear about antioxidants:
What is the secret to aging more slowly and living longer? Not antioxidants, apparently. Many people believe that free radicals, the sometimes-toxic molecules produced by our bodies as we process oxygen, are the culprit behind aging. Yet a number of studies in recent years have produced evidence that the opposite may be true. McGill’s researchers are behind the myth busting study.
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The week in pictures:

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