Neuroscience research capacity boosted by addition of Mohajerani

The University of Lethbridge has added to its internationally recognized research capacity in neuroscience by appointing Dr. Majid H. Mohajerani as the new CAIP Chair in Brain Health and Dementia.

Dr. Majid Mohajerani comes to the University after serving as a research associate at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy.

Mohajerani is the third of four new research Chairs being added to the University as part of the Government of Alberta's Campus Alberta Innovation Program (CAIP) Chairs plan. Last year, aquatic health expert Dr. Greg Pyle and remote sensing researcher Dr. Chris Hopkinson were attracted to the U of L through the program.

The government is contributing $1 million for four Chairs, over the course of seven years, for a total investment of $7 million.

Vice-President (Research) Dr. Dan Weeks says this latest CAIP Chair is a tremendous addition for the University that will compliment the world class research currently undertaken at the U of L’s Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience (CCBN).

“The work that Dr. Mohajerani has undertaken in brain mapping, and in stroke research, is groundbreaking and has been recognized nationally,” says Weeks. “This expertise, combined with the world-class talent that already resides at the U of L, will ensure that important discoveries continue to be made on our campus that will improve the quality of local, national and international communities.”

In 2010, Mohajerani received the New Investigator Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Additionally, he received the Henry J.M. Barnett Award –presented annually to the highest rated investigator working in the area of stroke research.

Mohajerani comes to the University after serving as a research associate at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy, where he received his PhD, and at the University of British Columbia.

“I had offers from several institutions within Canada, the United States and Europe and chose to work in the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience, University of Lethbridge because the CCBN is a world class research facility including some of the top researchers in the system and behavioural neuroscience,” says Mohajerani.

Mohajerani’s lab employs in vivo microscopic imaging technologies such as two-photon microscopy and functional imaging to study neural activity on the subcellular, cellular, and circuit level in real-time. A central goal of Mohajerani's research program is to use these experimental approaches to study the neurophysiological mechanisms that allow the cerebral cortex to develop normally and change throughout life in response to new experiences (eg. learning) or diseases such as stroke.

The CAIP Chairs plan is part of the Government of Alberta's Campus Alberta collaborative initiative and will provide research Chairs to Alberta's four Comprehensive Academic and Research Intensive (CARI) institutions: the University of Lethbridge, Athabasca University, the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.

“The Campus Alberta Innovation Program brings some of the world’s best research talent to Alberta to discover and create new knowledge in priority areas including human health,” says Dave Hancock, Premier of Alberta and Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education. “I welcome Dr. Mohajerani to the University of Lethbridge and to Alberta. His leadership and expertise will bring the original and innovative thinking that CAIP research chair recipients are renowned for. CAIP and Campus Alberta’s research facilities are making important discoveries right here in Alberta and those discoveries will have benefits that reach far beyond our borders.”