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PERFORM Centre poised to advance world-class preventive health research

New scientific director brings passion and experience to lead the centre in meeting its tremendous potential
September 11, 2012
By Christian Durand

As the PERFORM Centre’s first scientific director, Louis Bherer will combine his experience and passion for preventive health to lead the centre’s strategy for excellence in interdisciplinary research.

“Louis has a proven track record as a distinguished clinical researcher in the areas of exercise, lifestyle, cognition, and aging. With his experience helping direct research centres, and as an active collaborator with many other research groups, he is well-positioned to lead PERFORM’s research activity, and share the overall strategic leadership of the centre with the centre’s chief administrative officer,” says Concordia Vice-President of Research and Graduate Studies Graham Carr in announcing the appointment, which takes effect September 15.

On September 15, Louis Bherer joins Concordia’s PERFORM Centre as its first scientific director. | Photo by Concordia University
On September 15, Louis Bherer joins Concordia’s PERFORM Centre as its first scientific director. | Photo by Concordia University

“As the centre’s first scientific director, he will contribute significantly to Concordia becoming an institution that is recognized for its research excellence and interdisciplinary approaches to issues such as health,” he adds.

“The PERFORM Centre represents an unprecedented opportunity for advancing groundbreaking research on prevention in Canada,” says Bherer. “I look forward to collaborating with colleagues from across the university and from other institutions to fulfill PERFORM’s tremendous potential.”

The PERFORM Centre, which opened its doors in fall 2011, is a unique facility dedicated to improving health through prevention. The centre combines research, education and community engagement in the areas of physical activity, rehabilitation, nutrition and lifestyle change. PERFORM brings together researchers, students and program participants in a state-of-the-art clinical research facility to create an integrated and comprehensive environment that promotes healthy living.

Bherer’s connections with both local and international research groups, and his emphasis on partnering and collaborating with other leading researchers in complementary fields, makes him the ideal choice to lead PERFORM’s research agenda.

He will be the first to hold the PERFORM Chair in Preventive Health Science Research and has also been appointed as a full professor in the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Bherer has been a professor of cognitive psychology and neuropsychology in the Department of Psychology at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He has also served as the associate director of clinical research at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal.

Bherer obtained a master’s degree in cognitive psychology from Université Laval in 1996 and a PhD in neuropsychology from Université de Montréal in 2002. He then completed post-doctoral research in aging and neuroscience at the University of Illinois Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.

His research interests focus on cognitive functioning in normal aging and people at risk of cognitive decline due to chronic diseases and geriatric syndromes (hypertension, diabetes, frailty, etc). Bherer also studies the benefits of computer-based cognitive training and physical exercise interventions to maintain and improve cognitive performances in older adult populations.

He is currently the principal investigator on three grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, a Discovery grant from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and two grants from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Bherer has more than 50 scientific papers published or in press, has spoken at 60 talks worldwide and has co-authored a comprehensive book on aging and cognition.

Related links:

•    PERFORM Centre
•    “Laying the foundation for success at PERFORM Centre” — NOW, May 23, 2012 
•    Researching Better Health Through Prevention (Video)



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