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Getting off the ground

Starting a research lab in academia

Monday September 28, 2020
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Thinking about a career in academia? How much do you know about the steps involved in starting a lab? What must be negotiated with the university to obtain a lab space and manage funding? How do you kick-start your research program while also training students? How can social media help to build your research program? Join us for a panel discussion with early career and established researchers on their experiences!

Speakers will answer questions and discuss their own experiences and provide examples of practical steps to take and challenges they faced along the way. Students can submit questions during the discussion for panelists to answer at the end of the session.

This 2-hour Zoom event is scheduled for Monday September 28, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Learning objectives

The goal of this event is to help students gain knowledge about what’s involved with starting wet and dry labs, and advice about what to expect when first establishing your research program.

Webinar video

The full webinar video has been saved and is embedded below. You can watch the entire video complete with chapter listings on YouTube.

List of panel speakers

Dr. Habib Benali

Dr. Benali was the director of the unit INSERM 678, Laboratory of Functional Imaging of the French National of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) until 2013, and deputy director of Biomedical Imaging Laboratory, INSERM - The National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Paris 6 University (UPMC), France, until January 2016. He was also the co-director of the International Laboratory of Neuroimaging and Modelisation of the INSERM-UPMC and Montreal University until 2015.

Dr. Benali is currently the Scientific Director at the PERFORM Centre and a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, at Concordia University
Montreal, QC, Canada. His current research group interests are in human brain computational modelling and functional connectivity analysis using multimodal analysis of electromagnetic and hemodynamic processes in the brain and spinal cord. He developped mathematical models to better understand the mechanisms of brain activity and neurovascular coupling using (BOLD fMRI, MRS, EEG, optical imaging) signals. He proposed macroscopic models of the spatial extent of the anatomical networks and their functional dynamics. The overarching goals of his research program is to address the problem of developing models for the numerical simulation of the humain brain activity and physiopathological neurodegenerative disease through an integrated biomedical approach.

Dr. Linda Booij

Dr. Linda Booij obtained a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology at Leiden University in the Netherlands, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Neuroscience at McGill University. She is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Psychology at Concordia University and holds a Concordia University Research Chair in Eating Disorders and an FRQS-chercheur boursier senior award. Dr. Booij is also a researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre. Her research program focuses on how early adverse environmental exposures influences brain development, DNA methylation and risk for mental disorders; especially eating disorders. The studies are conducted in longitudinal community cohorts and in clinical populations, and use a combination of (epi)genetic measures, neuro-imaging (PET and MRI), behavioral and cognitive assessments. The studies in her lab are funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Quebec Brain Imaging Network, and NARSAD.

Dr. Maryse Fortin

Dr. Maryse Fortin received her BSc (2008; Specialization Athletic Therapy) from Concordia University and PhD (2013; Rehabilitation Science) from the University of Alberta. She then completed postdoctoral fellowships (2013-2016) at McGill University (Orthopedic Surgery) and the PERFORM Centre (Concordia University, Electrical Engineering).

Dr. Fortin is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Kinesiology and Applied Physiology at Concordia University. Her primary area of research and clinical expertise is in musculoskeletal spine imaging and rehabilitation. Her research program focuses on understanding the role of the paraspinal musculature in the development and recurrence of low back pain and neck pain, using structural and advanced MRI and ultrasound imaging applications in order to quantify temporal muscle degenerative changes and altered muscle function as possible factors associated with persistent pain and related disability.

Dr. Christophe Grova

Christophe Grova is Associate Professor affiliated to the Department of Physics of Concordia University and a research member of PERFORM Centre since July 2014, while remaining adjunct Professor affiliated to Biomedical Engineering Dpt and Neurology and Neurosurgery Dpt at McGill Faculty of Medicine. He is also affiliated to the epilepsy group of the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), the McConnell Brain Imaging Center of the MNI and a member of Physnum team at Centre de Recherches Mathématiques.

He received his Engineering and Master degrees in biomedical engineering at the University of Technology of Compiègne (France) in 1998, followed by a Ph.D. in SPECT/MRI registration at University of Rennes (France). From 2003 to 2008, his postdoctoral studies at the MNI were focussed on EEG source imaging of epileptic discharges and the correspondence with EEG/fMRI results, while acting as part time research associate for the set-up of the MEG centre of Université de Montreal (2006-2008). Dr Grova has been assistant Professor at McGill from July 2008 to July 2014.

Since 2008, he is the director of the “Multimodal Functional Imaging Laboratory” (MultiFunkIm) which is now located on both McGill and Concordia campus. His areas of expertise are EEG/MEG source localization, multimodal data fusion involving EEG/MEG, fMRI and fNIRS, for application in epilepsy and sleep research. Since September 2014, C. Grova is chairing the Integration of PERFORM Platforms committee, aiming at facilitating communication/interaction between PERFORM platforms. His team is also handling the development and validation of two software packages: MEM in Brainstorm for EEG/MEG source localization and NIRSTORM for fNIRS data analysis).

Dr. Mihaela Iordanova

Dr. Mihaela Iordanova is an Associate Professor at Concordia University, a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Behavioural Neuroscience, and a 2016 NARSAD Young Investigator. She obtained a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) and a PhD from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia where she studied the role of dopamine and opioid receptors in aversive prediction error. Following her doctoral work, she examined how established memories can be updated by imbuing them aversive valence (Cardiff University) or by downregulating previously established expectations (National Institute on Drug Abuse, University of Maryland). She employs a variety of behavioural designs informed my theoretical frameworks in conjunction with recording and modulatory neuroscience techniques (chemogentics, otpogenetics, neuropharmacology). In her own lab, Dr. Iordanova focuses on studying the role of dopamine in appetitive and aversive prediction error, as well as cortico-amygdala regulation of memory updating in fear and reward. In 2020, Dr. Iordanova was the recipient of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award.

Dr. Alisa Piekny

Dr. Alisa Piekny is an Associate Professor in Biology, and holds a Tier 2 Concordia University Research Chair in Cancer Cell Biology. She has a BSc (Honors) in Biology from Queen’s University, and an MSc in Molecular Genetics, followed by a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Calgary. During her PhD, she studied the pathways regulating cell shape changes required for tissue morphogenesis in C. elegans. For her post-doctoral work, she worked with Dr. Michael Glotzer at the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, Austria where she studied the cytoskeletal regulation of human cell division. Her lab uses both C. elegans and cultured human cells as model systems to study the mechanisms regulating cell division and migration. They also collaborate with groups in Chemistry and Engineering to develop novel anti-cancer therapies, as well as tools for diagnosis and drug delivery.

Program and schedule

This panel event consists of an online discussion among a diverse group of faculty researchers, who will answer questions about their experiences and process of first building and establishing their research lab in academia.

10:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. Opening remarks, speaker introductions
10:10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Panel discussion with Drs Benali, Booij, Fortin,Grova, and Piekny
10:10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Establishing your lab and finances
10:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. Managing students and lab staff
10:50 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. Collaborations and networking
11:10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Business and communication
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Summary, Q&A period, closing remarks

Event organizer

Fadi Touma

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