Neuroethics Canada Wins First Place at 2018 Brain Awareness Week Sticker Design Contest

Neuroethics Canada is pleased to share that our submission for the 2018 Brain Awareness Week (BAW) Sticker Design Contest won first place and will be the face of next year’s festivities!
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and votes! 
You can read more about our in-house brain illustrator, Marianne Bacani, her experience on creating the winning design, and what Neuroethics Canada has planned for the 2018 BAW here:
In the meantime, make sure to follow us online through our socials (@NeuroethicsUBC) for the latest and other updates about our free open-to-the-public events for 2018 BAW and other projects!
We look forward to seeing you all at next year’s BAW celebrations!



What’s New in Stem Cell Research? From the Lab to the Clinic and Beyond

Monday, December 11, 2017
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Community Centre
2690 Larch St., Vancouver, BC, V6K 4K9

Come join us for a lively discussion with our experts about opportunities and challenges in stem cell research and treatment.

FREE ADMISSION – Everyone is welcome!
Light refreshments will be served.

RSVP now!


Harold Atkins, MD, FRCPC
Hematologist, Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, The Ottawa Hospital
Associate Professor of Clinical Hematology, University of Ottawa

Tania Bubela, JD, PhD
Professor and Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

Fabio Rossi, MD, PhD
Director, The Biomedical Research Centre
Professor, Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia

Shelly Benjaminy, MSc
PhD Candidate, Experimental Medicine Program, University of British Columbia

Judy Illes, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS
Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics
Professor of Neurology, University of British Columbia

RSVP now!

GTG Community Conversations WHAT'S NEW IN STEM CELL RESEARCH Dec 11 2017

Vote for our design submission at the 2018 Brain Awareness Week Sticker Design Contest!

Neuroethics Canada is excited to share that our entry for the 2018 Brain Awareness Week Sticker Design Contest has been chosen as 1 of the top 5 finalists!

Our design, as seen below, was created by our in-house “brain illustrator”, Marianne Bacani, as a representation of the diverse and festive annual worldwide celebration of the brain!

Help us win by voting for our design through the link below:

BAW Sticker Design Contest Marianne Bacani

Voting is open to the public and will be live until November 30, 2017.


Brain Awareness Week:
Brain Awareness Week is the global campaign, hosted by the Dana Foundation, to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. Every March, BAW unites the efforts of partner organizations worldwide in a celebration of the brain for people of all ages. Activities are limited only by the organizers’ imaginations and include open days at neuroscience labs; exhibitions about the brain; lectures on brain-related topics; social media campaigns; displays at libraries and community centers; classroom workshops; and more.

Vote for our video at the 2017 IHDCYH Talks Video Competition!

Neuroethics Canada is excited to share that our video submission, Words, Worlds, and Wisdom, is in competition!

Words, Worlds and Wisdom: Conversations in ethics and neurodevelopment disorders

Watch the video here:



Please VOTE for our video by clicking on the “thumbs up” icon before November 30th, 2017 at 5:00 pm EDT!

This video highlights the importance of the terminology used to describe disabilities around the world with an emphasis on words used to describe neurodevelopment disorders (NDDs). Words can both reflect and propagate how children with disabilities are perceived and may perceive themselves. “Words, Worlds, and Wisdom” provides examples, including the use of person-first and identity-first language in English-speaking countries, as well as stigmatizing and elevating terminology from other languages. We conclude with suggestions for making the best choices about language to refer to students with NDDs.


The IHDCYH Talks Video Competition is a unique opportunity to submit a short video that presents a clear evidence-based message to a lay audience that is designed to have a positive impact on the health of children, youth and families. The objective of the competition is to profile research and ideas within IHDCYH’s mandate to improve knowledge translation and help demonstrate the impact that evidence can and does have on maternal, reproductive, child and youth health in Canada.

Neuroethics: Anticipating the Future

Over the last decade, there have been unparalleled advances in our understanding of brain sciences. But with the development of tools that can manipulate brain function, there are pressing ethical implications to this newfound knowledge of how the brain works. In Neuroethics: Anticipating the Future, a distinguished group of contributors tackle current and critical ethical questions and offer forward-looking insights.

What new balances should be struck between diagnosis and prediction, or invasive and non-invasive interventions, given the rapid advances in neuroscience? Are new criteria needed for the clinical definition of death for those eligible for organ donation? As data from emerging technologies are made available on public databases, what frameworks will maximize benefits while ensuring privacy of health information? These challenging questions, along with numerous other neuroethical concerns, are discussed in depth.

Written by eminent scholars from diverse disciplines including neurology and neuroscience, ethics and law, public health and philosophy, this new volume on neuroethics sets out the many necessary considerations for the future. It is essential reading for the field of neuroethics, neurosciences and psychology, and an invaluable resource for physicians in neurological medicine, academics in humanities and law, and health policy makers.

Neuroethics: Anticipating the Future is now available. Get your copy now!

Café Neuroéthique – Inside Out: The Science Behind Kids’ Brains, A UBC Centennial Event

Monday, June 6, 2016
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Science World at the TELUS World of Science
1455 Quebec St., Vancouver, BC, V6A 3Z7

Come join us for a lively discussion with our experts on the science behind kids’ brains!

FREE ADMISSION – Everyone is welcome!

Jehannine Austin, PhD, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia
Patrick McDonald, MD, FRCSC, Div. of Pediatric Neurosurgery, BC Children’s Hospital
Alex Rauscher, PhD, Dept. of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia
Julie Robillard, PhD, Moderator, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, University of British Columbia
Judy Illes, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS, Moderator, National Core for Neuroethics, University of British Columbia

Please join us!

Inside Out The Science Behind Kids Brains June 6 2016 Science World

Smartphones need a redesign to improve brain function: UBC prof

Rather than improving our mental abilities, smartphones are increasingly blamed for ruining our brains. We replace valuable face-to-face social interactions with a constant virtual connection and complain that it’s harder to concentrate.

Peter Reiner, a professor at the National Core for Neuroethics at UBC, argues that our devices should be redesigned to foster healthier connections between humans and technology so we can use our brains for more challenging activities.

Can smartphones and other technologies improve brain function and make us smarter?

The short answer is yes, but not in the way that people normally think. The fact of the matter is that existing tools to enhance cognitive function don’t work very well. This is probably because our brains are already working very well and efforts to improve them are starting to bump up against the hard limits of our inherent biology.

We are suggesting that it may be time to stop trying to boost the brain from within and take advantage of the technology at our fingertips – the algorithms in our computers and smartphones. In a very palpable sense, the distinction between our brains and our devices is beginning to dissolve so much so that I’ve begun to call these tools “technologies of the extended mind.” We can best improve our cognitive abilities by capitalizing on the blending of brain and technology.

What is the potential for new technologies to improve the brain’s abilities?

The potential is huge but we need to find a way to use these technologies more wisely.

Consider this example. You are at dinner and someone mentions a movie that came out a few years ago that had wonderfully evocative music. When the question arises as to who wrote the music, how likely is it that in the next moment someone will reach for their smartphone and say, “I’ll just Google it.” Given how unremarkable such an event is today (and it is remarkable that it is unremarkable), it shows how seamlessly technology has become integrated in our lives.

The very same technologies that enhance our cognitive abilities degrade them at every turn. We have allowed our reliance upon our technologies of the extended mind to blind us to the fact that they are also damaging our cognitive health – most notably by distracting us every time they demand our attention.

If we are serious about using technology to improve our cognitive function, we need to change the design of our technologies. Today, most features of our computers and smartphones – even the ones that are seemingly offered for free – are geared towards corporate profit margins. What we need is nothing short of a revolution in IT design in which the profit objective is tied to the cognitive health of the user.

What would smartphones that improve our cognitive abilities look like?

One approach that merits further consideration is the idea of calm technology meaning devices that inform without distracting. For example, your phone might automatically go silent when it knows that you are in a meeting or sleeping unless the message is urgent.

In order to find solutions to improve our relationship with technology, we are going to need a broad group of people working on the problem. We’ll need researchers who can examine the benefits and disadvantages of technology, policymakers and behaviour scientists who can come up with creative ways to encourage best practices, and technology designers who can improve the user experience by creating devices that boost our cognitive abilities.

Reiner examines these issues in a recently published article in Nature Outlook: Cognitive Health.


This article was published on March 04, 2016 by Ms. Heather Amos (, Public Affairs, UBC
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