The ability to help people observe their own brain function with a view to modifying their thought processes will be one outcome from a $1.3 million federal investment in 14 research projects at the University of British Columbia.
UBC psychology professor Kalina Christoff will be applying her $100,000 grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to develop real-time data readouts of brain scans using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).
“The person will be able to think a thought and immediately see on the screen how that affects a specific region of their brain. They will be able to understand their thought processes better and move toward changing them, for example, reversing undesirable thinking patterns,” says Christoff. “This research will have exciting practical application to treating disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.”
Christoff adds that the UBC Cognitive Neuroscience of Thought Laboratory will be one of the few facilities in the world able to study human cognition through real-time brain imaging and observations of physiological and behavioural reactions.
“The CFI grant will help us develop research facilities that will place UBC at the forefront of cognitive neuroscience,” says Christoff.
Other UBC recipients of CFI funding will be advancing knowledge in diverse areas that include HIV therapy, plant genomics and political behaviour.
“We are delighted at the continuing support from CFI for innovative research that will ultimately improve the daily lives of Canadians and people around the world,” says Don Brooks, UBC Associate Vice President Research.
“These awards represent a strategic boost to the research capacities of the University of British Columbia,” says Dr. Eliot Phillipson, CFI President and CEO. “This funding allows Canada to attract and retain leading-edge researchers and provides our graduate students with access to world-class facilities and training environments.”
CFI is an independent corporation created by the federal government. Its mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and other non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians.
The CFI announced last week a total of $25.5 million to research projects across Canada through two funds: $19.6 million under the New Opportunities Fund (NOF); and $5.9 million under the Infrastructure Operating Fund which assists universities with the incremental operating and maintenance costs associated with new infrastructure projects.
The CFI’s New Opportunities Fund provides research infrastructure for faculty members to undertake leading-edge research. The fund also enables institutions to recruit new faculty members. A complete list of NOF projects, by university, can be found at: www.innovation.ca .