How Does the Brain Really Work?
We rely on our senses in all aspects of everyday life: The neurons in your visual system, for example, are now making it possible for you to read this text. Unfortunately, many people suffer from some kind of impaired sensory function: In Canada alone, 600,000 people suffer from seeing disabilities while almost three million suffer from partial or total hearing loss. Many others have cognitive disabilities such as attention deficit or autism.
Neuroscientists such as Dr. Maurice Chacron believe that an understanding of brain function will help in the diagnosis and treatment of disabilities occurring because of brain damage or impaired sensory function. As a Canada Research Chair, Chacron is working on a research program that is designed to uncover the fundamental mechanisms by which neurons transmit information about environmental stimuli.
Chacron combines theory and experiments, using animal models that possess simpler but similar neural architecture to humans. To help explain experimental results and make further predictions, he is constructing mathematical models. In addition, by comparing different animal models, he is ensuring that what he discovers can be applied to a broad set of problems.
Chacron's research into brain function is expected to help doctors be more effective in their diagnosis and treatment of people suffering from impaired sensory function and/or mental disorders.