Montréal research news: 5 recent breakthroughs

published on April 20, 2021
What's New in Montréal Trends and Technology

Montréal is one of the world’s top student cities. In the most recent rankings of QS Best Student Cities, we came first in North America. Why is that? Well, it’s the affordable cost of living, the vibrant culture, and the plethora of post-secondary school options. And it’s also because the research scene in Montréal is booming. In Montréal, we ask big questions—and then we go in search of answers.

Here are just a few recent research breakthroughs coming out of Montréal.



Preliminary data from Montréal study shows vaccines offer protection against COVID variant

A group of Montréal health researchers are saying that their preliminary results offer positive news: that available vaccines likely offer at least some protection to variants. “The vaccines that are being deployed are able to generate some level of immune protection against the variant,” said Andres Finzi, a researcher at the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal. The study focused in particular on the U.K. variant of the virus and followed 32 health workers who received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

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Major boost to brain research with new $4M grant to help advance the field of neuroscience

McGill neuroscientists are part of consortium of research sites that aims to accelerate the development and dissemination of optogenetic and viral tools. Brain Canada recently announced the awarding of a $4M grant to the team. Optogenetics is a technique involving the use of light to monitor and control neurons, and it holds countless opportunities for the future of neuroscience research, drug development, diagnostics, and treatment of brain disorders.

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Predicting when epileptic seizures will happen

People with epilepsy could have a method to receive advance notice of an oncoming seizure, thanks to a microchip planted under the scalp. Science fiction? Not for two researchers at the Université de Montréal. They’re working on identifying markers that will make it possible to predict seizures—or at least to detect them as quickly as possible—so that epileptics have enough time to get to a safe place or get help from others.

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Concordia researchers discover organic compounds to replace heavy metals in batteries

From our cell phones to our electric vehicles, batteries of all shapes and sizes keep us connected to each other. A common criticism of batteries, however, is that they have a large environmental footprint and use toxic heavy metals. A professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at Concordia addresses these issues in a new research paper. The gist of it: nitroaromatic organic cathode materials that have high electrochemical stability (and are better for the environment).

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Happiness really does come for free

Economic growth is often prescribed as a sure way of increasing the well-being of people in low-income countries, but a study led by McGill suggests that there may be good reason to question this assumption. The results suggest that high levels of subjective well-being can be achieved with minimal monetization, challenging the perception that economic growth will automatically raise life satisfaction among low-income populations.

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