Awards: Trainees honoured with Brain Star Awards

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Congratulations to PhD Candidate Roger Hudson, and Postdoctoral Fellow Jeffrey Weiler, PhD, who were awarded Brain Star Awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Association for Neuroscience.

The Award is designed to recognize the excellence of research done in Canada by students and trainees in neuroscience, mental health and addiction, and aims to promote the excellence of the research and its potential benefits to the health of Canadians.

Weiler was honoured for work published in Nature Neuroscience that demonstrated that rather than relying on processing done in the brain, correction of hand position following disturbance depends on much faster reflexes, which occur at the level of the spinal cord. This work, done under the supervision of principal investigator Andrew Pruszynski, PhD, was the first to show that spinal circuits can in fact generate efficient corrective responses to help control the position of the hand.

Supervised by Steven, Laviolette, PhD, Hudson was recognized for his research characterizing how cannabidiol (CBD) helps lessen negative psychiatric side effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis. Their research shows that by administering CBD and THC together, they were able to reverse the anxiety-like and addictive-like behaviours caused by the THC.

“Previous research has provided evidence that CBD can protect against THC-induced psychosis and learning and memory changes. However, this study is the first to identify underlying mechanisms mediating CBD's anti-psychotic profile,” said Hudson. “This is a fantastic honour that will help to support my research pursuits at Western University. This absolutely would not have been possible without the enduring and crucial support from my colleagues and mentors that continue to provide extraordinary examples of ambition, leadership, and inspiration.”