Healthy Brain Aging

Healthy Brain Aging research is focused on understanding the fundamental causes, and developing new and improved treatments, for neurological and mental health conditions affecting the aging brain.

The life expectancy of Canadians has risen significantly in the past century. The average Canadian now faces an increased risk of experiencing health issues associated with degenerating nervous and vascular systems. In an aging population, dementia has already become the most expensive medical condition in the Canadian health care system. Other brain conditions such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease, to name only two, are also a concern for our communities.

Researchers in the Healthy Brain Aging theme are working to better understand the interplay between aging and the increased risk of dysfunction in the nervous and vascular systems. They aim to identify new ways to detect and prevent diseases and conditions associated with the aging brain, as well as to improve treatments and outcomes for individuals already dealing with age-related brain health challenges.

Apply to join a Brain & Mental Health Team, or to read more about the teams click here.

Healthy Brain Aging Teams

As Canada's population ages, Alzheimer's disease and dementia are growing concerns. By 2031, greater than one in five Albertans will be age 65 or older. Members of the Dementia & Cognitive Disorders Team come from four faculties and span multiple disciplines. Led by Drs. Eric Smith and Roger Thompson, the team has collaborations focused around three areas:

  1. early detection and monitoring,
  2.  treatment and prevention,
  3. improving the lived experience, and
  4. mechanisms of cognitive decline and dementia, including clinical trials.

Dementia & Cognitive Disorders team leaders:
Primary Lead – Dr. Eric Smith 
Co-Lead – Dr. Roger Thompson

Dementia & Cognitive Disorders team members*:

Drs. Phil Barber, Brandy Callahan, Wayne Chen, Jonathan EppDavid Hogan, Richard Frayne, Zahra Goodarzi, Bradley Goodyear, Guiseppe Iaria, Zahinoor Ismail, Jayna Holroyd-Leduc, Jeff JosephYeonjung Lee, Meghan McDonough, Oury Monchi, Minh Dang Nguyen, Samuel Pichardo, Gerald Pfeffer, Bruce Pike, Marc Poulin, Pamela Roach, Eric Smith, Peter Stys, Roger Thompson, Lorraine Venturato

Dementia & Cognitive Disorders team contact:

*Names in bold are HBI Members

Nearly 100,000 Canadians have Parkinson's disease, with approximately 5,500 new cases diagnosed each year in Canada. The Movement Disorders team, led by Dr. Davide Martino, is focused on developing the Calgary Parkinson’s Research Initiative (CaPRI), a program that will allow the team to create a centre of excellence for large-scale Parkinson’s disease clinical research studies, thus providing patients with access to the latest treatments and therapies.

Movement Disorders team leaders:
Primary Lead – Dr. Davide Martino

Movement Disorders team members*:
Drs. Camila AquinoJan BraunVeronica BrunoSean Dukelow, Nils Forkert, Sarah Furtado, Zahra Goodarzi, Bradley GoodyearBin Hu, Zahinoor Ismail, Jeff Joseph, Zelma Kiss, Deborah Kurrasch, Davide Martino, Oury Monchi (associate member), David ParkBruce Pike, Tamara Pringsheim, Justyna Sarna, Keith Sharkey, Eric Smith, Patrick Whelan

Movement Disorders team contact:


CaPRI - Calgary Parkinson Research Initiative:
Calgary Parkinson Research Initiative (CaPRI) is a research network that will allow the University of Calgary to become a leader in basic and clinical research in the field of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and related disorders. It will facilitate understanding of the origins of the disease and its diverse symptoms, and will develop and test treatments to address them.

*Names in bold are HBI Members

One in four Canadians will have a stroke in their lifetime, with the risk increasing with age. The Stroke team’s research focuses on delivering the most recent and cutting-edge innovation in acute stroke diagnosis and treatment to patients with stroke. From innovations in acute stroke imaging including the use of AI to enhance image interpretation to research into optimizing workflow and processes in delivery of acute care to designing and conducting landmark clinical trials that have changed practice worldwide to understanding how best to prevent strokes and cognitive impairment secondary to strokes to developing cutting edge strategies in rehabilitation of stroke patients, the team works on the broad diversity of needs that patients with acute stroke face. Team members include clinician scientists from the internationally renowned Calgary Stroke Program, imaging and computer scientists, basic scientists, engineers, statisticians, epidemiologists, and management experts.

Stroke team leaders:
Primary Lead – Dr. Bijoy Menon 

Stroke team members*:
Drs. Simer Bal, Phil Barber, Michael Collins, Philippe Couillard, Shelagh Coutts, Andrew Demchuk, Sean Dukelow, Jeff Dunn, Nils Forkert, Grant Gordon, Mayank Goyal, Michael Hill, Gary Klein, Xuewen Lu, Bijoy Menon, Alim Mitha, Kartikeya Murari, Stephen Philiips, Eric Smith, Suresh Subramaniam, Roger Thompson, Tuan Trang, Richard Wilson, John Wong

Stroke Team contact:

*Names in bold are HBI Members