Research themes

In 2020, the CNS went through a process of identifying research themes that represent major strengths and opportunities to guide future initiatives.

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Decision Making and Adaptive Control

Executing a particular action in any context relies on a complex suite of neurocognitive processes that allow us to select the most appropriate action from a range of closely competing alternatives, project and monitor performance for evidence of error, and when there are errors adapting one’s decision-making processes to arrive at maximal efficacy. These processes govern everything from relatively simple motor actions like figuring out how to grasp an object, to complex social decisions like deciding whether and how one might like to share scarce resources. Successful adaptive decision making is one of the hallmarks of neurocognitive development and difficulties in adaptive decision making are characteristic of a wide range of neuropsychological and psychiatric conditions. The goal of this research group is to understand principles that influence decision making and actions, how factors such as cognitive and conceptual development, emotions, limb mechanics, environment influence these choices and how adaptive decision making can be impacted by disease, injury and aging. The group is co-led by Dr. Anita Tusche from Psychology and Dr. Stephen Scott from DBMS.

Mood Disorders

Mood Disorders - Educ Init Grant

The mood disorders group is a group of researchers dedicated to study Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression and Suicide in children, adolescents, adults and seniors. To generate the discoveries that are going to transform our patient’s lives, we use many different methods and approaches. We have researchers looking at psychometrics, biomarkers, neurobiological factors, genetics, neuropsychological factors, intervention methods, and prevention methods, just to name a few. We have researchers from Psychiatry and Psychology, but also from DBMS and other disciplines and collaborators from other departments, across Ontario and Canada and also in other countries. In the future, we would like to consolidate our national and international leadership, bringing our large group of psychiatrists, psychologists, geneticists, and neuroscientists to look at precision medicine interventions, ultimately achieving prevention, early detection and individualized treatments. The group is co-led by Dr. Beth Kelley from Psychology and Dr. Elisa Brietzke from Psychiatry.

Mood Disorders - PodCast
SEAMO

Neurodegeneration

Neurodegen Slides
Research images of rodent AD mouse models and human brain tissue stained for AD-histopathological markers by PhD candidate, Rafaella Araujo Goncalves da Silva

The neurodegeneration group explores how various neurological disorders impact brain function and potential therapeutic interventions. There is not one cohesive project that the group is focused on, rather the individuals are focusing on multiple disorders (e.g., stroke, Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, COVID, etc). There are many different experimental approaches being used in the group including genetics, surgery, physiology, behavioural, molecular and the research programs include rodent, NHP and human studies. The group is led by Dr. Doug Munoz in DBMS.

Pain

Pain Measurement
A participant undergoes Quantitative Sensory Testing in Dr. Tim Salomons' Pain, Affect, and Cognition Lab

The Pain Research Group includes the Pain Chronobiology and Neuroimmunology Laboratory (led by Dr. Nader Ghasemlou), the Pain Affect and Cognition Laboratory (led by Dr. Tim Salomons), and the Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s Department of Anesthesiology Chronic Pain Clinic (led by Drs. Scott Duggan and Etienne Bisson), as well as key members from the Departments of Anesthesiology, Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, Critical Care Medicine, and Psychology, among others. Using both laboratory models of pain and working with participants from across Canada and the world, key areas of interest for the Research Group include studying the molecular, cellular, and behavioural underpinnings of pain. More broadly, the team is working to bridge these various levels of research to develop a more translational study of the basic aspects of pain. The Centre for Neuroscience Studies at Queen’s University brings together an inter-disciplinary team of neurobiologists, psychologists, immunologists, geneticists, sociologists, and pain clinicians to better understand why we feel pain, what we can do to better serve those suffering, and how to treat pain more effectively. The Pain Research Group at Queen’s seeks to study bridge the gap that often exists between the clinic and basic scientists to bring new discoveries more rapidly to those suffering. The group not only works with people living with pain, but also those with chronic diseases where pain plays an important role including multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, spinal cord injury, fibromyalgia, and arthritis to provide a better understanding of how pain and disease intersect.