2013 Gill Symposium honours neuroscience researcher McNaughton

University of Lethbridge Neuroscience researcher Dr. Bruce McNaughton is receiving a significant award from a major US-based neuroscience research institute located at Indiana University, in Bloomington, IN. 

As part of the annual Indiana University – Bloomington Gill Centre for Biomolecular Science Symposium, McNaughton, the Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS) Polaris Research Chair at the Department of Neuroscience and Canadian Center for Behavioural Neuroscience (CCBN), will receive the 2013 Gill Award for his significant contributions to neuroscience research. 

He will also deliver a keynote address to the 300 delegates who attend the event each year from around the world.

Dr. Bruce McNaughton was the first scientist to win the $10 million Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS) Polaris Award, the richest health research award in Canada.

McNaughton joined the University of Lethbridge in 2008, moving his research program from the University of Arizona to the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience (CCBN) at the University of Lethbridge.

His research focuses on how brain cells process information and form memories, and how those processes are altered by aging, trauma or substance abuse.

McNaughton is the first scientist to win the $10 million Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (now Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS)) Polaris Award, the richest health research award in Canada. The AIHS award of $10 million was matched by the University of Lethbridge and the Informatics Circle of Research Excellence (ICORE) for a total investment of $20 million into McNaughton's research and the CCBN.

There are presently 56 researchers on McNaughton’s Polaris team at the CCBN, including principal investigators, doctoral and post-doctoral researchers, masters and undergraduate students, and a team of technicians.

According to Gerry Oxford, executive director of the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute and professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the IU School of Medicine, McNaughton has provided definitive experimental evidence for the concept that consolidation of memory --  in this case the memory of an individual journey in space -- was facilitated by repetitive "replay" of the hippocampal neuronal activity that occurred during the actual experience.

"His scientific accomplishments are extraordinary and broad, but with a relentless focus on understanding cognitive function through the dynamics of functional brain circuitry," Oxford said.

Gill Symposium organizers will also acknowledge the achievements of Dr. Loren M. Frank, associate professor of the University of California San Francisco Center for Integrative Neuroscience and Department of Physiology, who is receiving this year’s Gill Young Investigator Award. His findings have broken new ground concerning memory formation and wakefulness.

For more information about the Gill Symposium or the Gill Center please contact Misty Theodore at 812-856-1930 or

To speak with Professor McNaughton, contact Amanda Mauthe-Kaddoura at 403-332-4099 or


Professor Frank can be reached at 415-502-7357 or

For additional information, please visit the Gill Symposium website

About the Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science

The Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science, which is part of the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, was established by a generous gift from Linda and Jack Gill to advance the understanding of complex biological processes and to train the next generation of scientists in biomolecular measurements, especially in the field of neuroscience. Members and collaborators include faculty from IU's departments of Biology, Chemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Physics, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Neuroscience and the School of Medicine.