Bratislav Misic wins a CAN 2023 New Investigator Award for ground-breaking work on brain networks
By Canadian Association for Neuroscience/L’Association canadienne des neurosciences
May 18, 2023
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience is proud to announce that Bratislav Misic, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University, has been awarded a 2023 CAN New Investigator Award. Prof. Misic is a Tier-2 Canada Research Chair and leads the Network Neuroscience Lab (https://netneurolab.github.io/) at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Prof. Misic studies how cognition and behaviour emerge from the links and interactions among brain areas. His innovative work, integrating in vivo neuroimaging, statistical learning and network science, is profoundly transforming the field’s understanding of multi-scale structure-function relationships in the brain.
Prof. Misic’s training in both mathematics and neuroscience has allowed him to develop a dynamic research program based on sophisticated quantitative methods to understand structure-function relationship in the brain. One of his notable contributions has been the idea to conceptualize and explicitly model communication processes in brain networks. This work has proven to be influential, and many modern accounts of structure-function relationships in brain networks build on these principles. Following up on this work, Prof. Misic has established a research program based on integrating micro-architectural information with network architecture, and other local measures such as gene expression and neurotransmitter receptor density. By linking the brain’s micro- and macro-scale organization, and providing computational tools, statistical methods and openly available data, Prof. Misic has set the foundation for the field to better understand the mechanisms underlying large-scale network dynamics.
“The value and significance of these findings has been extraordinary. Bratislav’s work has helped to re-conceptualize brain function, has resulted in truly new discoveries about brain organization, and has provided new tools for other researchers to engage these questions.” – Julien Doyon, PhD., FRSC, FCAHS, Director of McConnell Brain Imaging Center, McGill University, Montreal Neurological Institute
Prof. Misic’s scientific output has been outstanding. He has published >110 peer-reviewed papers, including more than 30 senior-author papers. Many of these papers have been in high-impact journals, such as Neuron, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Methods, Nature Communications, Nature Machine Intelligence, Nature Human Behaviour, eLife, Biological Psychiatry and PNAS. This exciting line of research has been of broad interest (>7,500 citations, h = 43), leading to numerous invited reviews, including recent reviews in Trends in Cognitive Sciences and Nature Reviews Neuroscience.
More broadly, Prof. Misic has been recognized as a leading investigator in the field, including being named a Canada Research Chair in Network Neuroscience, a Brain Canada Future Leader and a Rising Star of the Quebec Bio-Imaging Network. He has delivered numerous invited talks at top international conferences, workshops and departmental seminars (>60 total). He has also spoken at international venues such as the World Economic Forum, extending the impact and reach of his work to a broader audience. He serves as Axis Leader for two strategic networks in Quebec, one focused on cognitive neuroscience (Center for Brain, Language and Music; CRBLM) and one on artificial intelligence (Unifying Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence in Quebec; UNIQUE). He also serves as Associate Editor of Network Neuroscience, the premier journal in the field.
Perhaps most importantly, Prof. Misic has been a leader in the emerging Open Science movement, creating seven widely-used open-source toolboxes and contributing to multiple others. Salient examples include neuromaps (https://netneurolab.github.io/neuromaps), a toolbox for transforming brain maps, and abagen (https://abagen.readthedocs.io/), a toolbox for processing imaging transcriptomics datasets. In addition, Prof. Misic has released several open datasets, such as a recent 3D chemoarchitecture atlas of the human brain (https://github.com/netneurolab/hansen_receptors), and has conducted multiple research projects that explicitly benchmark existing methods. In other words, Prof. Misic has actively contributed to raising the standard of professional practice in the field.
Prof. Misic’s group is well-funded, with more than $6 million in external funding in from multiple sources, including CIHR and NSERC. He has also established a culture of rigor in his group and established a stellar record of attracting and supervising trainees. Trainees from his lab have been highly successful, with numerous first-author publications in high- impact journals, platform talks at prestigious conferences, awards, recognitions, and external funding. For example, his trainees have been named as the best graduate students in the McGill Integrated Program in Neuroscience for the past two years. Owing to their interdisciplinary and quantitatively rigorous training, trainees from Prof. Misic’s lab have been highly sought after, moving on to prestigious positions in academia and industry. By encouraging his trainees to actively develop new methods and make their code available on the lab’s github repository (https://github.com/netneurolab), Prof. Misic has provided a unique opportunity for trainees to develop outward-facing coding portfolios, making them desirable candidates. In short, he has created a vibrant training environment that is productive and financially secure.
In summary, Prof. Misic is an outstanding young investigator, with a compelling vision of how the organization of brain networks shapes dynamic biological processes. He has published pioneering research on brain network architecture and contributed invaluable tools for the whole community, earning international recognition. He is an extraordinary research talent and is on the way to becoming one of Canada’s brightest scientific lights.
The Canadian Association for Neuroscience is very proud to present him with a 2023 CAN New Investigator Award.
Markello RD, Hansen JY, Liu ZQ, Bazinet V, Shafiei G, Suarez LE, Blostein N, Seidlitz J, Baillet S, Satterthwaite TD, Chakravarty MM, Raznahan A, Misic B. (2022) Neuromaps: structural and functional interpretation of brain maps.
Nature Methods 19:1472-1479. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41592-022-01625-w
Hansen JY, Shafiei G, Markello RD, …, Misic B. (2022) Mapping neurotransmitter systems to the structural and functional organization of the human neocortex.
Nature Neuroscience 23:1569-1581. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-022-01186-3
Vazquez-Rodriguez B, Suarez LE, Markello RD, Shafiei G, Paquola C, van den Heuvel MP, Hagmann P, Hagmann P, Bernhardt BC, Spreng RN, Misic B. (2019) Gradients of structure-function tethering across neocortex.
PNAS 116(42):21219-21227. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1903403116