Professor Melanie Woodin standing on a treed path next to a brick wallCongratulations to CSB Professor Melanie Woodin on her election as Vice-President of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN). Prof Woodin has an outstanding track record of scientific productivity and achievements. Her team has spearheaded major advances in our understanding of mechanisms regulating inhibitory synaptic transmission and plasticity in the central nervous system. Of particular interest is her work on the role of excitation/inhibition imbalances in neuropathological disorders including Huntington disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and autism spectrum disorders.

Prof Woodin’s recent work showed that adeno-associated virus-mediated delivery of chemogenetic technology increased the activity of interneurons in the primary motor cortex and effectively delayed the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-associated motor deficits, promoted neuronal survival, and increased lifespan (Brain 2020). These exciting findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis and treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The impact of her work is evident in the quality, novelty, and originality of her scientific publications.

Prof Woodin is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto, one of the many important leadership roles she has played at the University of Toronto over the years.

Prof Woodin has been a strong supporter of CAN since its inception, serving in the role of Symposium Organizer (2008, 2011), Executive Board Member (2013-2016), Meeting Organizer (2016), and Chair of the Advocacy Committee (2018-2019). Her outstanding contributions to neuroscience research, effective leadership qualities, and community service make her uniquely qualified for the position of CAN’s next Vice-President.