About 3

On Your Mind is a weekly podcast about neuroscience. Hosts Liam Crapper, Adel Farah and Kathryn Vaillancourt discuss the latest research on the causes of neurological diseases, and the workings of a normal brain. Because of our interests we focus on the biological and molecular basis of neurological diseases, but anything neuroscience is fair game. We have casual conversations we hope will be informative to people active in neuroscience, and still accessible to people from a wide range of backgrounds.


I am a Neuroscience PhD candidate at McGill University, and a member of the Psychiatric Genetics Group. I’ve always been interested by molecular biology, and how an organisms genetics influence its interactions with the world. After brief stints study the genetics of freezing tolerance in grapes and immune system evasion in adenoviruses, I have comfortably settled into studying psychiatric genetics and creating cell culture models of intellectual disability.

When I had the idea to start On Your Mind I was having a lot of conversations with colleagues  about the merits of recent papers, and our thoughts on the current academic environment. At the same time a lot of people from outside of neuroscience were asking me about how the brain works, and about what you actually do as a neuroscientist. I thought of the podcast as a way to make these conversations about neuroscience available to anyone who cares to listen.


Hello all, my name is Kathryn and I’m the female voice at On Your Mind!  I’m a graduate student in Neuroscience at McGill University looking at the epigenetic mechanisms behind the biological changes that occur in cocaine addiction.  My scientific interests range from the evolutionary basis for behaviour to the molecular basis for mental illness and everything in between.  I’ve spent time at the University of Alberta looking at the evolutionary origins of aggression and at the Autism Research Centre in Edmonton working with children with ASD and their families.  With that, I’m delighted to have the chance to share my love of biology, the brain and heated discussion with you all! Happy listening!


I’m a master’s student at McGill University finishing up my thesis. My project is looking at the epigenetics of suicide. I focus on how early life adversity might change the expression of key genes in the social stress response and that might lead to observable behaviour changes like suicidality. It’s super exciting to get a chance to talk about something I really love and make it as accessible as possible to a wider audience than neuroscience papers are often intended to reach. I started out as a biochemistry undergrad and did my honours degree in Parkinson’s disease and ever since I’ve been fascinated with what goes on in the mush between our ears! I think my favourite part of doing this show is not just the fun of talking about science but talking about, the fun, funny, annoying and often surprising wheels and cogs that make this machine move forward. From funding problems, to negative results, to new and crazy ideas on how to look at data there’s so much more than just what happens in the lab to being a scientist. It’s super cool to see and talk about how science functions away from the bench and in the “smoke filled” offices of supervisors and in front of the judging eyes of reviewers and the general public.