Brian MacVicar

Degrees / Credentials



Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, UBC

Canada Research Chair, Neuroscience


Full Member

Dr. Brian MacVicar holds the Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience at UBC and is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. Previously, he was the co-director of the Centre for Brain Health.

Outside of UBC, Dr. MacVicar is also a Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada (FRSC), and Fellow of The Canadian Academy for Health Sciences (FCAHS). In the past, Dr. MacVicar was the Director of the Leducq Foundation Transatlantic Network of Excellence, and the President of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience (CAN), and was instrumental in guiding CAN to create a national neuroscience meeting and to establish a cohesive national identity for the neuroscience community.

Contact Info

Lab Phone
Mailing Address
2215 Wesbrook Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3

Research Information

Dr. MacVicar’s research has focused on the mechanisms required to maintain a healthy brain by finding ways to prevent neuronal damage. His work has provided new insights into potential targets for preventing brain damage via neuronal death during stroke.

Dr. MacVicar has been a leader in the development and application of advanced brain imaging techniques during his career. He discovered that brain tissue is more transparent in infrared wavelengths, which are used widely to visualize nerve cells in intact brain tissue. With Image Science, a company he founded, he developed software that was widely used to control scientific image acquisition equipment and imaging analysis.

The MacVicar lab has implemented two-photon microscopy, uncaging techniques and expression of genetically encoded indicators that provide unparalleled visualization of complex interactions in the living brain. This application of advanced imaging techniques has allowed his lab to make significant contributions to our understanding of how neuronal activity is regulated both intrinsically and by the surrounding microglia and astrocytes. In addition the lab is actively investigating how to prevent neuronal death and disruptions in brain circuits in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease and stroke.



  • stroke
  • traumatic brain injury
  • foundational science