"I put the idea into my memory file as a really fun idea. When we eventually ran the experiment, I thought it was really beautiful, since the data went completely against the present field," says Dr. Nader, who is based at McGill University. "I thought: This is impossible!"
As a medical researcher, Dr. Nader later recalled the slideshow and built upon it to discover that recalled memories are not necessarily stable but can be chemically modified to reduce their traumatic emotional qualities. He's now working, as he describes it, to "turn down the gain control" on memories, so that truly traumatic experiences can be remembered and experienced with real feeling but without triggering the full emotional pandemonium of the original incident.
Dr. Nader's research could make it possible for people suffering from otherwise untreatable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to respond to conventional treatments or therapy. He stresses that his work is directed at reducing the intensity of PTSD emotions, not at removing them entirely. "That would be spooky," he says.
In the future, though, Dr. Nader's discoveries could lead to treatments for drug addiction, epilepsy and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
"I'm amazed at how fast we've moved -- we went from snails to humans in just three years," he says. "And now we're testing, 'Can you therapeutically treat with this?' in just six years. So many people are getting into this field now, it's so much bigger and better than I ever could have imagined."
Born in Cairo, Dr. Nader recalls his early fascination with human physiology.
"I'd walk home from school and wiggle my finger and wonder: How does this happen?" He pursued scientific research, he says, because science is "only about the data. You can be anyone; it's about the evidence." He thinks of good scientific research as "a fun, creative way of testing things."
Dr. Nader did his undergraduate and graduate training in neuroscience at the University of Toronto, then at New York University. He joined the department of psychology at McGill University in 2001.
Dr. Nader is an avid reader of fiction, especially magical realism. On a recent trip to Prague he took only black and white film since "in my imagination the city was all about Kafka: black and grey. Instead it was brilliant colour!" he says, waxing enthusiastic at the city's beauty. "The stained glass windows . . . the blues were so rich."
Mark Cohon, 40 President and chief executive officer, AudienceView Software Corp., Toronto
BY MICHAEL RYVAL
When Mark Cohon returned to Canada three years ago after a lengthy stint in the U.S. and Europe, he met two entrepreneurs who had set up AudienceView.
The company was a natural fit for Mr. Cohon. It was trying to establish itself in the ticketing business, and Mr. Cohon had roots in the sports and entertainment industries. After about three months as an adviser, he became president. Last year, he became CEO of the 70-employee company.
A graduate of Chicago's Northwestern University, where he received a Bachelors of Science and majored in communication studies, Mr. Cohon has always been one for a challenge. In 1990, he set up a charity called Youth Challenge International and led an expedition to the Arctic and Siberia with 30 Canadian and then-Soviet students. Later, he worked for Major League Baseball International as director of game development; he was charged with promoting the brand in such countries as Japan and Venezuela.
In 1994, he met David Stern, the head of the National Basketball Association, and he joined the organization as head of international marketing. During his stint he set up an office in London, U.K., where he sold television rights and licensed products throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Later, he ran the association's business-development branch and set up the NBA City restaurant in Orlando, Fla.
Mr. Cohon was drawn to AudienceView. "I had seen the dominance of TicketMaster. The only way to buy tickets was through them," Mr. Cohon says. "But this company had the idea that with more and more people buying tickets on-line, we could eliminate the middle man and offer a solution where theatres and sports teams could get into the ticket business themselves."
"People can call the Blue Jays call centre, or go to http://www.bluejays.com, or go to the box office and buy tickets directly," Mr. Cohon says. "The team's management keeps all the data on the sales, and the incremental service charges."