In a nutshell

Prof. Benali aims to develop educational programs in advanced information acquisition and processing for promoting good health.

Research interest

The research interest of Prof. Benali is motivated by innovative and valid methodological approaches to studying normal aging and pathological processes in the context of a variety of neurological conditions representing critical public health issues. It develops an integrated biomedical approach, ranging from the basic mathematical modelling of the brain's anatomo-functional circuits and their normal and pathological dynamics to the physiological model of brain activity observed by neuroimaging tools allowing us to translate models from normal aging to clinical populations.


After receiving my PhD in Computer Science, Multidimensional data analysis from Rennes I University in 1985, France, I later went on to join the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in 1989. From 2008 to 2013, I served as Head of the Laboratory of Functional Imaging (INSERM U678 unit with over 65 members) and Deputy Director of the Biomedical Imaging Laboratory, INSERM - The National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and UPMC University until 2015. Together with Dr. Julien Doyon, from the Université de Montréal (UdeM), I founded and became co-director of the International Laboratory of Neuroimaging and Modelisation of the INSERM-UPMC and UdeM administrative bodies in 2007. I have been a regular research member of the Centre de Recherche Mathématiques of UdeM since 2002 and a researcher at Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, UdeM, since 2005. Moreover, I was co-PI of the IHU-A-ICM “Institut des Neurosciences Translationnelles de Paris” project (55M euros) which lead to the creation of one of the largest cognitive, clinical neuroscience and technology research center in France. I have established and directed a large research laboratory and have been collaborating with leaders in their fields in clinical and basic research as well as in engineering in Canada and around the world (Harvard Medical School, University of Texas at Dallas, Johns Hopkins University, National Institute of Health, UdeM, McGill, University of Liege, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy, CNRS and INSERM).

I am currently Scientific Director of the PERFORM Centre, NSERC CRC Tier 1 in Biomedical Imaging and Healthy Aging and Professor at the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science at Concordia University. A natural collaborator with an extensive network world-wide, I have been instrumental in solidifying the PERFORM Centre’s role in fostering interdisciplinary research collaborations between numerous departments and faculties across Concordia University as well as with many inter-institutional research networks locally, nationally, and internationally. This served to farther solidify PERFORM’s reputation in advancing health research and fostering innovative and dynamic research collaborations thus positioning the Centre to serve as a vehicle for a School of Health created in 2023.

In the last 30 years, I have gone from starting a new neuroimaging research activity to directing a productive laboratory in France and Canada with activities that span from the development of new computational modeling and multimodal image analysis techniques to cognitive neuroscience and clinical applications. During this productive time in my scientific career, I published more than 300 papers. I supervised more than 80 students and fellows, including some that now became professors and researchers themselves and have scientific careers. In addition to my scientific work, I have also developed technology transfer activities. I have collaborated with several private companies over the past years and helped to found two start-up companies with my former students. In this regard, I have been an author on five patents on image processing devices. I have been awarded several grants from CFI-JELF, NSERC CRC Ter1, Concordia grants, CIHR, Alzheimer Research Foundation, as well as from national (France), European and international agencies, and a variety of companies. In 2019, I have been awarded the Provost‘s Circle of Distinction from Concordia University.

I am Associate Editor for Brain Imaging Methods – Frontiers in Neuroscience. I served as a member of the expert panel of FLAG-ERA, an umbrella organization that unites most funding organisations in Europe, and was an expert member of the French National Research Agency and numerous internal and external committees and boards including, Baycrest Academy for Research and Education Advisory Committee; Executive Committee of the Quebec Biomedical Imaging Network – FRQS; and Chair of the executive committee, to list but a few.