Dr. Randy McIntosh, Vice President of Research at Baycrest and Director of the Rotman Research Institute (RRI), was recognized for outstanding innovation through his work leading the Virtual Brain Project, an international collaboration to develop the world's first integrated computer model of a fully functioning human brain.
The ORION Leadership Innovation Award, awarded at the Think: Open conference on May 24, 2017, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated leadership with outcomes that serve to advance the research, education and innovation landscape in Ontario.
The Virtual Brain is being developed to help clinicians detect different types of dementia and brain diseases earlier, and provide the ability to test potential treatments before prescribing them to patients. The platform was built by an international team led by Baycrest and involves researchers from 12 sites across three continents.
Recently, their work was able to predict how epileptic seizures start and spread within the brain, which could help doctors identify where to intervene during surgery, reducing the risk of adverse events. The unique brain-mapping and modeling platform captures intricate details of the brain's structure and function through the collection of imaging data.
"It's an honour to receive this award on behalf of our international team," says Dr. McIntosh, who is also a psychology professor at the University of Toronto. "This award reinforces how invaluable seamless and secure 'big data' collaborations are to cutting-edge research. It has allowed Baycrest to take the lead in brain health innovations that strive to improve patient care."
Dr. McIntosh's team is focused on using the Virtual Brain to create comparable simulations for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, while exploring potential partnership opportunities to encourage the platform's adoption in the clinical realm.
"This award recognizes the importance of global research collaborations, such as the Virtual Brain, to provide treatment and find a cure for dementia and other brain disorders," says Baycrest President and CEO Dr. William Reichman. "As a global leader in brain health and aging research, Baycrest is proud to lead scientific efforts that will one day relieve the burden of illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease."
ORION is a not-for-profit organization committed to actively supporting Ontario's researchers, educators and innovators.
About Baycrest Health Sciences
Baycrest Health Sciences is a global leader in geriatric residential living, healthcare, research, innovation and education, with a special focus on brain health and aging. Fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, Baycrest provides excellent care for older adults combined with an extensive clinical training program for the next generation of healthcare professionals and one of the world's top research institutes in cognitive neuroscience, the Rotman Research Institute. Baycrest is home to the federally and provincially-funded Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, a solution accelerator focused on driving innovation in the aging and brain health sector, and is the developer of Cogniciti - a free online memory assessment for Canadians 40+ who are concerned about their memory. Founded in 1918 as the Jewish Home for Aged, Baycrest continues to embrace the long-standing tradition of all great Jewish healthcare institutions to improve the well-being of people in their local communities and around the globe. For more information please visit: http://www.
About Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute
The Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences is a premier international centre for the study of human brain function. Through generous support from private donors and funding agencies, the institute is helping to illuminate the causes of cognitive decline in seniors, identify promising approaches to treatment, and lifestyle practices that will protect brain health longer in the lifespan.