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April 19, 2012

Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI) will play a key role in building what is planned as one of the world’s largest brain research databases with the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI). The database, dubbed Brain-CODE, will enable researchers to work faster and more efficiently, bringing Ontario closer to the goal of personalized medicine for people with brain disorders.

Dr. Stephen Strother, a senior scientist at the RRI and professor of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto, is site lead for Baycrest’s contribution to Brain-CODE. Baycrest is contributing expertise in neuroimaging infrastructure to help create the new database.

“In essence, we are trying to create a Google for neuroscience,” said Dr. Strother. “The RRI’s experience with our own Stroke Patient Recovery Research Database makes us well positioned to help the Ontario Brain Institute bring together the information in key neurological databases and make it more accessible to researchers. Better, faster access to this data will help them find ways to treat brain conditions more effectively.”

The April 5th edition of The Globe and Mail reported that the database “will operate much like an Internet search engine, allowing scientists to sort through reams of complex information to seek out patterns and similarities that link one brain condition to another.”

For researchers and clinicians in search of scientific breakthroughs in understanding brain disorders such as autism, late-onset depression, epilepsy or Alzheimer’s, the mammoth database offers the exciting potential for discovering patterns and trends across different brain conditions – a critical step for better understanding the pathological bases of these disorders and developing more effective treatments.

Baycrest’s RRI is one of four partner organizations involved in the OBI project. The other three are the Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery; the Applied Health Research Centre at the Li Ka-Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital; and the Ontario Cancer Biomarker Network and High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory at Queen’s University.

For more information on this press release, contact:
Kelly Connelly
Senior Media Officer
Rotman Research Institute

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