A record of excellence
Cognitive neuroscientists at Baycrest have a long list of noteworthy achievements in the study of brain health and aging.
Their work in this challenging and complicated field of research is supported by generous donors, and competitive grants awarded by a variety of funding organizations.
Throughout their journey of discovery, distinguished scientists at Baycrest have been the recipients of numerous honours and accolades.
The Rotman Research Institute is Established!
The Rotman Research Institute (RRI) is formally established with the appointment of the Director of Research, Dr. Donald Stuss, after greater recognition of Baycrest’s role as an academic centre. Equipped with the conviction “to promote effective care and improved quality of life of the elderly through research into behavioural changes associated with the aging process,” the RRI’s scientists set out to make a difference in the lives of older adults.
Basic Research Integrated with Clinical Application through Development of a Clinical Research Unit
Baycrest takes the first step towards integrating research with care by establishing a clinical research unit. The unit is deemed essential for the goal of promoting evidence-based practice and translating basic research to clinical application.
RRI Partners with the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health – Positron Emission Tomography
The RRI and CAMH establish a long-lasting collaboration between scientists studying diseases, such as frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and depression. This collaboration is enhanced by the availability of state-of-the-art Positron Emission Tomography (PET) technology at CAMH, a functional imaging tool that serves to improve clinical diagnosis and disease evaluation. Basic cognitive research using the PET leads to highly significant advances in understanding how memory functions in the brain. The availability of this technology strengthens the international roles of the two institutions in normal cognition and psychiatric PET research.
First Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience
Baycrest appoints the first incumbent of the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, Dr. Endel Tulving, who is recognized as a leader in memory research. He is most well known for his work in memory pertaining to personal experience (episodic memory) and continues to be a major influence in memory research.
RRI and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – Structural and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Scientists at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHSC), one of the major imaging groups in the world specializing in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and RRI combine expertise and resources to investigate structural and functional information about brain regions involved in learning, memory, and emotion in normal individuals and patients with traumatic brain injury or dementia.
First External Review – Rotman Research Institute
“The scientific staff is of the highest caliber and includes senior scientists who have an international reputation as leaders in their fields of research.” – M. Mesulam (Harvard University), S. Kosslyn (Harvard University) & M. Gazzaniga (University of California – Davis)
Event-Related Potentials (ERP) Technology
The availability of Event-Related Potentials (ERP) technology at Baycrest is an exciting development that enables scientists to study neural activity in the brain during complex psychological processes such as attending to certain aspects of the environment while ignoring others, making decisions about stimuli, understanding speech, and learning new things.
Research develops a Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation Unit (CEEU)
Baycrest’s research activities expand to include the Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation Unit (CEEU) to evaluate clinical programs and conduct long-term studies on health issues affecting older adults. This development represents the second facet of Baycrest’s commitment to improving the quality of life of the elderly through research.
Creation of the Nursing Collaborative Research Program: Rehabilitation and Long-Term Care
(Baycrest, Bridgepoint Health, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto)
The consortium promotes collaboration to build knowledge through practice-based research grounded in the experiences of clients and staff of Long-Term Care, Complex Continuing Care & Rehabilitation settings with the goal of developing innovative mechanisms to enhance quality of life for the elderly.
Baycrest Aligns with the University of Toronto
Baycrest becomes a fully-affiliated teaching hospital with the University of Toronto, a beneficial symbiosis promoting research, clinical care and education. As a teaching hospital, Baycrest commits to mentoring future researchers and clinicians, while the university commits to providing essential services and resources.
Frontal Temporal Dementia Network (Canada, France, U.K. & U.S.A)
The RRI initiates the formation of this multinational, multidisciplinary group of experts who promote the development of common standards for the investigation and assessment of frontal temporal dementia. Their work results in the establishment of a set of international diagnostic criteria for the disorder, ensuring that individuals with this form of dementia are detected early and treatment made available.
Ben and Hilda Katz Centre in Gerontological Social Work
The Katz Centre, a joint venture between Baycrest and the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, is the result of a gift by long-time Baycrest supporters, Ben and Hilda Katz.
In the field of gerontological social work, the Katz Centre is unique in Canada, and possibly all of North America, because it is based in a multi-service practice setting and shares with the other disciplines at Baycrest a strong focus on clinical research.
Dr. Max and Gianna Glassman Chair in Neuropsychology
A $1 million endowment by philanthropist Dr. Max Glassman and his wife Gianna, matched by the University of Toronto, inaugurates the Dr. Max and Gianna Glassman Chair in Neuropsychology. The chair aims to advance research in the effects of aging on cognitive functioning and is held jointly at the University of Toronto Department of Psychology and the RRI at Baycrest.
The first appointee is Dr. Fergus Craik, a senior scientist at RRI and a world-renowned expert in memory and normal aging.
Second Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience
The Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair Program in Biomedical Research stems from a $10 million gift from philanthropist Dr. Anne Tanenbaum in 1996 to honour her late husband Max. The program includes the creation of six endowed chairs dedicated to research in neuroscience and molecular medicine, one of which is at Baycrest.
Baycrest appoints its second chair, Dr. Terence Picton, a senior scientist at RRI and expert in the use of event-related potentials (ERP) technology to assess changes in the brain’s electrical activity. The appointment recognizes Dr. Picton’s expertise in the application of ERP and MEG technology to understand cognitive function.
Functional Imaging Research Network (FIRN)
[RRI (MEG and ERP), Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (structural and functional MRI), The Hospital for Sick Children, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (PET), and the University Health Network (MRI)]
Baycrest partners with five university-affiliated academic centres across the city and leverages its sophisticated neuroimaging technology, techniques and expertise to obtain an infrastructure grant to develop a comprehensive program in functional imaging that would be applicable to brain, cardiovascular, and cancer research. The focus for three of the partners (Baycrest, CAMH, and Sunnybrook) is the interrelationships between the brain, cognition and emotion. By integrating behavioural studies with neuroimaging techniques the network aims to determine the anatomy, pathways, and timing of brain activity and how these change with age, or in dementias and other cognitive disorders. As a key component and lead in this network, RRI demonstrates its national stature. The use of a combination of imaging techniques provides a more comprehensive view of the active brain providing an edge to the institutions in the international sphere.
Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit Established!
The Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit (KLARU) is formally established with the appointment of the first Director, Dr. David Streiner, as the applied arm of research at Baycrest. KLARU focuses on implementation of evidence-based practice, translation of research to care and establishment of practice benchmarks as a basis for evaluation. This initiative is supported by a gift from the Lunenfeld Foundation, and named in honour of Sybil Kunin (nee Lunenfeld) and Mitchell Kunin.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research Brain and Aging Group is Formed
The RRI’s Brain and Aging Group, an alliance of researchers studying cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, brain imaging and rehabilitation, join forces to decode the changes in behaviour and the brain as it relates to age-related disorders. This focus on aging was rewarded by the Institutes’ first group grant from the (then) Medical Research Council of Canada.
Cognitive Rehabilitation Network (Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, U.K., and U.S.A.)
The significance of the work in rehabilitation undertaken by this multidisciplinary, multinational group, spearheaded by RRI, led to the following development: Three institutions worldwide, of which the RRI at Baycrest was one, were awarded the 21st Century Collaborative Activity Award by the James S. McDonnell Foundation to support research to advance rehabilitation techniques for individuals suffering from neurological disorders and brain injury.
Sandra A. Rotman Chair in Neuropsychiatry
The Sandra A. Rotman Chair and Program in Neuropsychiatry is a joint appointment with the University of Toronto and Rotman Research Institute resulting from a gift from benefactor Sandra A. Rotman.
The first incumbent, Dr. Helen Mayberg, is an American neurologist renowned worldwide for her studies of the pathophysiology and treatment of depression. Her research was done in collaboration with scientists at CAMH using the Positron Emission Tomography. Her appointment as the chair attests to the caliber of research undertaken at Rotman Research Institute, and to the ability to recruit scientists internationally.
Norman and Honey Schipper Chair in Gerontological Social Work
As the first appointee, Dr. Elsa Marziali is recognized as a leading researcher promoting the advancement of knowledge about innovative and effective social service programs to address the needs of the elderly.
The chair functions within the Katz Centre for Gerontological Social Work and it is a joint appointment of Baycrest and the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. The position it is made possible by generous donations from Joseph and Sandra Rotman, J. Richard Schiff and family and the University of Toronto. It is named in honour of Norman and Honey Schipper, who are long-time supporters of Baycrest.
Magnetoencephalography Technology at the RRI
Baycrest adds Magnetoencephalography (MEG) technology to its array of sophisticated neuroimaging technology already available to the researchers. This exciting development provides another means to determine which regions of the brain are active as an individual engages in particular tasks. Combined with the data from ERP, PET (CAMH) and MRI (Sunnybrook), more comprehensive studies of cognitive function are made possible. Only a few institutions may boast of readily available access to this spectrum of cutting-edge neuroimaging technology.
Reva James Leeds Chair in Neuroscience and Research Leadership
This chair, associated with the Directorship of the RRI, recognizes and supports outstanding leadership in neuroscience development at the RRI as well as individual research. It is funded by an endowment and charitable bequest from the estate of Ms. Reva James Leeds.
Dr. Donald Stuss, a leading neuropsychologist who studies frontal lobe function and cognitive rehabilitation at the RRI, becomes the first appointee.
First Tier 1 Canada Research Chair
Baycrest recruits Dr. Christo Pantev from Germany as the first Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC), a prestigious appointment of an outstanding researcher acknowledged by their peers as a world leader in their field. As the Canada Research Chair of Human Cortical Plasticity, Dr. Pantev utilizes state-of-the-art magnetoencephalography (MEG) technology to study how the brain is functionally organized, how it changes over the lifespan, and how brain plasticity may be important in brain recovery and rehabilitation after stroke.
Behavioural Research And Imaging Network (BRAIN)
(RRI, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the Brain-Body Institute of St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Robarts Research Institute, Queen’s University, the Ottawa Health Research Institute, McMaster University, the Lawson Health Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Brock University and the University Health Network)
RRI scientist and assistant director, Dr. Randy McIntosh leads this province-wide network of neuroimaging experts. The consortium focuses on the development of validated imaging hardware and software to optimize imaging analysis in the study of normal and abnormal brain processes. It is a key demonstration of the leading role research at Baycrest plays in shaping the future of brain research.
The Multiple Auditory Steady-State Response (M.A.S.T.E.R.) Technique is validated as Cutting-Edge in its Applicability to Auditory Screening Programs for Newborns and the Elderly
This FDA approves a technique created by RRI scientists, Drs. Terence Picton and Sasha John, which becomes used in hundreds of hospitals internationally. The technique was invented in 1995 to test frequency-specific hearing abilities in newborns and the elderly by monitoring brain activity that occurs in response to sound. This method eliminates the necessity of the individual to verbally respond; thus the objectivity of the technique enhances early and accurate detection and will greatly improve treatment outcomes. M.A.S.T.E.R. becomes the first research success in technology transfer.
New Collaborations Lead to Progressive Research
CIHR New Emerging Team (Dr. Paula Rochon) (Baycrest, Institution for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), University of Massachusetts, University of Toronto)
Dr. Paula Rochon leads this multidisciplinary research team with research, clinical and policy expertise to study the real-world impact of drug therapies in older adults with chronic disease (focusing on cardiovascular, diabetes, and kidney disease) using large provincial databases with the goal of optimizing the health of our population.
The Katz Foundation Sponsors the Development of Research in Gerontological Nursing
Support from the Katz Foundation enables the recruitment of Dr. Dorothy Pringle, a nurse researcher and academic administrator with 11 years as the Dean of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto. Her illustrious career is instrumental in establishing the framework for gerontological nursing research at KLARU.
Partnering to form the Centre for Stroke Recovery (CSR)
With support from a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario grant, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Ottawa Health Research Institute join forces to develop a broad integrated research program to identify post-stroke interventions that will lead to effective improvement in function such that post-stroke quality of life will be improved. This virtual centre spans acute to chronic care, biomedical research to functional outcome, and imaging from cells to brain functioning.
Introduction of Internet-Based Intervention Programs for Caregivers
Funding from the Canarie Foundation and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care enables KLARU scientist, Dr. Elsa Marziali, to explore the development and evaluation of internet-based intervention programs for family caregivers of persons with long term disabilities (dementia, stroke, Parkinson, frontotemporal dementia, and traumatic brain injury). This initiative is another example of the commitment to address the whole-person, including the social network of patients with long term disabilities.
A Revolutionary Model for Out-Patient Care – The Brain Health Centre Clinics
The Mood and Related Disorders Clinic, the Memory Clinic and the Louis and Leah Posluns Stroke and Cognition Clinic become the Brain Health Centre Clinics, which represent the integration of research and care as scientists and clinicians work side-by-side to provide clients with new treatment options for intervention, rehabilitation, prevention and support for families.
Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC)
Baycrest awards the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Neurocognitive Aging to Dr. Cheryl Grady. As a CRC, Dr. Grady is recognized for her expertise in utilizing brain imaging technology to assess changes in cortical activity and plasticity in the aging brain in order to provide insight into how to maximize memory function in the elderly.
A Leader in Implementing a State-of-the-Art Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) System with Clinical Decision Support (CDS) Capability
Leveraging Baycrest’s implementation of this system, the institution becomes the site of a benchmark study to assess the effectiveness of CPOE/CDS from a cost-benefit perspective in terms of implementation and maintenance versus effectiveness is reducing adverse drug events in a long-term care setting. This project is a collaborative effort between KLARU scientist, Dr. Paula Rochon in Canada, and Drs. Jerry Gurwitz, Terry Field and David Bates in the U.S.A.
Brain Network Recovery Group (Brain NRG)
(Canada, U.S.A., Australia, Germany)
Spearheaded by RRI Scientist Dr. Randy McIntosh and funded by the JSF McDonnell Foundation, Brain NRG represents the union of computational, cognitive and clinical neuroscience working in concert to understand the damaged brain through application of network modeling. The group aims to develop a framework for understanding normal brain function versus damaged brain function, which in turn may be applied to the development of potential rehabilitative treatment options.
Sandra A. Rotman Chair in Neuropsychiatry
Baycrest recruits Dr. Bruce Pollock, the second appointee of this chair, from the United States, and recognizes his leadership in geriatric psychiatry. This is exemplified in his role as a scientist at RRI and Head of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He is involved in pioneering research into how genetic variations may potentially help explain differential responses to particular drug treatments.
New Siemens 3T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scanner Installed
Donations by Jack and Anne Weinbaum, Sam and Ida Ross, and the Rotman Family Foundation, and funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation CSR, make the addition of this high-tech scanner possible.
The presence of this state-of-art MRI technology alongside the magnetoencephalography (MEG) and electroencephalography (EEG) technology already present at Baycrest enables researchers to obtain a comprehensive view of brain function, which will greatly aid in decoding the networks of underlying neural activity mediating cognition and how these systems change as one ages or how they are impaired in cognitive dementias, disorders, brain injury and stroke.
Ministry of Research & Innovation Invests $5 million in the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Centre for Stroke Recovery (Baycrest, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the Ottawa Health Research Institute)
Recognizing the expertise and revolutionary research made possible through this partnership, the Centre for Stroke Recovery (CSR) receives $5 million by the provincial government.
“The creation of a virtual Centre for Stroke Recovery will improve the healthcare and quality of life of countless Ontarians… The new centre will be another innovative institution that will train, retain and attract top scientific and healthcare talent to the province.” – Dalton McGuinty, Premier and Ministry of Research and Innovation, Ontario.
Ensuring Cutting Edge Research with the Establishment of an International Scientific Advisory Committee
The RRI International Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of international scientists (C.A. Barnes, University of Arizona; S. Grafton, Director, Dartmouth Functional Imaging Center, Dartmouth College; W. Jagust, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, Berkeley, CA; and A. Yonelinas, University of California – Davis), provide feedback and advice to the Director annually to ensure that the RRI remains at the forefront of research.
Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC)
A Tier 2 CRC is a prestigious appointment of an exceptional emerging researcher acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field.
Baycrest appoints a promising young scientist from the United States, Dr. Jennifer Ryan, as the first Tier 2 CRC in recognition of her research using reaction time studies, eye movement paradigms and MEG, to examine memory performance of younger and older adults to determine how memory is organized and how it transforms with age and/or brain damage.
The Kimel Family donates $15 million to Support Baycrest’s Role as an International Leader in Care and Research Related to Aging
The donation supports capital improvements to the Brain Health Centre facility, and initiates the development of an international campaign in support of research. The funds also add to Baycrest’s expertise in neurodegenerative diseases through the establishment of the Elkie Adler MS Clinic, named in honour of Elkie Adler, a member of the Kimel family.
Bilingualism and dementia
Groundbreaking Rotman study shows bilingualism has a protective effect in delaying the onset of dementia.
Canadian Federal Government Invests $15 million in the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Centre for Stroke Recovery (Baycrest, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the Ottawa Health Research Institute)
“The Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery is moving new discoveries from the lab to the bedside faster than ever before and is the first of its kind in the world to streamline research, stroke care, and stroke recovery…By continuing to make breakthrough discoveries and innovating treatments, the Centre is generating new hope for stroke survivors and their families.” – Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health and the Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario.
Baycrest Takes Innovation to the Next Level with the Centre for Brain Fitness (Baycrest, MaRS Venture Group, Government of Ontario)
Baycrest creates the Centre for Brain Fitness – a commercialized science enterprise to tackle the rising prevalence of cognitive decline in an aging population – after being awarded $10 million from the Ontario Government.
“One of Ontario’s greatest strengths is the incredible depth of our research talent. Our government is proud to support Baycrest and its invaluable work, which is already leading to the discovery of important new tools and approaches to treating brain diseases associated with aging.” – John Wilkinson, Minister of Research and Innovation.
A Virtual Brain
Baycrest leads a team of international scientists in a mammoth project to create the world’s first functional, virtual brain.
The effort puts Canada in a global race to pull off a neuroscience feat that is comparable to decoding the human genome. The achievement could revolutionize how clinicians assess and treat various brain disorders, including cognitive impairment caused by stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
New company enters growing brain fitness market
One of the world’s leading cognitive science institutes creates Cogniciti, a new company with MaRS, Canada’s premiere innovation centre, to develop and market brain fitness products to help adults extend their memory and cognitive abilities longer in the lifespan.
Baycrest appoints Dr. Randy McIntosh as Vice-President of Research and Director of the world-renowned Rotman Research Institute
Baycrest appoints one of Canada’s leading cognitive scientists as the new Vice-President of Research and Director of its world-renowned Rotman Research Institute (RRI).
Distinguished Population Neuroscientist joins Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute
A prominent researcher and pioneer in the emerging field of “population neuroscience” joins Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and its world-renowned memory and aging science team. Dr. Tomas Paus will study the impact of genes and environment on cognitive and brain health across the lifespan.
Exploring hockey and brain health
The Rotman Research Institute embarks on the first study tracking the brain health of retired professional ice hockey players.
The Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), in conjunction with the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) awards over $5-million to Baycrest to develop innovative brain health products
The Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), in conjunction with the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) awards Baycrest, a global leader in innovations in aging and brain health, over $5-million to develop innovative neuroeducation and cognitive assessment / fitness products for the global market.
Baycrest releases the world’s first science-based cookbook
Senior scientist Dr. Carol Greenwood teams up with Daphna Rabinovitch, an award-winning recipe developer and food writer, and Joanna Gryfe, a food and media expert, to create, Mindfull, the world’s first science-based cookbook for the brain.
Baycrest launches a “memory checkup” for the mind
A team of clinical neuropsychologists and cognitive scientists at Baycrest Health Sciences and its world-renowned Rotman Research Institute develop a free online brain health assessment for Canadians who might be worried about their memory.
Baycrest becomes home to the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation
The groundbreaking Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation is established as a result of the largest investment in brain health and aging in Canadian history. This national hub is established in partnership with experts from healthcare, science, industry and government, to work on innovations that will help older adults age safely in the setting of their choice, while maintaining their cognitive, emotional and physical wellbeing for as long as possible.
Neuroscientists identify missing link in memory and eye movement research
Neuroscience researchers at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences identify the brain pathways that influence eye movements in relation to memories, rewriting the decades old textbook explanations of the brain’s connection to the eyes. The results of this study lead to a new understanding of eye tracking tests that can detect signs of dementia.
The first Canadian Brain Health Food Guide
Baycrest scientists lead the development of an easy-to-read food guide to help adults over 50 preserve their thinking and memory skills as they age.