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Using complex state-of-the-art computational models, RRI scientists are combining, analyzing and understanding huge amounts of research data from different medical and scientific fields.

The resulting advanced knowledge and technologies are then distributed via the web for the neuroscience and medical communities. The goal is to advance the understanding of the structure and function of the brain, and translate this to more effective clinical treatment of brain disorders such as stroke.

Here are some areas where neuroinformatics expertise is making a difference to researchers and clinicians:

  • The Stroke Patient Research Recovery Database (SPRED)
    This database was created at Baycrest under the auspices of the multi-institution Centre for Stroke Recovery. It provides clinicians and researchers with comprehensive data sets, processing tools and predictive algorithms to help them learn more about the clinical and biological determinants of recovery from stroke.
  • The Brain Network Recovery Group (Brain NRG)

    This international group brings together nine research institutes from around the world in a multi-million dollar project to study the brain’s remarkable – but still poorly understood – ability  to rewire its networks after damage caused by stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and other dementias. 

    The lead architect of the Brain NRG is Dr. Randy McIntosh, a senior scientist and the Director of the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest. “We are creating a brain simulation – a “virtual brain” – using knowledge gained from studying real brain function (see The Centre for Integrative Brain Dynamics below). The ultimate goal is to use the model’s capacity to predict network recovery after brain damage to test both virtual and real treatment options.”

  • The Centre for Integrative Brain Dynamics

    A global race is underway to pull off a neuroscience feat that is comparable to decoding the human genome: the creation of a virtual human brain. Baycrest is leading the way, along with scientific collaborators from around the world.

    The goal is the world’s first integrated computer model of a fully functioning human brain. It will be derived from massive amounts of imaging data taken from hundreds of thousands of healthy people from around the globe.
    The “virtual brain” will simulate how the brain functions under various normal conditions, how this changes with the aging process, and how the brain responds to damage from trauma or disease. For example, specific computer models will be developed to mirror conditions including age-related memory loss, stroke, head trauma and Alzheimer’s Disease.

    The model can be used to test the safety and effectiveness of experimental and alternative brain therapies on a computer before they are used in animals and in humans.

  • The Canadian Brain Imaging Research Network (CBRAIN)
    The Rotman Research Institute is also a founding member of this group which uses high-speed fibre optic cables and high-performance computing centres to link the five leading brain imaging research centres in Canada,  The goal  is to develop a national platform for distributed processing, analysis, exchange and visualisation of brain imaging data linked to local neuroimaging databases such as the Rotman Research Institute Neuroimaging Database (RRINiD).