Neuroscience Research Program

Laboratory Space

Neurotrauma Laboratory

Neurotrauma lab student with pipette The neurotrauma laboratory uses models of axonal stretch, single cell and slice electrophysiology, and the fluid percussion injury model of traumatic brain injury, among others. The lab has developed a novel controlled blast injury model which is used to evaluate the attendant brain white matter injury. Histopathology, electrophysiology, protein and behavioural outcomes are assessed.

Stroke Laboratory

Picture of microscope and pipettes The stroke laboratory investigates the causes of early brain injury and of delayed neurological deterioration after subarachnoid hemorrhage by testing hippocampal electrophysiology and function; animal behavioural, learning and memory; and changes in gene expression and function.

Driving Simulator (MRI Compatible)

Brain tumor on a slice St. Michael’s Hospital, in collaboration with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, has developed a driving simulator placed in a 3.0 Tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) system. The MR compatible driving simulator is equipped with a fully functional steering wheel and pedals and can capture brain activity during driving. The driving simulator can identify the brain areas involved while performing different driving maneuvers, ranging from simple (right turns) to more complex (left turns at busy intersections). To assess the effects of driving while distracted, participants are asked to perform an auditory task, which is analogous to speaking on a hands-free device.

Brain Tumour Biobank

Brain tumor on a slice St. Michael’s Hospital is one of six major referral centres for adult patients with tumours of the central nervous system (CNS) in Ontario, and houses the busiest neurosurgical oncology program in Toronto. To facilitate the translation of this clinical experience into scientific gains for patients, we have established a patient registry and biobank to drive research on tumours of the CNS and improve outcomes for patients with these diseases. The biobank houses clinical data and tumour tissue from patients undergoing surgery for tumours of the CNS at St. Michael’s. This resource will be a foundation for collaborative neuroscience research and will position the Neuroscience Research Program to play a leading role in the international brain tumour research community.

Human Eye Tissue Biobank

Eye and optic tract The Human Eye Tissue Biobank for Research at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital is the first of its kind in Canada. Scientists now have ready access to eye tissue, which is critical for research to help understand and develop treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and glaucoma. With eye tissue for research becoming prohibitively costly and scarce, St. Michael’s non-profit biobank is a highly valuable resource for researchers around the world, removing barriers to the study of eye disease and accelerating scientific breakthroughs. More information at http://www.humaneyebank.com/