Neuroscience Research Program

Research Priorities and Platforms

Fundamental Neurobiology

Fundamental neurobiology at St. Michael’s combines a full range of research from whole animals to cell cultures. The research uses methods including cellular and brain electrophysiology, molecular biology, behavioral analysis and imaging, to characterize and understand mechanisms underlying stroke, brain injury and neurodegenerative disorders. St. Michael’s neuroscience researchers are leaders in their field, employing cutting-edge technology and expertise, striving to identify innovative strategies for therapeutic intervention.

Imaging

St. Michael’s neuroimaging technology allows researchers and clinicians a rare glimpse into the structure and function of the brain. As imaging technology continues to improve, scientists are gaining better insight into the structural and functional correlates of neurological diseases. This will allow for a better understanding of the underlying causes and progression of brain disorders, and provide a platform to study disease and treatment response. In addition to providing exquisite anatomic detail, current advanced imaging techniques allow scientists to noninvasively visualize physiological processes such as brain activation during tasks (e.g. gathering and interpreting information, generating responses, as well as creating and processing thoughts and emotions). These techniques will have profound implications on how researchers study the brain.

Applied Clinical Research

The Neuroscience Research Program has the support of several hospital resources for the development, implementation, and execution of patient-based research. Most notable is the Trauma and Neurosurgery Program Clinical Research Office. Established in 2004, the Trauma and Neurosurgery Program Clinical Research Office plays a supporting role to neuroscience investigators by assisting with administrative, regulatory and data management issues of clinical trials. The office has successfully co-ordinated 18 industry sponsored and investigator-initiated clinical trials and over 40 observational studies. These studies have involved patients from various units including the Trauma-Neuro Intensive Care Unit, trauma neurosurgery inpatient unit, neurovascular clinic, stroke unit and outpatient head injury clinic.

In addition, the Neuroscience Research Program works closely with the Applied Health Research Center (AHRC) at St. Michael’s. Through the AHRC’s main clinical service areas, it provides innovative research solutions for clinical research coordination. For more information about the AHRC and services the AHRC provides click here (http://www.ahrconline.ca/).

Knowledge Translation

The St. Michael’s Neuroscience Research Program has strengths across many research disciplines. Our unique and specialized skills, coupled with clinical populations and hospital resources provide St. Michael’s neuroscientists with the opportunity to confront unexplored multidisciplinary challenges that span from “bench to bedside”. St. Michael’s Neuroscience Research Program is home to national and international leaders in KT and works closely with the breaKThrough Program in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. The program’s mandate is to identify best practices so that they can be quickly adopted at the clinical level by health care professionals. By focusing on the processes through which knowledge is effectively translated into clinical practice, the breaKThrough Program plays a critical role in enabling the creation and delivery of outcome-based learning experiences, ultimately improving health outcomes.