Mobilizing Ontario’s Excellence in Brain Research

The National Academy of Sciences in the United States recognizes the crucial importance of collaboration in the field of neuroscience. Their 2008 Workshop Report – From Molecules to Minds – describes the importance of collaboration.

“Recognizing that neuroscience is not, of course, really a single field is important. Rather it is a multidisciplinary enterprise including diverse fields of biology, psychology, neurology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, engineering, computer science and more. If scientists within neuroscience and related disciplines could unite around a small set of goals, the opportunity for advancing our understanding of brain and mental function would be huge.”

The Ontario Brain Institute is cultivating this multidisciplinary collaboration. Its goal is to improve brain health. To do this we created research programs called "Integrated Discovery Programs" that bring together scientists, clinicians, industry representatives and patient advocacy groups from across Ontario.  We believe this approach will help to foster the kind of fresh thinking that takes breakthroughs in the lab and turns them into ground-breaking outcomes for patients and families.

Our Integrated Discovery Programs

We call it "Integrated Discovery" because:

  • it gathers together all the researchers and clinical sites dealing with a specific disease, for example, intractable epilepsy.
  • it addresses disorders that represent a significant burden to Ontarians, their families and Ontario’s society and economy, by engaging clinicians and basic scientists.
  • it mobilizes researchers skilled in all the relevant tools and platforms required to understand the causes and treatments of a disease, to enable the fullest understanding of the disease mechanisms.
  • Integrated Discovery enables researchers in one disorder area to apply their discoveries and findings to other disorders, because imaging and clinical data are gathered and kept in a common format. This lets researchers pursue questions and hypotheses across disorders to discover common mechanisms that may have unexpected explanatory power

Our Programs

Our research programs, called "Integrated Discovery Programs", have five underlying principles. The research must:

  • rank as excellent on an international stage
  • focus on the patient
  • integrate across Ontario and across disciplines
  • involve standardized assessments
  • have a translational thrust