RRI Annual Report 2019-2020

Baycrest Health Sciences & Baycrest Foundation Publications

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This has been quite the year. Now, more than ever, the health and well-being of older adults is front and centre here in Canada and around the world. During 2019-2020, the Rotman Research Institute (RRI) continued making great strides in the field of aging and brain health, discovering information that will serve our seniors well for many years to come. Given the unique circumstances of the time, we scaled-back our annual report this year, so we provide just a small sampling of RRI research. But our researchers still are making large contributions to the prevention, early detection, and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Here we present Dr. Jean Chen's innovative brain imaging techniques, Dr. Randy McIntosh's predictive brain health modelling, and Dr. Jed Meltzer's non-invasive brain stimulation methods, as just a few examples. In addition to continuing our important work related to the aging brain, we are proud of the unique contributions many of our researchers are making to understand and address the impacts of COVID-19 on aging and brain health. This report offers a small glimpse into all of that research, highlighting the innovative work of Drs. Shayna Rosenbaum and Donna Rose Addis on future thinking in the context of the pandemic. This report also puts the spotlight on Mary Akuamoah-Boateng, our Senior Research Agreements Specialist. The COVID-19-related shift to increased virtual and large-scale collaborative studies may have made Mary's role even more challenging, but she rose to that challenge, ensuring the RRI's many research successes continued. The racial disparities in the impact of COVID-19 were amplified by ongoing incidents of anti-Black racism and violence in Canada and globally. The RRI stands in solidarity with Black Canadians and everyone experiencing the long-standing anguish and frustration of racism plaguing our world today. We promise to do more than just stand in solidarity, though – we promise to be part of the solution. We commit to making changes that lead to a more equal and just workplace and community, and to be intentional in rooting out active and passive forms of discrimination in all aspects of our work, including making our research more inclusive. While these remain uncertain and challenging times, we are bolstered by the purpose, inspiration, and perseverance we have seen from all our researchers, staff, and trainees this year. We may not know what hurdles lie ahead, but we will remain steadfast as we strive towards a world in which every older adult can enjoy a life of purpose, inspiration, and fulfilment. Message from Leadership DR. ALLISON SEKULER Vice President, Research, Baycrest Managing Director, Rotman Research Institute Managing Director, Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation Sandra A. Rotman Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience Senior Scientist, Rotman Research Institute NEIL FRASER Chair, Research Advisory Committee, Baycrest President, Medtronic Canada 2019–2020 Year in Review ROTMAN RESEARCH INSTITUTE 2019–2020 YEAR IN REVIEW 1 Research at the Rotman Research Institute advances our understanding of the complexity of human brain structure and function in critical areas, such as sensory processing, memory, language, and attention. With a primary focus on aging and brain health, RRI scientists and other researchers across the Baycrest campus promote effective care and improved quality of life of older adults through foundational and translational research. Learn more at

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