The University of Toronto (U of T) is a vibrant academic community that spans three distinctive campuses, partners with world-renowned hospitals, and is a leader in knowledge translation and entrepreneurship.
The Virtual Brain (TVB), is a revolutionary computer simulation platform that models human brain structure and function. U of T’s Faculty of Medicine is collaborating with Baycrest to use the science breakthrough to drive My Virtual Dream, an installation premiering on October 5 at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2013. Using brain waves collected from participants wearing Brain Computer Interface (BCI) headsets, The Virtual Brain will drive spectacular animations across the screen of a 60-ft dome. The data collected from this exciting night of art and science will be used for future research to help us better understand how the brain works.
To learn more about U of T’s important role in The Virtual Brain project and My Virtual Dream, we spoke to Alison Buchan, Vice Dean of Research and International Relations in U of T’s Faculty of Medicine.
What is U of T’s Role in My Virtual Dream at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche?
U of T’s Faculty of Medicine is a world-leading research hub for neuroscience scientists who are improving brain health of Canadians and people around the world. Randy McIntosh and his team at Baycrest Health Sciences are key members of that community of scholars and the Institute of Medical Science at UofT. In the Faculty’s Research Plan, neurosciences and brain health are priority research themes. My Virtual Dream enhances both innovative scholarship and expands our community engagement: a win-win for Baycrest, U of T and our local and global communities.
How does the partnership between Baycrest and U of T work?
Baycrest Health Sciences is one of nine fully affiliated academic hospitals with the University of Toronto. The health care professionals treating patients at Baycrest are clinician-teachers, providing care to patients while teaching and mentoring health professions students, residents, fellows and researchers at the same time. Our partnership focuses on expanding knowledge of causes, treatments and cures for neurological diseases while providing unparalleled care to neurological patients. Researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences are members of the U of T’s Brain Health and Neuroscience Network. The Network spans nine hospitals, 250 scientists and includes $98-million in research funding. To learn more about the Network, click here.
Going forward, how will The Virtual Brain impact research being conducted at U of T Faculty of Medicine?
The Virtual Brain is positioned to become a groundbreaking tool for diagnosing, treating and preventing brain disease. With an aging population and 750,000 Canadians living with cognitive impairment, including dementia, degenerative brain disease is expected to become a major healthcare issue in the next 25 years. The societal impact of neurological disease is becoming insurmountable and we need better treatments now.