Already set to unite medical research and the social sciences in a ground-breaking way through the Brain and Mind Institute (uOBMRI), the University of Ottawa is bringing five local hospitals on board in an effort to strengthen the link between the University and the health research community.
“This is a truly interdisciplinary project, one that breaks down the barriers between the physical, the emotional and the social aspects of our beings,” says uOttawa Board of Governors chair Robert Giroux at an event on Brain Health Research Day this past Friday. The event was held at uOttawa’s Roger-Guindon campus on June 15, 2012, and highlighted the partnership between the hospitals and uOBMRI. “The answers we need cannot be found in one silo—we need the best minds working together, joining their varied perspectives,” adds Giroux.
This project brings together five university faculties and five hospitals in the region whose work at uOBMRI will strengthen the National Capital Region’s position as a centre of research and improve the quality of life of its residents. It will also attract high-level researchers from around the world. The uOBMRI appears to already be garnering significant international attention, with many distinguished guests in attendance at Friday’s event, including the keynote speaker, David Linden, a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins’ School of Medicine.
“The uOBMRI will play a pivotal role in uOttawa’s strategic focus and greatly contribute to the research intensity of our institution,” says Dr. Jacques Bradwejn, dean of the Faculty of Medicine. “I’m very happy that the University has chosen it to be among the top strategic initiatives of Destination 20/20.”
Since Susan Mann’s report on interdisiciplinarity at the University of Ottawa came out a decade ago, the University has sought to bring disciplines together in both teaching and research. The event on Friday was aimed at emphasizing this priority. The event brought together not only the deans of the faculties of Social Sciences and Medicine but also CEOs of local hospitals, presidents of hospital foundations as well as uOttawa professors and students.
“Our Faculty is pleased to be an important partner of the Institute,” says the dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Marcel Mérette. “In fact, many of our 260 scholars are uniquely positioned to contribute in a very concrete way towards driving a more interdisciplinary approach to research on the most crucial health and social issues pertaining to the brain and mind.”
With over 103 internationally renowned neuroscientists and clinical brain researchers, the University’s Faculty of Medicine, together with other faculties and professors, aims to build on this expertise with the uOBMRI.
“We believe there is no health without brain and mind health, and that we need to maximize our energies and efforts in order to both preserve and enhance the health of the brain and mind across the age spectrum,” says uOBMRI founding director, Dr. Antoine Hakim. “The uOBMRI will further facilitate developing synergies among our own brain researchers, be they basic scientists or clinical investigators, and help them achieve international excellence.”