June 13, 2019 - 12:01 AM EDT
The Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics introduces its international team of scientists
The Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics introduces its international team of scientists

Centre aims to fundamentally change how we understand and treat mental illness

TORONTO, June 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ - The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is pleased to introduce its international team of scientists at the Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics.

Under the leadership of Director Dr. Sean Hill, the Krembil Centre for Neuroinformatics is using the combined power of big data and artificial intelligence to create mathematical brain models that could fundamentally change how we understand and treat mental illness.

The power and potential of neuroinformatics is in the promise of being able to provide personalized treatment to people with mental illness, informed by everything from their cellular makeup to environmental factors present over their lifetime.

"Google made information universally accessible and changed the world," said Dr. Hill. "By making brain research data universally accessible, we are approaching brain modelling and mental illness in the same way," said Dr. Hill.

The new location for the centre, occupying the entire top floor of CAMH's 250 College location, is an open-concept "agile" space with no individual offices that is meant to foster spontaneous interaction and collaboration.

Dr. Hill has recruited an international team of top scientists in this emerging field of mental health science and has formed collaborations with many other leading research centres like Toronto Western Hospital at the University Health Network and the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

One of the key reasons Independent Scientist Dr. Shreejoy Tripathy decided to join Dr. Hill's team is because the research centre is the only one of its kind in the world that is embedded within a large mental health hospital. This means that neuroinformatics specialists can incorporate data from CAMH's vast patient population to develop personalized models.

"It is an amazing opportunity," said Dr. Tripathy. "By making better use of our neuroscience knowledge and clinical data, we aim to design a truly personalized treatment plan for every patient."

The first real world application of the Krembil Centre's work – a digital BrainHealth Databank enabling the integration of research and care funded by CAMH's Discovery Fund – is already having a positive impact on patient care. In CAMH's Major Depressive Disorder Integrated Care Pathway, the neuroinformatics team has initiated the use of electronic tablets in the clinic accelerating data capture. This patient data in turn helps doctors in their clinical decision making.

As the BrainHealth Databank grows, it will include high quality, rich datasets describing a patient's journey through genomic, brain imaging, mobile and wearable data. It will be used by the neuroinformatics centre for future research to benefit patients at CAMH and around the world.

"The more high quality data we collect in the BrainHealth Databank, the more we can inform computational models which can accelerate the discovery of new diagnostic tools, treatments and technologies," said BrainHealth Databank Senior Project Manager Dr. Joanna Yu.

The multidisciplinary team of international scientists includes:

Shreejoy Tripathy, Ph.D. (USA), leading the Computational Genomics team

Etay Hay, Ph.D. (Israel), leading the Brain Circuit Modelling team

John Griffiths, Ph.D. (UK), leading the Whole Brain Modelling team

Andreea Diaconescu, Ph.D. (Romania), leading the Cognitive Network Modelling team

Leon French, Ph.D. (Canada), leading the Integrative Neuroanatomy team

Daniel Felsky, Ph.D. (Canada), leading the Whole Person Modelling team

Joanna Yu, Ph.D. (Canada), Senior Project Manager of the BrainHealth Databank initiative


The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit camh.ca or follow @CAMHnews on Twitter.

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SOURCE Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Source: PR Newswire (June 13, 2019 - 12:01 AM EDT)