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Prominent neuroscientist to advance brain research through new SFU institute

January 18, 2022
Randy McIntosh, SFU science professor and BC Leadership Chair in Neuroscience and Technology Translation Across the Lifespan.

Taking brain research in promising new directions is at the heart of a new Simon Fraser University (SFU) research institute, to be led by renowned neuroscientist Randy McIntosh.

The SFU Institute for Neuroscience and Neurotechnology (INN), based at the Burnaby campus, will serve as a hub for research, training and engagement, bringing together researchers from across SFU and supporting interdisciplinary research and collaborations across the university, and beyond.

McIntosh is the former director and senior scientist at the Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, University of Toronto—and brings more than 25 years of expertise in neuroscience research to SFU, with his appointment to the new BC Leadership Chair in Neuroscience and Technology Translation Across the Lifespan.

McIntosh will play a central role in furthering SFU’s work in brain imaging and neuroscience research and training. Under his leadership, the institute will strengthen research through such means as neuroimaging acquisitions and analysis, informatics and data pipelines, and computational modelling.

“Answers to critical questions in this field lie at a pivotal intersection between a broad range of disciplines—solutions that require engaging end users and stakeholders in all stages of research,” says Dugan O’Neil, SFU’s vice-president, research and international. “We welcome the appointment of Prof. McIntosh to help us address this challenge and guide SFU’s new institute, setting the course for our future neuroscience research.”

McIntosh’s work includes co-developing The Virtual Brain, a platform for creating brain simulations that is providing new insights into brain function. His longstanding interest in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, together with data analytics, has helped create methods tailored to answer complicated questions about the brain.

“This position gives me an opportunity to build on over 25 years of a neuroscience foundation to do something new at SFU that I think will transform how we approach the brain,” says McIntosh. “I have been building the ideas around an inclusive and extended approach to neuroscience that goes outside traditional boundaries—and I am confident that SFU is the place to make these ideas a reality.”

McIntosh’s first priorities include developing technical support through the advancement of new tools for researchers and trainees, and linking existing research efforts to build on brain health and resilience research. With SFU’s efforts to address neuroscience across the lifespan, researchers will focus on developing a wide range of treatments for neurological conditions as well as mental health and addiction.

The BC Leadership Chair is supported by the provincial government’s Leading Edge Endowment Fund (LEEF) program which is managed by Innovate BC. The LEEF Chairs are designed to attract world-class faculty, strengthen British Columbia’s capacity for innovative research and position the province as a leader in the knowledge-based economy.  

Learn more about Randy McIntosh and the SFU Institute for Neuroscience and Neurotechnology.