Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2022 | 5:30-7:00pm
Location: Virtual (register via Eventbrite to receive zoom details)
Host: Dr. Carol Schuurmans, Chair of Local Organizing Committee for CAN 2022
Speakers: Dr. Kullervo Hynynen, Dr. Isabelle Aubert, Dr. Nir Lipsman
Q&A Moderators: Dr. Rikke Kofoed and Dr. Yacine Touahri
Focused ultrasound is a revolutionary technology with the potential to change medicine and transform the treatment of brain diseases. The innovative procedure aims to do away with traditional invasive brain surgeries and instead relies on precision imaging and ultrasound energy to reach areas deep within the brain for the treatment, or investigation of safety and efficacy in a number of indications including; essential tremor, Alzheimer’s disease, severe depression, and more.
At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, researchers have advanced focused ultrasound technology, pioneering applications and leading ground-breaking clinical trials to provide new therapies for brain diseases, in some cases where none existed before. In this CAN Public Lecture, Sunnybrook’s world-leading experts will share the latest advances in focused ultrasound — from device development, to biological insights and clinical translation.
Learn more about Focused ultrasound research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Kullervo Hynynen
Dr. Kullervo Hynynen is Vice President of Research and Innovation and a Senior Scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute. He holds the Temerty Chair in Focused Ultrasound Research and is also Co-director of the Focused Ultrasound Centre of Excellence at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Hynynen is also Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics and Cross Appointed Professor in the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) at University of Toronto. Dr. Hynynen is a pioneer of focused ultrasound and was instrumental in developing the first clinical system for magnetic resonance (MR) image-guided focused ultrasound. He has invented and developed methods for brain ablation and blood-brain-barrier opening. Dr. Hynynen currently leads a team of more than 50 engineers, scientists, students, and technicians who design and test systems, conduct preclinical studies, and facilitate clinical research at Sunnybrook and other hospitals in Toronto.
Dr. Isabelle Aubert
Dr. Isabelle Aubert is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Brain Repair and Regeneration, Senior Scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute, and Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. The Brain Repair Group, led by Dr. Aubert, is using MR image-guided focused ultrasound in preclinical models of neurodegenerative disorders, specializing in Alzheimer’s disease, to develop therapies that can halt neurodegeneration and promote regeneration.
Dr. Nir Lipsman
Dr. Nir Lipsman is a Neurosurgeon, Scientist, Director of the Harquail Centre for Neuromodulation, and Co-director of the Focused Ultrasound Centre of Excellence, all at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Lipsman is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto. An early adopter of focused ultrasound, he is looking to bring noninvasive solutions to patients as quickly and safely as possible. Dr. Lipsman leads the way by collaborating with experts in a wide range of disciplines, from neurodegenerative disease to psychiatric disorders and oncology. This approach has led Dr. Lipsman and his team to several world first clinical trials using focused ultrasound, including the first experience of blood-brain barrier opening in Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and primary and secondary brain tumours.
Dr. Carol Schuurmans
Dr. Carol Schuurmans is the Dixon Family Chair in Ophthalmology Research and Senior Scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI). She is also a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. Her research is focused on the specification of neural cell fates and the control of tissue morphogenesis in the developing central nervous system, in particular in the retina and neocortex. She also applies her knowledge of neural development to understand the injury response, and to create lineage conversion strategies for cell replacement therapies in the eye and brain.
Dr. Rikke Kofoed
Dr. Kofoed obtained her PhD from Aarhus University, Denmark, where her research focused on Parkinson Disease and cell signaling. As a post-doctoral fellow at Sunnybrook Research Institute in the laboratory of Dr. Isabelle Aubert, Dr. Kofoed is investigating the use of focused-ultrasound for non-invasive delivery of gene therapies to the brain. Specifically, her goal is to develop novel strategies to obtain gene delivery efficiencies with translational potential by combining focused ultrasound with engineered genes and gene carriers. While optimizing non-invasive gene delivery to the brain, Dr. Kofoed is also focusing on monitoring the safety of this delivery approach, including the immune response to the viral vectors used as gene carriers. Dr. Kofoed’s research is supported by post-doctoral fellowships from the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the Carlsberg Foundation in Denmark.
Dr. Yacine Touahri
Dr. Touahri earned his PhD in developmental neuroscience from the Université Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier, France, where he was trained at the Centre de biologie du dévelopment specializing in neural development. After completing his PhD, Dr. Touahri joined Dr. Carol Schuurmans’ lab to pursue his postdoctoral training, first at the University of Calgary, and since 2016 at the Sunnybrook Research Institute. His current research focuses on developing gene and cell therapies for retinal degenerative diseases such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). He has also explored non-invasive delivery approaches to safely deliver therapeutics to the retina, including focused ultrasound.