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The Research Institute of St. Joe’s is celebrating several researchers who have recently been awarded major grants to support their work at our Hospital. Funded projects include studies in opioid reduction after knee replacement surgery, ending trial-and-error treatment in mood disorders, and the use of artificial intelligence to predict suicide attempts in youths. 

“It is important for us to recognize the significant investments being made in St. Joe’s research, which reflect on the high caliber of our researchers,” said Dr. Lehana Thabane, Scientific Director of The Research Institute.

 

OREOS

Dr. Kim Madden, an orthopedic researcher, along with her interdisciplinary research team were recently granted funding for two years from McMaster Surgical Associates. The funding will support the Opioid Reduction in Orthopaedic Surgery (OREOS) study.

The research aims to assess the viability of an alternative pain management strategy for dealing with post-knee replacement surgery – the second most common surgery performed in Canada. Currently, opioids are usually prescribed, but they can be dangerous, especially when used for long periods of time. Ultimately, researchers are aiming to safely reduce opioid usage after surgery. 

The study was previously awarded funding from the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation Collaboration Grant, presented at Celebrate Research 2020.

 

A Paradigm Shift in Mood Disorders

Dr. Benicio Frey, along with co-investigators Dr. Karun Singh (UHN) and Dr. Flavio Kapczinski, have been awarded a grant from the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) – Exploration Stream. The grant, totalling $250,000 over two years, will fund the project entitled, “A paradigm shift in mood disorders: The end of trial-and-error in treatment selection.” 

In this high-risk, high-reward study, the researchers will develop 3D brain tissue ("mini-brains") from blood taken from individuals with depression and bipolar disorder and will study the effects of commonly used medications in these mini-brains.

“Using stem cell technology, we hope to better understand why the same medications can help one person really well but not the next person, which will bring us closer to a more accurate personalized treatment choice,” said Dr. Frey.

The current drug treatment strategies for depression and bipolar disorder involve a trial-and-error paradigm, which prolongs suffering for those who do not benefit from the initial drug regimen.

 

Artificial Intelligence to Predict Suicide Attempts among Youth

Dr. Flavio Kapczinski, a co-investigator in the study mentioned above, is also the primary grantee of a New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) – Exploration Stream award, for his project entitled, “The use of artificial intelligence to predict suicide attempts among youth: a machine learning approach.” Collaborators on the project, which is being supported by approximately $250,000 over two years, include Dr. Raquel de Boni (Brazil) and Dr. Benicio Frey.

 

 

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