Baycrest chair in cognitive neurology and innovation
May 9, 2018
TORONTO – Baycrest Health Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Howard Chertkow (pictured) as the new chair in Cognitive Neurology and Innovation, and senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI).
Dr. Chertkow will direct the new Kimel Family Centre for Brain Health and Wellness, a research, education and clinical interdisciplinary program to develop and evaluate the most promising approaches to preventing cognitive decline.
As its inaugural Director, Dr. Chertkow will assemble a state-of-the-art Clinical Trials Unit and further develop Baycrest’s translational research program in dementia to test the latest emerging therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions. He will also serve as a Clinical Advisor to the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), the largest venture of its kind in the global seniors’ care sector.
“I am thrilled to be joining Baycrest and the University of Toronto as a Senior Scientist, as Chair in Cognitive Neurology and Innovation at the Rotman Research Institute (RRI), as a Clinical Advisor to the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI), where innovations to help the elderly are emerging and as the inaugural Director of the Kimel Family Centre for Brain Health and Wellness,” said Dr. Chertkow. “I look forward to building new collaborations with the world-class scientists in the RRI, a leader in aging and brain research, and to connecting with the strong Toronto and Ontario ecosystems for aging and health research.”
Dr. Chertkow plans to bring his exciting program in neuromodulation therapy for Alzheimer disease and frontotemporal dementia to Baycrest. His lab was the first to show that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can produce clinically meaningful improvement in elderly individuals with neurodegenerative disease. This new area has tremendous promise and work with research volunteers at Baycrest will focus on determining how effective this therapy can be.
A remarkably distinguished cognitive neurologist whose contributions are admired across the world, Dr. Chertkow joins Baycrest and the University of Toronto from Montreal’s McGill University, where he served as Director of the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) and McGill University Bloomfield Centre for Research in Aging and was a Senior Investigator in the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research.
His prior position was also Professor of Neurology (Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery) at McGill University. In his practice at the JGH, Dr. Chertkow diagnosed and treated patients with early stage Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and helped found and direct Canada’s largest memory clinic.
He is an exceptionally prolific researcher in the area of dementia, serving since 2014 as Scientific Director of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), which has brought together 400 leading dementia researchers in Canada. Dr. Chertkow is an elected member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
With Dr. Chertkow’s arrival, Baycrest will now become the Headquarters and Research Network Centre for the CCNA. Through the CCNA, Baycrest will help play a central role in the government’s strategy to advance new research in the treatment of dementia.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Chertkow to Baycrest. His outstanding work in the treatment of early stage Alzheimer’s disease, and his revolutionary work in the field of cognition and memory research are without parallel,” said Dr. William Reichman, president and CEO of Baycrest Health Sciences.
“Bringing the CCNA to Baycrest marks the next step in our exciting evolution, which has seen the growth and impact of our Rotman Research Institute, our Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, and our soon to be built Kimel Family Centre for Brain Health and Wellness. Under Dr. Chertkow’s leadership, we will be able to advance to the next level of accomplishment, our shared goals to identify, apply and redefine best practices in prevention and in the treatment of brain health diseases such as Alzheimer’s and related dementias.”
Dr. Chertkow’s areas of research interest include: early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and prediction of deterioration in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI); the structure, organization, and function of the semantic memory component of long-term memory, and its deterioration in dementia; localization of language and memory functions in the brain using functional imaging; and therapy of cognitive disorders in Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia using neuromodulation approaches.
Dr. Allison Sekuler, vice-president, research, and the Sandra A. Rotman Chair at Baycrest Health Sciences, also welcomed Dr. Chertkow to Baycrest.
“The global percentage of people over the age of 65 is growing rapidly, and there is an urgent need for research with tangible results in the areas of brain health and aging. The discoveries we make in our labs at the Rotman Research Institute, and the innovations we support through CABHI, have the potential to directly impact the health care and outcomes of individuals around the world,” says Dr. Sekuler.
“I look forward to working alongside Dr. Chertkow as we embark on new paths to help older adults age safely in the setting of their choice while maintaining cognitive, emotional, and physical well-being.”
Over the past five years, Dr. Chertkow has most impressively received $40 million in research funding as a Principal Investigator. This includes being awarded the first Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Foundation grant in the domain of aging and geriatrics.
In 2005, he and his colleagues, Ziad Nasreddine and Natalie Phillips, published the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), which has become an international standard for diagnosis of MCI. The MoCA is now used worldwide to screen for cognitive loss in the elderly.
About Baycrest Health Sciences
Now in its 100th year, Baycrest Health Sciences is a global leader in geriatric residential living, healthcare, research, innovation and education, with a special focus on brain health and aging. Fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, Baycrest provides excellent care for older adults combined with an extensive clinical training program for the next generation of healthcare professionals and one of the world’s top research institutes in cognitive neuroscience, the Rotman Research Institute. Baycrest is home to the federally and provincially-funded Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, a solution accelerator focused on driving innovation in the aging and brain health sector, and is the developer of Cogniciti – a free online memory assessment for Canadians 40+ who are concerned about their memory. Founded in 1918 as the Jewish Home for Aged, Baycrest continues to embrace the long-standing tradition of all great Jewish healthcare institutions to improve the well-being of people in their local communities and around the globe. For more information please visit www.baycrest.org.