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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research

The Oslo-Toronto Alliance in Lifespan Changes in Brain and Cognition - Next Years

Alternative title: Oslo-Toronto allianse om livsløpsendringer i hjerne og kognisjon

Awarded: NOK 3.1 mill.

Project Number:

309534

Project Period:

2020 - 2023

Location:

Partner countries:

Present project is the continuation of the successful scientific and educational collaboration between LCBC at the University of Oslo and the Sick Children (SickKids) and Holland BloorviewKid Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto supported by INTPART 2016. The project will involve a large number of senior researchers, post docs, PhD students and master/ graduate students both in Oslo and Toronto. The primary objective of the collaboration is to contribute with new scientific knowledge and research-based education about the relationship between brain changes and cognitive function from birth to old age. The extension of collaboration will further increase understanding the specific role of cardiovascular factors in brain health. For this purpose, the project will integrate, harmonise and analyse data from the major studies of the partnering sites. We will continue the highly successful annual summer schools in Oslo and Toronto (if the corona situation allows for that), involving lab-tours, demonstrations and experiments, discussions and talks. In 2020 and 2021 this was unfortunately not possible due to COVID-19. However, we hope to be able to arrange this for 2022, possible with an extended schedule. We plan to continue with student/researcher exchanges as well, where students/researchers will spend 1-2 months at the partner lab. These scientific and educational exchanges will enrich the field of cognitive neuroscience with new knowledge and competences, as the partner institutions complete each other in key areas.

Establishment of the Oslo-Toronto collaboration supported by INTPART in 2016 enabled us to take advantage of the complementary expertise and resources, to make major advancements in understanding brain and cognition through the lifespan. The previous project was an important vehicle in starting a scientific and educational collaboration between LCBC and Toronto. Now it is critical that this collaboration is consolidated. Substantial efforts have been put down at both sites, and we are now in a position to take full advantage of these initial efforts. The Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint Justine has been added to the alliance taking over all the activities of the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Continuation and expansion of the previous project will yield huge benefits now that the foundation is solidified. Added value will emerge from five main activities: (1) The Oslo-Toronto-Montreal summer school: We will continue the highly successful annual summer school as soon as the covid-19 pandemic situation allows for that. The summer school is at the intersection between education and research, involving lab-tours, demonstrations and experiments, discussions and talks. (2) Students/ researcher exchange: 3-5 students/ researchers to spend 1-2 month at the partner lab. (3) Strengthened collaboration on the role of cardiovascular factors in brain health: LCBC has unique longitudinal studies where more than 1000 participants are followed over time with repeated cognitive testing and brain MRIs. The Toronto and Montreal group has expertise on cardiovascular factors in relation to brain health that LCBC aims to capitalize on in our longitudinal studies. (4) Between-scanner harmonization of MRI data: 10 participants will be scanned in Oslo, Toronto and Montreal. The data will be analysed through workshops at the summer schools. (5) Data pooling and harmonization – Big Data: The project will take advantage of the major studies conducted by the partnering sites, with special emphasis on comparison, replication, validation and extension of results. The potential of between-site data integration is large, which the project will capitalize on to a major extent in the next period.

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Funding scheme:

INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research