Dec 8, 2020

U of T Launches Temerty Centre for AI Research and Education in Medicine

Students, Research, Education, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Giving, Partnerships, Inclusion & Diversity
Top row: Prof. Anna Goldenberg, Prof. Muhammad Mamdani, Vinyas Harish; Centre row: Prof. Mjaye Mazwi, Prof. Laura Rosella, Alistair Johnson; Bottom row: Prof. Sean Hill, Felipe Morgado, Zoryana Salo.

Dominic Ali

Top row Prof. Anna Goldenberg, Prof. Muhammad Mamdani, Vinyas Harish. Centre row Prof. Mjaye Mazwi, Prof. Laura Rosella, Alistair Johnson. Bottom row Prof. Sean Hill, Felipe Morgado, Zoryana Salo.
Our daily interactions with technology create vast amounts of data and analytics that are fueling the 'artificial intelligence revolution.' Now, a new research centre at the University of Toronto's Temerty Faculty of Medicine aims to harness the incredible promise of AI in the realms of medicine and healthcare.

The Temerty Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research and Education in Medicine (T-CAIREM) launched this week at U of T, solidifying Toronto’s place as a world leader at the nexus of AI, data science and the health sciences.

Professor Muhammad Mamdani is the inaugural director of T-CAIREM. “Toronto is uniquely positioned to lead globally in artificial intelligence in healthcare,” says Mamdani, who was recently appointed for a five-year term. “Our expertise in medicine and allied health sciences, computer science, statistics, mathematics and engineering are among the best in the world.”

The goal of T-CAIREM, says Mamdani, is to create a forum that brings together this multidisciplinary expertise so members can share their experiences and collaborate through common interests — and a cutting-edge data and compute environment — that will transform healthcare in innovative and exciting ways.

Mamdani is well placed to bring together the worlds of AI and medicine. He is a professor in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, the Department of Medicine in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. He’s also the vice president of data science and advanced analytics at Unity Health Toronto, where his research team develops and deploys advanced analytics solutions into clinical practice, to improve patient outcomes and hospital efficiency.

Based in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, T-CAIREM’s work will focus on three pillars: research, education and data infrastructure. The centre brings together some of North America’s brightest researchers, including:

• Research co-leads: Professors Anna Goldenberg (Computer Science/SickKids) and Mjaye Mazwi (Pediatrics/SickKids)

• Education lead: Professor Laura Rosella (DLSPH) and learner co-leads Vinyas Harish (MD/PhD student) and Felipe Morgado (MD/PhD student)

• Infrastructure co-leads: Professor Sean Hill (Psychiatry/CAMH) and Dr. Alistair Johnson (SickKids).

To ensure T-CAIREM’s programs fulfill its education mandate, two students are crucial members of the centre’s leadership team. Felipe Morgado, an MD/PhD Program learner, is one of them. “The world has adjusted to AI so quickly,” says Morgado. “And this rate of adoption will continue to increase as the tools and data become more available. Today’s students will need to know how to use these tools effectively if we’re going to use them to improve patient care.”

The T-CAIREM team is launching several initiatives this month for students in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. The Trainee Rounds, aimed at graduate students across faculties as well as MD students, will give selected students the opportunity to showcase their work to leaders in the AI and healthcare research communities. In addition, a Summer Research Studentship Program will pair undergraduate and medical students with a U of T faculty supervisor to explore AI in medicine.

There are also opportunities for experienced researchers. Two $200,000 Temerty Innovation Grants for AI in Medicine are available for up to two years, for multidisciplinary teams working on projects with the potential to transform healthcare using AI over the coming decades.

T-CAIREM’s future plans include a data platform where members can share data sets, and online interest groups, which will allow members to discuss their research interests with others.

There’s already evidence T-CAIREM is filling an important gap in Toronto’s burgeoning AI-in-medicine community. This past summer, an initial call for researchers to join the centre resulted in nearly 400 new members, and the team is looking forward to adding even more to its growing community from students and researchers who are members of U of T and affiliated institutions.

“Our first priority is to build a strong community in the Toronto area and then collaborate extensively globally,” says Mamdani. “By bringing together brilliant clinicians and researchers and making it easier for them to collaborate and access data, we hope to enable advances in AI in healthcare that will radically change how we interact with the healthcare system, the care we receive, and the outcomes we achieve for future generations to come.”

For more information, visit the T-CAIREM website and follow T-CAIREM on Twitter (@UofT_TCAIREM).