The Early Researcher Awards provide funding to new researchers working at publicly funded Ontario research institutions to build a research team.
Assistant Professor (status only) Frank Rudzicz, a research scientist with the Toronto Rehab Institute, and Assistant Professor (status only), Department of Medical Biophysics and Department of Computer Science, Michael Hoffman, a computational genomicist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, are both recipients of this year's ERAs.
Automatic Remote Assessment of Dementia from Speech
Assessing Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia is a very expensive and laborious process. By analyzing hundreds of linguistic features and using advanced artificial intelligence, lead researcher, Dr. Frank Rudzicz, is developing software that can identify Alzheimer's disease from short speech samples.
Dr. Rudzicz team’s robot-boy, Ludwig, keeps patients socially engaged simultaneously monitors their speech and cognitive patterns, detecting and reporting on condition declines, anxiety, depression and the like.
An expanded alphabet to model chemical changes to DNA
Genes are expressed or repressed in different cells by proteins that recognize short sequences of DNA. These proteins recognize specific strings of A, C, G, and T, and some also detect chemical modifications to DNA. A team led by Dr. Michael Hoffman is creating a model for biochemical recognition of these chemical changes that uses additional symbols for each modification.
Dr. Hoffman was also recently named a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator.