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York U in research partnership with Southlake

TORONTO – York University scientists will soon have new research opportunities in biomedical and health research, thanks to a partnership between Southlake Regional Health Centre and York.

The two organizations have created a research partnership “incubator” that will assist and support York and Southlake scientists to collaborate on biomedical and health research. Activities will include identifying research partners and funding opportunities, as well as facilitating ethics approval.

Building on York University’s proactive research outreach strategy into York Region, Professor Michael Siu, associate vice president research (science & technology), spearheaded the effort in developing the partnership with Southlake.

“Given York’s excellence in biomedical and health research,” Siu said, “we were excited to establish a relationship with a teaching and research-focused hospital such as Southlake. This partnership recognizes the University’s contribution to research within York region, and it will enable our scientists to translate their research into solutions for the well-being of all Canadians.”

As research liaison specialist, a position jointly funded by Southlake and York, Dr. Dave Tulbert will work concurrently with York University researchers and Southlake clinicians to establish new collaborative research projects in all of the clinical sciences, as well as related areas such as healthcare management and sociology. “Our objective”, he says, “is to introduce, facilitate, and coordinate collaborations to create win-win situations between York faculty and Southlake clinicians.”

Southlake Regional Health Centre, located 40 minutes north of Toronto in the Town of Newmarket, is the only community-based hospital in Ontario to offer six regional tertiary programs, including cardiac and cancer care.

Patrick Clifford, Southlake’s manager of professional practice and research ethics, worked with Siu to establish this research liaison office. “Some of the most respected and talented clinicians in Canada work at Southlake,” says Clifford. “We are delighted to partner with York in bringing proven academic researchers together with our 400 physicians and 1,500 clinical staff; a combination that should make for some exciting partnerships and important research.”

A number of collaborative opportunities have already been identified. Three that have moved beyond the conceptual stage are:
• a cardiac biomarker project involving Professor Imogen Coe (York) and cardiac surgeon Dr. Charles Peniston (Southlake);
• a project on using advanced computer algorithms for better radiation therapy led on the York side by Professor Amir Asif;
• a project on eating disorders with Professor Jennifer Mills from York and Drs. Adele Lafrance and Ahmed Boachie from Southlake’s nationally-recognized child & adolescent eating disorders program.

York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada’s most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as more than 200,000 alumni worldwide. York’s 11 faculties and 26 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.

Southlake Regional Health Centre is a full service hospital with a regional, clinically advanced focus. As a regionally designated site, Southlake is responsible for developing and providing advanced levels of care to the over one million people who reside in York Region, Simcoe County and, in some cases, as far north as Muskoka.

Southlake’s regional programs include Cardiac Care, Cancer Care, Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders, Child and Adolescent Mental Health beds, Paediatrics and Perinatal Care, and Thoracic – making Southlake the only non-teaching hospital in Ontario to offer a total of six regional programs. Other specialty services offered at Southlake include thoracic surgery, cataract surgery, and arthritis care. Southlake’s future plans include the establishment of a university-affiliated teaching and research centre.