Training The Next Generation Of Leaders In Brain Health And Aging

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Besides being a home to world-leading scientists in aging and brain health, Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI) is also training the next generation of scientific leaders in this field. With technical, professional and career development, our trainees and alumni are working to defeat dementia and create a world where we can all age fearlessly, whether through their work in research, academia, policy or industry.

Baycrest hosts dozens of trainees each year. Below, we highlight four who are currently at Baycrest or have
recently graduated.

Dr. Moriah Sokolowski
Banting Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Moriah Sokolowski wants to know why people choose — and succeed in — occupations related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Based in Dr. Brian Levine’s lab, her research focuses on how individual differences in cognitive processes impact performance in STEM, gaining insight into why women remain underrepresented in these fields. This work will enhance our understanding of individual differences in learning and memory, with the ultimate aim of supporting learners during their academic and career pursuits.

Hsi (Tiana) Wei
Hsi (Tiana) Wei is a PhD student in Dr. Jed Meltzer’s lab. With a Bachelor of Arts in English from the National Taiwan Normal University, Tiana is focused on the psychology and neurobiology of language in aging and has been working with a team of psychologists and engineers to develop a gamified assessment for age-related, word-finding difficulties. She is also interested in analysis models and techniques to assess cognitive decline in aging through natural speech.

Dr. Zorry Belchev
Former RRI PhD student Dr. Zorry Belchev has just joined British Columbia’s Ministry of Health as a policy analyst. During her time at the RRI in Dr. Asaf Gilboa’s lab, she developed a new cognitive intervention using Google Streetview to improve memory and navigation in individuals living with traumatic brain injury and in healthy older adults. She found the RRI’s Research Training Centre (RTC) to be “an invaluable resource for developing technical and professional skills.”

Dr. Derek Beaton
The new Director of Advanced Analytics in Data Science and Advanced Analytics (DSAA) at St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto, Dr. Derek Beaton, completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Steven Strother’s lab at the RRI and worked with Dr. Malcom Binns as part of the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI). He built quality-ensuring tools that make it easier to collect and analyze large amounts of neuroscience data for research. These tools have been pivotal to the success of research on the well-being of those with neurodegenerative conditions and their caregivers.
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