Director and Administration
Message from the Director
I have always been fascinated by the brain. Its immense complexity is what inspires me as a scientist to learn more about its mysterious nature. But even for today’s researchers, it is surprising to see how complications in this one organ can lead to so many different medical problems.
My family was directly affected by a brain-related illness when my grandmother died years after suffering the consequences of a stroke. At the time, there was nothing doctors could really do. My father had also been a surgeon and an emergency room doctor, so he had seen his fair share of critical conditions; many of them were the direct result of debilitating neurological complications.
I challenged myself to learn more about the brain and its intricate nature. After I had started my own lab at the University of Ottawa, my father asked me one day, “What do you actually do?”
At the time I was researching ways to heal stroke damage. He was very confused.
He said, “There is nothing you can do about stroke.”
This strong statement echoed the painful sentiments held by many health professionals of my father’s generation. However, our understanding of the brain has changed.
We now know that the brain can adapt and has a remarkable capacity to protect and repair itself. From this stand point, the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute (uOBMRI) is starting to harness the brain’s internal healing potential to combat neurological disorders such as stroke, Parkinson`s disease and a range of mental health disorders and neuromuscular conditions.
At the uOBMRI, our goal is to decode brain signals and wiring to understand and alter brain circuitry, discover ways to promote rebuilding of the brain through regeneration and to protect and repair a damaged brain. The uOBMRI aims to promote brain health and reverse or prevent disease, while positively impacting the existing healthcare services and improving the quality of life standards for patients and their families.
Many brain disorders have proven stubbornly resistant to treatment. We understand that this challenging endeavor will take a concerted effort - one that no individual lab can solve in isolation. But we have an intensely collaborative culture and a large number of very talented, internationally recognized scientists and clinicians who are now working together through the uOBMRI.
We are on the cusp of being able to capitalize on the brain’s capacity for neural regeneration and repair. The uOBMRI has great strengths that put us at the forefront of this revolution.
With your support, we are going to do great things.
David Park, PhD, FRSC
Director of the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute