Jun 7, 2022

2022 CREMS Project Announcement

Announcements, Research, TDRA Investigators

The Comprehensive Research Experience for Medical Students (CREMS) Program, offered by the University of Toronto MD Program, is a 10-12 week summer program that engages medical students in full-time research under the supervision of faculty mentors. CREMS students are co-funded by the CREMS program and research supervisors.

For a second year, the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance (TDRA) was able to co-fund a CREMS student conducting dementia research under a TDRA investigator. On behalf of research supervisor Dr. Krista Lanctôt, TDRA is pleased to be co-funding CREMS student Elizabeth Boyd. Details of their research project are found below:

Project Title: Mild Behavioral Impairment: Cognitive Profile and Brain Atrophy in the Early Stages of Neurodegenerative Disorders

Field of Research: Neuroimaging, neuropsychiatric symptoms, neural correlates, dementia

Project Description: Mild behavioral impairment (MBI) is becoming a clinical tool for identifying people at increased risk of developing dementia. MBI assesses five neuropsychiatric symptoms that are indicative of underlying neurodegenerative processes, including: motivation, affect, impulsivity, social appropriateness, and perception and thought content. This study aims to provide insights about the neural mechanisms of these early stage behavioural symptoms. This will be accomplished through analyzing a dataset called ‘COMPASS-ND’, which is made available by the Canadian Consortium for Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA). This dataset includes various neurodegenerative disorders, and many of the subjects have been assessed with the MBI-Checklist. Associations between gray matter atrophy and MBI-Checklist scores, and between brain and behavioural measures, will be tested.

Elizabeth Boyd

Elizabeth Boyd is a first-year medical student at the University of Toronto. Her interest in geriatrics and neurology stems from the years she spent volunteering with people living with dementia and brain injuries. Elizabeth graduated from the University of Ottawa’s Biomedical Sciences program. For her honours project and post-graduation, she worked in the Keillor Medicinal Chemistry lab synthesizing and testing inhibitors for an enzyme involved in cancer metastasis. She is proud to have made the lab’s first drug-like inhibitor, thus advancing the patent project to stem cell and animal trials. With this CREMS project, Elizabeth is excited to transition to clinical research and explore her interest in geriatrics and neurology through a research lens.

Dr. Krista Lanctôt

Dr. Krista Lanctôt is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Research Group at the Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI). She is also a professor in the departments of psychiatry and pharmacology/toxicology at the University of Toronto (U of T), and holds the Bernick Chair in Geriatric Psychopharmacology at U of T and SRI. Dr. Lanctôt is a leader in the field of dementia research. Her research investigates the underlying neurobiology of neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with illness (e.g., mood changes, apathy), with the goal of optimizing treatment of these symptoms.

We thank all the TDRA investigators who submitted dementia research projects to the CREMS program during this application cycle. We encourage the TDRA community to continue to be active in CREMS as we continue to co-fund successful candidates.

For more details on the CREMS program, please visit: https://md.utoronto.ca/crems-summer-research-program