null $3 million for FRQS Dual Chairs in Artificial Intelligence and Health co-led by RI-MUHC researchers

The FRQS Dual AI Chairs Program supports research collaborations across disciplines in pursuit of the significant potential of AI to address some of humanity’s greatest health challenges.

SOURCE: McGill Office of the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) and RI-MUHC

December 15, 2023

The rapid development and deployment of artificial intelligence demands that we connect our best and brightest minds and work to train the next generation of research leaders. In June, the Fonds de Recherche du Québec Santé (FRQS) announced $4.5 million for three Dual Chairs in Artificial Intelligence and Health/Digital Health and Life Sciences. Two of these Chairs were awarded to teams co-directed by scientists at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). The third Chair was also awarded to a team at McGill. The program brings together researchers with complementary expertise in AI, data sciences and life sciences to address issues and challenges impacting the health of Canadians and the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system. With the investment from this and a previous call in 2021, the program will facilitate simultaneous research training for more than 60 students and postdoctoral fellows in the fields of AI and life sciences.

Each chair will receive $1.5 million, distributed over three years. The Dual AI Chairs are supported in part by the ministère de l’Économie, de l'Innovation et de l'Énergie. As of July 1, the programs are actively recruiting trainees.

John Kildea and Keith Murai, both RI-MUHC researchers, will co-direct two Dual Chairs in Artificial Intelligence and Health/Digital Health and Life Sciences
John Kildea and Keith Murai, both RI-MUHC researchers, will co-direct two Dual Chairs in Artificial Intelligence and Health/Digital Health and Life Sciences

“We are very grateful to Le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé for this significant support,” said Dr. Rhian Touyz, Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the RI-MUHC. “The collaborative nature of these Dual Chairs allows our talented researchers to advance the broad skills and expertise needed to develop health solutions for the future, to make medicine safer, and to improve treatment in human disease.”

“The fact that McGill researchers are co-directing all three FRQS Dual AI Chairs is truly impressive, and a testament to the expansive expertise and collaborative spirit of our AI, data sciences, and life sciences research communities,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation at McGill University.

Keith Murai, senior scientist in the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience (BRaIN) Program at the RI-MUHC and McGill Professor of Computer Science, Kaleem Siddiqi, will co-direct the Dual AI Chair, Cracking the nanoscopic structural code of the brain: Artificial intelligence and computer vision approaches for brain health, which promises to advance understanding of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

John Kildea, scientist in the Cancer Research Program at the RI-MUHC and Amal Zouaq, associate professor in the Department of Computer Engineering and Software Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, will co-direct the Dual AI Chair, Smart data for smart cancer care – a research program that combines expertise in natural language processing, semantic web technologies, and patient-centered data to create knowledge bases in oncology. With the goals of reducing risk and making cancer treatment safer and more effective, professors Kildea and Zouaq are collaborating to build an AI solution that will combine, consolidate, and exploit unstructured health data.

Mathieu Blanchette, associate professor in McGill’s School of Computer Science, will co-direct the Dual AI Chair, Développement d’approches en intelligence artificielle pour élucider les codes de régulation des ARN et exploiter leur potentiel thérapeutique, with Éric Lécuyer of the Montréal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM).This program aims to tap into the potential of AI to facilitate discoveries in RNA biology and therapeutics.

(First posted September, 2023)