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Scientist in Physical Sciences and Canada Research Chair Tier 2 in Contrast Agents and Biosensors

Posted on December 1, 2020.

The Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI) is seeking candidates for a scientist position in the Physical Sciences in contrast agents and biosensors for medical imaging and image-guided therapy. The selected candidate will become member of the Physical Sciences platform of SRI and may be nominated for Tier 2 Canada Research Chair.

Position: Contrast agents and biosensors for medical imaging and image-guided therapy

We are seeking a researcher focused on the development of imaging contrast agents or other biosensor approaches that are relevant to the understanding, diagnosis or treatment of disease processes. The research focus can involve imaging modalities such as MRI, PET, optical and ultrasound, and it may relate to multimodal imaging. The approaches employed should provide information related to the visualization and quantification of molecular and cellular events or aspects of the tissue microenvironment.

The applicant must show strong evidence of research and scholarly achievement, and a proven capacity in mentoring and collaboration. The successful applicant will develop an internationally competitive research program and participate in graduate training through an academic appointment in the appropriate department at the University of Toronto (e.g. the Department of Medical Biophysics, or the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering). In addition to fostering local, national, and international collaborations, the successful applicant will be expected to collaborate with other SRI scientists, build complementary translational research capacity, and engage with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre clinicians so as to enable short- and/or long-term clinical translation of their research, ultimately contributing to Sunnybrook’s strategic direction in Personalized and Precise Treatments, with a vision of inventing the future of healthcare. SRI has an outstanding capacity for the development of translational research programs across a range of clinical foci. The applicant’s research program is thus expected to align well with one or more of the nine clinical programs described below.

About Sunnybrook Research Institute

SRI is a research organization owned by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, one of Canada’s leading academic health sciences centres. SRI is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and comprises three research platforms: Biological Sciences, Evaluative Clinical Sciences and Physical Sciences, each of which functions similarly to a university department under the leadership of a cognate director. The institute supports $100 million of annual research activities within approximately 250,000 square feet of state-of-the-art research space located at the Bayview campus of Sunnybrook. SRI has one of the best recognized and most productive research teams in the field of medical imaging and image guided therapy in the world. The Physical Sciences platform is comprised of 64 scientists and has a total staff of over 300, including close to 100 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows associated with the University of Toronto.

SRI infrastructure is housed within 250,000 square feet of research space that includes one 1.5T (GE) and three 3T (GE, Philips, Siemens) research-dedicated MRI systems, a research MRI-PET system (Siemens), a system for MRI-guided focused ultrasound brain treatments (Insightec), a combined X-ray / MRI suite dedicated to research on image-guided interventions, a research CT system (Canon/Toshiba), a 7T small-bore MRI system (Bruker), a vertical 7T NMR system (Bruker), a twin multiphon laser scanning microscope (Olympus), a GE Spinlab polarizer for 13C MRI research, a wide range of ultrasound machines as well as preclinical photoacoustic systems. This extensive imaging infrastructure is supplemented by a Device Development Lab (DDL; RF electronics and advanced machine shops), a cyclotron, flow cytometry facilities, a whole-mount 3D histopathology laboratory and GMP-grade clean rooms for drug and contrast agent development.

The goal of the Physical Science platform is to advance scientific discovery, develop new medical technologies, and foster commercialization of discovery research so as to enable its translation and uptake into the clinic. Our research is specifically aimed at the delivery of novel diagnostic and interventional techniques to the hospital’s nine clinical programs:

  • Holland Bone and Joint with primary foci in the areas of traumatic fracture treatment, the impact of arthritis management, and minimally invasive interventional strategies for spinal metastases;
  • Hurvitz Brain Sciences with major foci in stroke and neurodegenerative diseases (like dementias and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), mood and anxiety disorders, neuropsychiatric consequences of traumatic brain injury, and sleep disorders;
  • Integrated Community that includes emergency imaging across the programs (such as trauma and cancer), has research foci in outpatient COPD, infectious diseases, and dialysis patients, and is evaluating the linkages between hospital-based resources and community healthcare providers;
  • Odette Cancer with Canada’s largest academic programs in breast cancer and radiation oncology, and a central nervous system program with MR-Linac and GammaKnife technologies;
  • Schulich Heart with one of Canada’s largest transcutaneous structural/valve programs and its research - focused on image guided therapies for structural disease, coronary disease and complex arrhythmias - extending from device development and preclinical study to integrated care pathways creation and novel health policy;
  • John’s Rehab with the only organ transplant program in Canada and the sole burn and oncology programs in Ontario in addition to major programs in limb loss, MSK, cardiac, and stroke;
  • Tory Trauma that is the largest trauma program in Canada, with a third of the patients with traumatic brain injury and the largest burn centre in Canada;
  • Veterans with the largest veterans care facility in Canada; and
  • DAN Women and Babies Program that is home to a very high volume high risk pregnancy unit and is doing globally leading work in twin pregnancy and interventions to improve outcome of babies born preterm, as well as exploring the frontiers of in utero fetal brain imaging.

Research areas in Physical Sciences include Biomedical Imaging and Image Analysis (MRI, Ultrasound, X-Ray, Digital Pathology and Optical); Precision Medicine (Radiogenomics, Theranostics); Computational Modeling and Machine Learning; Design and Development of Medical Devices; Biophysics and Bioengineering. A major focus is Image-Guided Therapy, a theme that has been supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation leading to the establishment of the Centre for Research in Image-Guided Therapeutics; by the FedDev program resulting in Image-Guided Therapy cluster; and by the federal Strategic Innovation Fund giving rise to Inovait, an industry-academic consortium for AI and Image-Guided Therapy. Physical scientists at SRI engage clinical partners in their research and pursue opportunities to move their innovations to the clinic through pre-clinical and first-in-human testing to commercialize the products of their research by creating start-ups and licensing, and/or by partnering with companies in the development of new technologies. They are strongly supported in these efforts by SRI’s Technology Transfer office.

Requirements for a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair

Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs are for emerging scholars and successful nominees should be within ten* years of receiving their highest degree. To meet the criteria, nominees must be excellent emerging world-class researchers who have demonstrated research creativity; have demonstrated the potential to achieve international recognition in their fields in the next five to ten years; have the potential to attract, develop and retain excellent trainees, students and future researchers; and are proposing an original, innovative research program of high quality.

*Exceptions: Applicants who are more than ten years from having earned their highest degree but have experienced career breaks, such as for maternity, parental or extended sick leave, clinical training, or other mitigating circumstances may have their eligibility for a Tier 2 chair assessed through the program’s Tier 2 justification process.

For further information on the federally endowed CRCs, open to all nationalities, including eligibility criteria, please consult the Canada Research Chairs website. Sunnybrook Research Institute is committed to providing successful candidates with institutional support to apply for the CRC. For more information about the CRC program at SRI, please contact Claudia Gordijo in the strategic research programs office at Claudia.Gordijo@sunnybrook.ca or visit SRI’s CRC website.

Toronto: Toronto is the most populous city in Canada and the fourth most populous city in North America. It is located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario and features an extensive network of rivers, deep ravines, and urban forests, excellent for sailing, canoeing, biking, running, and cross country skiing. It is an international centre of business, finance, and the arts, and is a truly multicultural metropolis, with half of Torontonians born outside of Canada. Toronto has been consistently rated as one of the top 10 most liveable cities in the world.

How To apply

Applications should include:

  1. a letter of interest of no more than 3 pages. The letter should indicate sensors position and briefly describe the applicant’s expertise and their fit with the CRC criteria for a Tier 2 Chair, their proposed research program and its alignment with the foci of the Physical Sciences Platform and the clinical activities in one or more of Sunnybrook’s nine research programs; in addition to the University of Toronto strategic research plan and Sunnybrook’s strategic plan;
  2. a complete curriculum vitae including professional services, outreach, mentoring/training of highly qualified personnel and other contributions; and
  3. a completed self-identification form (see note below).

Applicants should email the letter of interest indicating “Biosensors position”, curriculum vitae, self-identification form and the names of three references to CRC@sri.utoronto.ca by February 1, 2021. Notwithstanding this deadline, applications will be considered until the positions are filled. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Selection process and criteria

The selection committee, chaired by Dr. David Goertz, will evaluate applicants based on the application packages provided. For more detailed information on the internal selection process and criteria with respect to CRC nominations, please consult SRI’s guidelines for the selection, nomination and administration of CRCs.

Career interruptions

Sunnybrook Research Institute recognizes that scientists have varying career paths and understands the impact that career interruptions can have on a candidate’s record of research achievement. Candidates are encouraged to explain any interruptions in order to allow for a fair assessment of their application. Selection committee members have been instructed to give careful consideration to, and be sensitive to the impact of career interruptions in their assessments.

Diversity statement

Sunnybrook Research Institute is strongly committed to inclusion and diversity within its community and welcomes all applicants including but not limited to: women, visible minorities or persons of colours, Indigenous peoples, people from all genders, religions and ethnicities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2+ persons and all others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

Collection of equity data

As part of this CRC application, applicants are required to complete a brief self-identification form found here. The form must be completed and submitted for the application to be deemed complete, but it allows individuals to opt-out of specific responses. Information directly related to individuals is held in confidence by the strategic research programs office and will be not available to the selection committees, other SRI staff, or potential external reviewers. The self-identification information will be aggregated for institutional planning purposes as a part of SRI’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, and categories with fewer than three responses will not be reported. The form is part of the application package and we strongly encourage applicants to self-identify, as aggregated information is important to our ability to respond to university equity targets set by the Canada Research Chairs Program and maintain funding from this program.

Accommodation policy

Sunnybrook Research Institute is committed to providing accessible employment practices that are in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If you require accommodation for a disability during any stage of the recruitment process, please indicate this in your cover letter.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Job information:

  • Position title: Scientist, Physical Sciences platform
  • NOC Code and Title: 2111 – Research Scientist, Physical Sciences
  • Number of positions: 1 (One)
  • Education requirements: Doctoral/PhD
  • Language requirements: Verbal: English, Written: English
  • Duration of employment: Permanent (3 year term, renewable), full-time
  • Salary range : $CDN 100,000 – $130,000 CDN
  • Benefits: 4 weeks’ vacation accrued annually; Benefit program including extended health care, dental insurance, life insurance, short term disability, long term disability, and the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan