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An academic honour of a lifetime

December 21, 2015

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By Eleni Kanavas

The University of Toronto has bestowed upon Dr. Sandra Black the 2015 Dean’s Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award for her internationally recognized work in stroke and dementia research. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a graduate from U of T’s faculty of medicine whose outstanding career achievements have earned her or him national or international prominence. Dean Trevor Young presented the award to Black at the Dean’s Honour Roll luncheon at the Gairdner Museum held Nov. 16, 2015.

Black is the director of the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Research Program, a senior scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI), and a cognitive and stroke neurologist at Sunnybrook. She is also a professor in the department of medicine at U of T, where she holds the Deborah Ivy Christian Brill Chair in Neurology. Her research focuses on the cognitive complications resulting from stroke and stroke recovery, the differential diagnosis of dementia, and the use of neuroimaging to understand brain-behaviour relationships in stroke and dementia. In addition, she looks at the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular disease, and imaging-genetics correlations.

She is leading multicentre Canadian trials using amyloid imaging in patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease with moderate to severe white matter disease. In these trials, she is using ocular biomarkers, genetics, multimodal magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological testing. She is also concluding a repurposing trial of angiotensin receptor blockers versus angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors in hypertensive patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Black was recently awarded an operating grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Working on neurodegenerative disorders with Dr. Mario Masellis, an associate scientist in the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Research Program, their project aims to evaluate the effects of genetic variation and small vessel disease on clinical progression rates, neuropsychiatric symptoms and cognition.

Read more about Black’s research in Infrastructure Issues from the 2013 SRI Magazine and view the alumni award video below.

Sandra Black