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Canada Research Chair – Tier 1

Employer: Sunnybrook Research Institutes (SRI)

Closing Date: 31/12/2021

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Job Description:

The Physical Sciences Platform at Sunnybrook Research Institutes (SRI) invites applications for nomination to a Canada Research Chair, Tier 1, in Physical Sciences. The selected candidate will be appointed a Senior Scientist in the Physical Sciences Platform of SRI and will be nominated for a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair.

We are seeking a scientist focused on developing ultrasound, molecular diagnostics or image-guided therapy, with a strong focus on commercialization and/or clinical translation. 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 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 at least two 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 physical sciences 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 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 fully electronically steered phased array system for MRI-guided focused ultrasound for extracranial treatments (Arrayus, 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 multiphoton 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, transducer fabrication 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. A Toronto-wide infrastructure application for a 7T human MRI system has been recently funded, and this system will be installed at SRI.*

The goal of the Physical Sciences 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;
  • St. 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 center 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 1 Canada Research Chair

Tier 1 Chairs are for outstanding established scholars. To meet the criteria of the program, nominees must be outstanding and innovative world-class researchers whose accomplishments have made a major impact in their fields; be recognized internationally as leaders in their fields; have superior records of attracting and supervising graduate students and postdoctoral fellows (taking into account different practices in the relevant field or discipline) and, as Chairholders, be expected to attract, develop and retain excellent trainees, students and future researchers; and be proposing an original, innovative research program of the highest quality. The nominee’s research area must align with the subject matter eligibility of CIHR and/or NSERC.

We invite all qualified candidates to apply, but to address the underrepresentation of members of the four federally designated groups (women, members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples) in the CRC Program (as identified by the Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat), preference will be given to those who identify as members of one or more of the federally designated groups.1 This initiative follows the provisions for special programs described by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The identification of outstanding candidates from these designated groups supports Sunnybrook’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and our public mission of the pursuit of excellence and equity, as well as the institutional targets specified to fulfill the objectives of Canada Research Chairs Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. Sunnybrook is strongly committed to diversity within its community and welcomes applications from members of the four designated groups who also identify as LGBTQ2S+ persons and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

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 three-page letter of interest. The letter should briefly address the elements of CRC nomination form, in particular describing:
    1. the quality of the applicant and fit with the CRC criteria for a Tier 1;
    2. the applicant’s proposed research program for this CRC; and
    3. candidate’s alignment with both the University strategic research plan and Sunnybrook’s strategic directions;
  2. A complete curriculum vitae including professional services, outreach, mentoring/training of highly qualified personnel and other contributions appropriate to the specific CRC position; and
  3. A completed self-identification form (see note below about the collection of equity data*).

All materials, including the complete self-identification form, should be submitted to CRC@sri.utoronto.ca by Friday December 3, 2021.

Incomplete and late applications will not be considered.

Note: The intention is to submit a nomination to the CRCP in April 2022, so the selected applicant must be prepared to devote significant time in late 2021 and early 2022 to preparing the nomination package.

Selection process and criteria

The selection committee will be co-chaired by Dr. David Goertz and Dr. Meaghan O’Reilly and will evaluate applicants based on the application packages provided.

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. For more information about CRC opportunities at SRI, please contact Negeen Pak, Research Program and Equity Officer, at negeen.pak@sri.utoronto.ca . For further information on these federally endowed chairs, open to all nationalities, including eligibility criteria, please consult the Canada Research Chairs website. Sunnybrook Research Institute is committed to providing nominees with the support required to secure the CRC.

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 disability during any stage of the recruitment process, please indicate this in your cover letter or contact Negeen Pak, Research Program and Equity Officer, at negeen.pak@sri.utoronto.ca

The Canada Research Chairs Program requires institutions to collect self-identification data from all applicants, following the program’s best practices. All applicants to this opportunity are required to complete this self-identification form. The data collected via this form will be held confidentially, separate from all other employment or personal data, and will be accessed only by the University’s Research Equity and Diversity Strategist. This information will be reported only in aggregate to the selection committee chair and equity officer, as well as a small number of designated staff in the Division of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation. No individual information will be shared with the search committee members. Data collected via this form will be used solely for the purposes of this competition and may not be accessed or used for any other purpose.


1The Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat currently uses the categories of the four-designated groups (FDGs) – Women, Members of Visible Minorities, Persons with Disabilities, Indigenous Peoples – to monitor progress towards meeting equity goals.