The famous ancient Greek scientist Archimedes had been puzzling over an important problem for some time. As he stepped into his bath one day, so the legend goes, the answer suddenly came to him. Overcome by excitement, he jumped out of the bath and ran down the street shouting “Eureka!” which means “I found it!”
In the modern world, advances in science rarely occur as “Eureka moments.” More often, they come as the result of years of patient, collaborative work by many researchers from different backgrounds. Each researcher adds a different piece to the complex puzzle, until a clear picture emerges. Sometimes, the last piece of the puzzle gets all the attention and is hailed as the breakthrough but putting that last piece in place would not have been possible without all the work that went before.
Collaboration is vitally important in the evolving field of stroke recovery research because insights come from many different disciplines. At the CSR, scientists with expertise in everything from molecular genetics to music-based rehabilitation therapies to neuroimaging are working together to find better ways of enhancing and accelerating stroke recovery. By collaborating, we are able to share ideas, insights, and of course scientific resources such as sophisticated microscopes and advanced neuroimaging equipment.
The power of collaboration in action
At the CSR, collaboration is fundamental to our research effort. For example, a new study investigating the value of goal management training in covert stroke is headed by CSR’s Dr. Brian Levine, a clinical neuropsychologist. Collaborating with him are experts in neuroimaging, occupational therapy and several other disciplines. The goal of the study is to measure the efficacy of an intervention, not only based on behavioural outcomes, but advanced neuroimaging techniques. The only way to reach this goal is to involve scientists and clinicians from a range of disciplines in a collaborative effort.
Collaboration is also at the heart of the partnership recently formed between the Ontario Brain Institute, the CSR, through its Baycrest, Rotman Research Centre site, and three other institutions with expertise in different but complementary areas of neuroscience: the Applied Health Research Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital; the Ontario Cancer Biomarker Network and the High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory at Queen’s University. Working together, researchers from these sites will create “the Google of neuroscience” a huge, searchable data base containing a staggering array of information about neurological disorders.
Collaboration, not competition, moves research forward
Collaboration is essential in modern research. Within the CSR we believe in scientific collaboration not competition, and in sharing resources and knowledge between organizations and between scientists. By sharing, we use resources as efficiently as possible, letting us move as quickly as possible towards the development of better ways to foster recovery from stroke.