LHSC announces research and innovation initiative

Close-up of hands working in a medical laboratory

London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), London Health Sciences Foundation (LHSF) and Children's Health Foundation have announced the recipients of LHSC’s Academic Realignment Initiative Awards. The partnership between the two Foundations and LHSC's research institute will fund 22 research and quality improvement awards, totalling $5.7 million over five years. From enhancing paediatric neurosurgery to furthering our understanding of genetics, the recipients of LHSC’s Academic Realignment Initiative Awards aim to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families.

“LHSC has a rich legacy in health research; it’s a core component of our mission as a research-intensive teaching hospital affiliated with Western University,” says Dr. Jackie Schleifer Taylor, President and CEO at LHSC. “This initiative will support the curiosity of our people. These streams of work will help advance our understanding, diagnosis and treatment of disease; improve patient experiences; optimize health care training; and create system efficiencies.”

The Academic Realignment Initiative Awards were launched in fall 2021, and were open to all staff, physicians, researchers and learners across LHSC. The goal was to inspire the sharing of innovative ideas to progress our mission of care, research and education. An important aspect was to challenge the traditional definition of research to include not only laboratory-based science and clinical trials, but also quality improvement projects and other forms of innovation.

Dr. Sandrine de Ribaupierre, paediatric neurosurgeon at Children’s Hospital at LHSC, is one recipient. She is being funded as Endowed Chair in Paediatric Neurosurgery and Neuroscience. Dr. de Ribaupierre’s research program will focus on furthering our understanding of the human brain and how it is impacted by complex diagnoses. Her team will use tools like advanced medical imaging to improve outcomes for patients, including children with epilepsy. They will also use augmented and virtual reality to visualize the brain to help patients and their families understand their condition and treatment. These same tools will be used to design a ‘virtual Children’s Hospital’ that allows children to familiarize themselves with the hospital before their visit, with a goal of decreasing anxiety.

Virtual Children's Hospital design

As part of her work, Dr. Sandrine de Ribaupierre is designing a ‘virtual Children’s Hospital’ that allows children to familiarize themselves with the hospital before their visit.

Dr. Bekim Sadikovic is another recipient. He is being funded as Limited Term Chair in Clinical Genomics and Epigenomics (Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre). Dr. Sadikovic is the Scientific and Clinical Director for the Verspeeten Clinical Genome Centre at LHSC. He will focus on developing technologies that identify genetic and epigenetic factors to better understand, diagnose and treat a variety of diseases. This chair position will drive advanced clinical genomic and epigenomic research while simultaneously developing translational pathways for its integration into patient care.

A total of 60 research and quality improvement proposals were received with 22 selected for funding. An additional two research chair positions will also be recruited as part of this inaugural initiative – an Endowed Chair in Translational Cancer Research and a Limited Term Chair in Midwifery

“We are grateful to our Foundations for their partnership and to the donors who so generously support our work,” says Dr. Schleifer Taylor. “Thank you for helping us advance the broad spectrum of innovation within our walls.”

Learn more about the 22 research and quality improvement initiatives.