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CAMH builds on radioimaging legacy with creation of the Azrieli Centre for Neuro-Radiochemistry

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is home to Canada’s first positron emission tomography (PET) centre dedicated to mental illness research, and has a long-standing track record of pioneering new brain imaging agents.

CAMH’s legacy in this field will now be powered through the creation of a new research centre announced this morning, the Azrieli Centre for Neuro-Radiochemistry. Thanks to a transformational $11-million gift from the Azrieli Foundation, CAMH welcomes Dr. Neil Vasdev as the inaugural Director of the Azrieli Centre for Neuro-Radiochemistry and Azrieli Chair in Brain and Behaviour. The announcement was made at an event today by Dr. Catherine Zahn, CAMH President and CEO, alongside Dr. Trevor Young, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, Dr. Neil Vasdev and the Azrieli Foundation. Dr. Vasdev most recently served as the Director of Radiochemistry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology at Harvard Medical School.

The Centre will work towards creating new radiolabeled chemicals to provide a more accurate and complete understanding of several mental illnesses, as well as to aid in the development of new treatments and help understand why some drugs work better for certain patients.

“Mental health is brain health, and in order to truly understand the brain, we need new imaging techniques. Scientists will now be able to look in the brain and explore non-traditional approaches for drugs and treatments. We are thrilled to enable this exciting work,” said Naomi Azrieli, Chair and CEO, the Azrieli Foundation.

“Imagine being able to understand the origins of mental illness by visualizing the function of brain cells, their connections and chemicals – and monitoring changes with treatments and supports. Thanks to this gift from The Azrieli Foundation, CAMH will advance research that’s making this possible,” said CAMH’s Dr. Catherine Zahn.”

The Azrieli Centre for Neuro-Radiochemistry, located at 250 College Street, will be housed within CAMH’s Research Imaging Centre. It will initially employ a research staff of ten, in partnership with additional clinical-research staff of approximately 100, all working towards the next set of breakthroughs in brain science and neuropsychiatry.