$4.5 million for three FRQS Dual Chairs in Artificial Intelligence and Health co-led by McGill researchers

The FRQS Dual AI Chairs Program supports research collaborations across disciplines in pursuit of the significant potential of AI to address some of humanity’s greatest health challenges

The rapid development and deployment of artificial intelligence demands we connect our best and brightest minds, and work to train the next generation of research leaders. In June, Le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) announced it was investing $4.5 million for three Dual Chairs in Artificial Intelligence and Health/Digital Health and Life Sciences. All three Chairs were awarded to teams co-directed by McGill researchers.

The program brings together researchers with complementary expertise in AI, data sciences, and life sciences to address issues and challenges impacting the health of Canadians and the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system. With the investment from this and a previous call in 2021, the program will facilitate simultaneous research training for more than 60 students and postdoctoral fellows in the fields of AI and life sciences.

Each chair will receive $1.5 million, distributed over three years. The Dual AI Chairs are supported in part by the ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et de l’Énergie. As of July 1, the programs are actively recruiting trainees.

Expansive expertise and collaborative spirit

“With this significant support from Le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé an emerging generation of researchers will develop the skills and expertise they need to design the health solutions of the future, to make medicine safer, and to advance treatment for some of the most devasting diseases and disorders,” said Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “The fact that McGill researchers are co-directing all three FRQS Dual AI Chairs is truly impressive, and a testament to the expansive expertise and collaborative spirit of our AI, data sciences, and life sciences research communities,” she added.

Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery and Director of the Centre for Research in Neuroscience (RI-MUHC), Keith Murai, and McGill Professor of Computer Science, Kaleem Siddiqi, will co-direct the Dual AI Chair, Cracking the nanoscopic structural code of the brain: Artificial intelligence and computer vision approaches for brain health. This program looks to advance understanding of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

McGill Associate Professor of Medical Physics, John Kildea; and Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Engineering and Software Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, Amal Zouaq, will co-direct the Dual AI Chair, Smart data for smart cancer care – a research program that combines expertise in natural language processing, semantic web technologies, and patient-centered data to create knowledge bases in oncology. With the goals of reducing risk and making cancer treatment safer and more effective, Kildea and Zouaq are collaborating to build an AI solution that will combine, consolidate, and exploit unstructured health data.

Mathieu Blanchette, Associate Professor in McGill’s School of Computer Science, will co-direct the Dual AI Chair, Développement d’approches en intelligence artificielle pour élucider les codes de régulation des ARN et exploiter leur potentiel thérapeutique, with Éric Lécuyer of the Montréal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM). This program aims to tap into the potential of AI to facilitate discoveries in RNA biology and therapeutics.

Learn more about the three FRQS Dual AI Chairs