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Training

Joel Ramirez

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
A: I’m from Toronto, born and raised. In terms of my academic history, I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Glendon College, training primarily under Dr. Josée Rivest, my Master’s degree in Kinesiology & Health Science at York University, training under Dr. Barry Fowler, and my Doctorate in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto, training under Dr. Sandra Black.

Q: What compelled you to pursue stroke research?
A: It was the influence of Dr. Sandra Black, my current supervisor and mentor, who focused my attention away from behavioural sciences towards clinical research in stroke and dementia.

Q: What is the focus of your research?
A:  My research focuses on the use of neuroimaging techniques to examine the complex interactions between stroke, small vessel disease, vascular risk, cognition and dementia.  My most current research studies include a systematic evaluation of MRI-based biomarkers of cerebral small vessel disease in the Sunnybrook Dementia Study, correlations between perivascular Virchow-Robin spaces and poor sleep quality in patients with stroke-related disorders, and a study examining differences in cognitive and neuroimaging outcomes of different classes of anti-hypertensives.

Q: At what stage are you in your research, and what are your current future plans?
A: As a postdoctoral fellow, I’m considered to be a trainee in my field.  I am currently working towards obtaining a more permanent position in academia, although I am open to industry alternatives if the right opportunity arises in the future.

Q: How do you and others benefit from being part of the National Trainee Association?
A: The CPSR National Trainee Association provided legitimacy to my work.  It enables other junior researchers, like myself, to secure funding and research opportunities that serve as foundational stepping stones towards a future path of excellence in research on stroke and dementia.  Additionally, the CPSR National Trainee Association connects young talent with a community of world renowned Canadian experts in the field, who share similar research interests and goals.

Q: What other interests do you have?
A:  When I’m not performing neuroimaging analyses, I enjoy listening to vinyl records, roller derby, coral aquaculture and maintaining saltwater reef tanks.