Using artificial intelligence and machine learning to advance medical discovery, education and practice

University Health Network (UHN) is Canada’s top research hospital and it is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and a member of the Toronto Academic Health Science Network. UHN comprises four academic hospitals, an education institute and six research institutes. The scope of research and complexity of cases at UHN have made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. Research conducted at UHN’s research institutes spans the full spectrum of diseases and disciplines, including cancer, cardiovascular sciences, transplantation, neural and sensory sciences, musculoskeletal health, rehabilitation sciences, and community and population health. This research spans from basic and fundamental discovery research to applied and clinical research—work that is conducted by UHN’s research community, which includes over 1,100 scientists and clinicians, >1,300 graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and clinical fellows, and >2,500 operational and core facilities staff.

As technologies—such as whole genome sequencing, advanced medical imaging and remote population health monitoring—become more common, the need to analyze vast amounts of data permeates almost all areas of biomedical research. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are meeting these needs and emerging as key tools to advance medical discovery, education and practice.

The ways in which these tools are used by UHN researchers reflects our broad areas of research. They are being applied to unravel new molecular therapies that can be tailored to individual patients; to dramatically improve the efficiency and speed of the delivery of patient care by fast-tracking radiation treatment plans; to enable patients to age gracefully by bringing health care into the home through remote health monitoring and robotics-assisted rehabilitation; and to analyze the viral genome of SARS-CoV-2 to shed light on new emerging variants of concern and gain insights into their origins, evolution and virulence. These are just a few examples of the ways in which our world-class research teams are leveraging AI technology to improve human health and wellbeing.

To support the adoption of AI into health care, the Michener Institute of Education at UHN, in partnership with The Vector Institute, has developed education certificate programs in digital health, data analytics and AI in health care for students and health practitioners. The Vector Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), excelling in machine and deep learning. The Vector Institute launched in March 2017 with generous support from the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and private industry, and in partnership with the University of Toronto and other universities.

University Health Network is a Member of Research Canada: An Alliance for Health Discovery and Sponsor of the Parliamentary Health Research Caucus Buffet Luncheon Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Researching an Innovative Future for Human Health Care. Visit to learn more.