Allison Sekuler

President & Chief Scientist, Baycrest

Role: Scientist

Site: CDL-Toronto

Stream: Neuro

Allison Sekuler (FSEP, FPS, FAPS) is the Sandra A. Rotman Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, Vice-President of Research at Baycrest Health Sciences, and Managing Director of the Rotman Research Institute and the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation which supports innovators in Ontario, across Canada, and globally.

A graduate of Pomona College (BA in Mathematics and Psychology) and the University of California, Berkeley (PhD in Psychology), Allison holds faculty positions in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University and the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto. Her research uses behavioural and neuroimaging approaches to understand how the brain processes visual information, with specific interests in face perception, motion processing, perceptual learning, neural plasticity, aging, and neurotechnology. Her research was the first to show conclusively that older brains ‘rewire’ themselves to compensate for functional changes.

Alison’s clinical and translational research aims to develop methods to prevent, detect, and treat age-related sensory and cognitive decline. She has scientific and industry collaborations across North America, Europe, and Asia, and her work has been published in leading international journals, including Nature, Current Biology, and the Journal of Neuroscience. She chairs the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council’s Public Impact Value Proposition committee; serves on the governing and advisory boards for Hamilton Health Sciences, VISTA, and BrainsCAN; and is a founding steering committee member of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy. She also is a longstanding and passionate supporter of research communication and public outreach, and a sought-after speaker, podcaster, and commentator in national and international media.

Allison is the co-founder of FoVea (Females of Vision et al.), an international organization to advance women in vision science, and co-champion of the Ontario Hospital Association’s Research and Innovation Anti-Racism Taskforce. She is a highly respected advocate for women and underrepresented groups in science, engineering, and technology. Allison has won numerous national and international awards for research, teaching, and leadership – including serving as the country’s first Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience. in 2019, she was named one of WXN’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. In her spare time, Allison is proving that you’re never too old to learn – she started playing drums just a few years ago, and is now completing her Drum Professional Certificate at the Berklee College of Music.