Stephen Fai of Carleton University’s School of Architecture using digital media to speed treatment for degenerative diseases

Imagine quickly pulling together the scientific results of top researchers from around the world who are trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a visual diagram of interdisciplinary results – a snapshot of the latest research that can be easily shared among physicians, biochemists and neuroscientists.


Carleton Architecture Professor Stephen Fai is doing just that.


“It’s a universal language that everyone can understand,” says Fai. “This is the first time an interdisciplinary team has called upon the skills of architects to act as their go-between.”


The impact, says Fai, could be enormous. Not only will these digital representations greatly speed communication across various medical fields, they may well help find successful treatments faster for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Fai expects the digital images will be used to train students and post-doctoral fellows on collaboration and they will appear in scientific journals that report the latest findings.


It makes sense, says Fai, that architecture should play a pivotal role in front-line medical research. After all, viewing the human body as a building revolutionized the knowledge of anatomy in Renaissance times.


“It’s an exciting modern twist on an age-old approach. And who know where it could eventually lead?”


Cross-disciplinary teams conducting notable research in digital media are evident across campus, including the Human Computer Interface Institute, home to the Human Oriented Technology Lab. Research focuses on how humans interact with and use technology, the vanguard cybercartography research, and virtual networks and educational tools associated with the preservation of national and indigenous culture, including a virtual library. Working in conjunction with numerous industrial and academic partners, Carleton has capitalized on our research strengths in digital media to establish Canada’s leading edge research network on digital security NSERC’s Internetworked Systems Security Network (ISSNet). The Centre for Advanced Studies on Visualization, Simulation and Modelling (VSIM) houses researchers and their partners, working on long-term and applied projects in psychology, transportation, architecture and engineering. Our researchers are leaders in wireless technologies, virtual education, and open source systems that enable solutions to real world problems. The university’s cutting-edge information technology, engineering and design and computer gaming programs are producing leaders of the future in this area.