​​​UHN KITE researcher's work helps with management of neurological diseases and brain injury

Air Date: November 21, 2023 | Length: 51:07 | Download the transcript 

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Tatyana Mollayeva

Episode Description

In this episode award winning UHN KITE researcher Dr. Tatyana Mollayeva talks about her pioneering research on sleep disruption and its impact on patients with neurological disease and brain injury. Her research, for example, reveals the connection between a patient's ability to recover from mild traumatic brain injury and sleep disruption, and, she's been able identify risk factors such as adverse cognitive reactions and loss of reaction time in people with mild TBI who have sleep issues. Dr. Mollayeva also speaks to her role as an educator, and, advocacy work promoting sleep health awareness, including with the World Health Organization where she has pushed for the inclusion of sleep as integral to brain health.

And Dr. Mollayeva reveals her inspiring journey to becoming an award winning research scientist, beginning at age 16 after graduating high school in her hometown of Novyi Rozdil, Ukraine when she left to study the sciences and earn a medical degree in Moscow. In the early 1990s, she fled the collapsing Soviet Union to Turkmenistan, where she met her husband. After stints in Wyoming and then back to Turkmenistan, Dr. Mollayeva and her family were accepted in 2003 to come to Canada under the Independent Immigrant Program. In a 2022 acceptance speech upon receiving a prestigious Canada Research Chair, Dr. Mollayeva paid homage to all immigrants who take the risk of leaving their homeland to seek new opportunity.

"As an immigrant, this award is not just for me. It is for all immigrants who have a passion and take the often frightening step of changing their professional identity."

About Dr. Mollayeva

Dr. Tatyana Mollayeva is a Scientist at UHN’s TRI research centre KITE, and an Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health with cross-appointment at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute in Toronto. She obtained her medical degree in Preventive Medicine from the I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, and completed her residency in Epidemiology and Public Health at the Turkmen State Medical University. She went on to complete her PhD at the University of Toronto in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, along with the Collaborative Program in Neuroscience. Most recently, Dr. Mollayeva is a Global Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health with the Global Brain Health Institute after receiving multidisciplinary training at Trinity College in Dublin/University of California, San Francisco to support the development of new solutions to improve brain health and reduce the impact of dementia.

Dr. Mollayeva's research focuses on prevention and management of neurological diseases and injuries, as well as the role of sex, gender and intersecting vulnerabilities in shaping outcomes, as well as the modifiable role of sleep disorders supports the implementation of evidence-based and context- and person-specific preventive initiatives and care.

Tatyana Mollayeva graduation
JUNE 1986: Dr. Mollayeva, age 16, on the day of her high school graduation in her hometown of Novyi Rozdil, Ukraine.

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