SFU ImageTech Lab opens up “best possible windows” into human brain function

Housed at Surrey Memorial Hospital, new lab promises to bring rapid innovations to medical imaging. A world-class clinical research facility SFU ImageTech Lab is being unveiled today by Simon Fraser University and Fraser Health.

The SFU lab is the first of its kind in Western Canada and will be a cornerstone in Surrey’s Health Technology District. The lab provides the critical combination of high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) together with high density magnetoencephalography (MEG) uniquely embedded within Surrey Memorial Hospital an emerging academic health sciences centre.

The lab will advance translational brain and body research and focus on advanced diagnostics and treatment monitoring in neurology and mental health, and many other healthcare areas. The facility representing many firsts brings together a partnership between SFU and Fraser Health, to ensure British Columbia continues to be globally competitive in advanced brain and body imaging.

The combination of a high field 3T whole-body MRI with a high-density 275-channel MEG provides state-of-the-art capabilities for “the best possible windows” into brain function. These sophisticated medical imaging tools will enable the region’s top health innovators to bring rapid advances in the treatment of devastating brain disorders and diseases, brain injury, brain tumours, epilepsy, autism, Down Syndrome, aging and dementia, depression, addictions, and mood disorders.

The lab is made possible with initial funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and B.C. Knowledge Development Fund, and from generous contributions from Philips Canada, CTF MEG and a number of other individuals and organizations.

Photo: Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, SFU Professor and Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation BC Leadership Chair in Multimodal Technology for Healthcare Innovations, at the new SFU ImageTech Lab, Western Canada’s first  lab with both a high field 3T MRI and high density 275-channel MEG machines to non-invasively monitor a person’s brain activities.

Some of the leaders from the Point of Care Health Technologies team and their collaborators who are active in the SFU ImageTech Lab:

  • Dr. Siamak Arzanpour – Professor, assistive and safety technologies
  • Dr. Bruce Bjornson – Neurology, BC Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. John Diggle – Neurologist, Surrey Memorial Hospital Neurology
  • Dr. Sam Doesburg – Assistant professor, Autism and developmental brain imaging
  • Dr. Martin Ester – Professor, computer science and machine learning
  • Dr. Faranak Farzan – Assistant professor, addictions and mental health
  • Dr. Fin Hodge – Radiologist, Surrey Memorial Hospital Radiology
  • Dr. Kirpal Kohli – Medical Physicist, BC Cancer Agency
  • Dr. Alex MacKay – Physics, UBC
  • Dr. Erin MacMillan – Research Associate, MRI Physics
  • Dr. George Medvedev – Neurologist, Fraser Health Neurology
  • Dr. Carlo Menon – Professor, rehabilitation and assistive technologies
  • Dr. Sylvain Moreno – Assistant professor, digital health and neuroscience
  • Dr. Ed Park – Professor, rehabilitation and assistive technologies
  • Dr. Stephen Robinovitch – Professor, aging and dementia technologies
  • Dr. Carolyn Sparrey – Associate professor, spinal cord injury and simulation
  • Dr. Andrew Sixsmith – Professor, technologies in aging and dementia
  • Dr. William Su – Radiology, Fraser Health Radiology
  • Dr. Vasily Vakorin – Research Associate, Neuroinformatics
  • MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technology that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to get detailed images of our body. It is widely used in neurology to provide high-resolution structural, functional and chemical images of the brain. It helps advance the ability to diagnose, monitor and guide treatments across a wide range of brain and body conditions.
  • MEG: Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a non-invasive brain imaging technology that allows for real-time mapping of brain activity by measuring very small magnetic field fluctuations generated by the brain’s electrical activity. The MEG allows researchers to directly measure brain activity as it happens and track the sources of this activity.It provides unparalleled insight into brain processing and dysfunction and is particularly accessible for children. The MEG can be applied in a clinical setting to study health conditions such as epilepsy, autism, Down Syndrome, traumatic brain injury as well as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and many other neurological and mental health conditions.
  • MRI-MEG COMBINED: Used together, the MRI-MEG technologies offer researchers unparalleled possibilities to “watch the brain in action” by visualizing and combining a range of different powerful measure of brain function and structure.

About Simon Fraser University:

As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far.

Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 150,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.

About Fraser Health:

Fraser Health provides a wide range of integrated health care services to more than 1.8 million people living in communities stretching from Burnaby to Hope. Our quality health care services range from acute care hospitals to community-based residential, home health, mental health and public health services. As one of Canada’s largest health authorities, Fraser Health employs more than 26,000 employees, 2,900 physicians and nearly 6,500 volunteers.

Surrey604 Staff
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