Weinberg shares synergy award

November 17, 2005, vol. 34, no. 6



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A 30-year university-industry relationship that continues to advance research in brain function and neurological disease treatment was recently recognized with a prestigious national innovation award.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) presented its synergy award for innovation to SFU professor Hal Weinberg and Jiri Vrba, chief technology officer of VSM MedTech Ltd.

The award, which includes a $25,000 research grant to Weinberg, honours the best Canadian achievements in research and development collaboration between universities and industry. It is one of six awarded nationally.

The award recognizes the development of magnetoencephalography (MEG) functional brain imaging technology, the first non-invasive method used to read magnetic fields simultaneously from multiple areas of the brain over time.

The research has improved understanding of brain function and the evaluation and treatment of neurological disease.

SFU's pioneering work in MEG in the 1970s led to the creation of CTF Systems, Inc., SFU's first spinoff company. The MEG collaboration was initially between SFU and CTF Systems, and continued after VSM acquired the company in 2001.

“Our brain behavior lab, founded and directed by Weinberg, has been at the forefront of MEG technology for many years,” says Mario Pinto, SFU's VP-research.

“The close and sustained university-industry partnership, involving research and development applications by Weinberg's group and instrumentation by Vrba's team has contributed to many of the product improvements that make MEG so valuable to neurologists, hospitals and patients.”

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