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SFU ImageTech Lab to advance treatment of brain disorders and diseases

September 19, 2018
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Simon Fraser University and Fraser Health have unveiled a new world-class medical imaging research facility—SFU ImageTech Lab—the first lab of its kind in Western Canada. The lab, embedded at Surrey Memorial Hospital, promises to bring rapid innovations to medical imaging and will be a cornerstone in Surrey’s Health Technology District.

The lab provides a unique combination of high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) together with high-density magnetoencephalography (MEG).

Used together, the high field 3T whole-body MRI and high-density 275-channel MEG offers researchers unparalleled possibilities to “watch the brain in action” by visualizing and combining a range of different powerful measures of brain function and structure.

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 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 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 and a number of other individuals and organizations.

The grand opening event drew speeches from SFU President Andrew Petter, Dr. Joy Johnson, SFU’s vice-president, research and international, and Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health’s vice-president, population health and chief medical health officer. Dr. Ryan D’arcy, SFU professor and Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation BC Leadership Chair in Multimodal Technology for Healthcare Innovations shared how the lab became a reality and welcomed its official presence in the hospital, an emerging academic health sciences centre.

“The SFU ImageTech Lab adds to the university’s strengths in health technologies and our growing reputation as a national innovation leader,” President Petter told guests. “By fostering research that contributes to healthier communities, it will also help us to advance our mission as Canada’s Engaged University.”  

Joy Johnson, SFU’s vice-president, research and international, called the lab a collaborative success story. “The SFU ImageTech Lab is a testament to the power of collaboration and partnerships. As the first-of-its-kind in Western Canada, the facility helps position Canada for global leadership in health technology innovation.”

A ‘ribbon cutting’ in front of the SFU ImageTech Lab elevator doors marked the lab’s official opening, followed by tours.

Read the official media release for more information about the SFU ImageTech Lab and how SFU researchers are benefitting from the new facility.