Outstanding graduate student receives Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal

June 06, 2017

By Danika Wong, SFU Graduate Studies

As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Dr. Colin Brown is being recognized with the award of the Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Dr. Brown on his outstanding achievements. 

Dr. Colin Brown's doctoral dissertation advanced the area of machine learning in order to improve the understanding of infant brain structure and development and predict neurodevelopment outcomes.

His dissertation, Modelling and Prediction of Neurodevelopment in Preterm Infants using Structural Connectome Data, analyzes how diffusion MRI of an infant’s white matter brain network, known as the structural connectome, can be used for analysis of development and early prediction of outcomes for better-informed care of babies who are born very preterm.

Dr. Brown's doctoral research has resulted in outstanding contributions to computational neuroscience and brain connectivity. In his first paper, he was the first to capture brain development in healthy infants at 27-45 weeks. In his second, he proposed a new method to predict motor function in preterm infants, 18 months into the future.  

His supervisor, Dr. Ghassan Hamarneh, says, “Colin’s ability to think critically and leverage computational skills led him to a new elegant, robust formulation of uncertainty when encoding structural brain connectivity.” 

Dr. Brown has published five journal papers, two of which were published in NeuroImage, one of the best journals in his field. His work had also been accepted to several Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention Society (MICCAI) conferences, — MICCAI 2016 had a 5% acceptance rate. His work also earned him runner-up standing for the prestigious 2016 MICCAI Young Scientist Award. He also took first place in his faculty in the annual 3 Minute Thesis competition.

In addition to his doctoral studies, Dr. Brown also volunteered as a Doctoral Student Researcher at the BC Cancer Agency, where he worked to improve brachytherapy radiation dosage measurements using CT scans of lower abdominal organs.

Dr. Brown is now a Computer Vision Scientist at wrnch, an AI and computer vision software startup based in Montreal, where he is researching novel deep learning techniques for computer vision.

Dr. Brown says, "Studying at SFU has been a great experience. A beautiful campus, a helpful faculty staff, a lab filled with smart and friendly colleagues, and a brilliant and supportive senior supervisor (Dr. Ghassan Hamarneh) has made completing my PhD a joy. Additionally, doing research in the SFU Medical Image Analysis lab, I had the chance to work on challenging problems with top researchers from around the world. I am excited to take the skills and knowledge I have learned here on to my future endeavours."