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ImageTech Lab is involved in a number of research projects by researchers at SFU and beyond. 

Featured research projects


Cerebro-cerebellar dynamics in human brain health

Principal Investigators: Dr. Teresa Cheung, Surrey Memorial Hospital/Simon Fraser University and Dr. John Welsh, Seattle Children’s Hospital/University of Washington

This CIHR funded project will determine the dynamics of cerebro-cerebellar circuit activity in the human brain and how their disruption contributes to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Our study uses magnetoencephalography (MEG) to quantify the activity interplay between the cerebellum and frontal cortex during well-defined behavioural paradigms in individuals with ASD and typical development (TD) that have undergone significant clinical testing of intellectual and motor functioning. This study is an international collaboration between Seattle Children's Hospital with Fraser Health and Simon Fraser University. The application of eye blink conditioning (EBC) across ages and species allows translational research across developmental periods and laboratory settings. The project will elucidate circuit mechanisms of rapid and long-range information flow across the human brain during learning and the characteristics of cerebro-cerebellar interaction for optimal brain function.


A multimodal MRI study targeting the neuroinflammatory response in the brain of patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)

Principal investigator: Dr. Luis Nacul, BC's Women's Hospital & Health Centre

The purpose of the study is to reveal brain metabolic, brain tissue temperature, and functional changes underlying neuroinflammation in the clinical expression of ME/CFS by acquiring MRI data on functional, metabolic, and structural brain changes in ME/CFS patients. The acquired MRI data will be linked with that of clinical assessment to inform clinical diagnosis and treatment. This pilot study will enable the development of a larger scale study to better understand the underlying mechanism of ME progression; thus, in the future for treatment development as well. 

Modified Deep Inspiratory Breath Hold (mDIBH) technique for heart sparing in left breast radiography

Principal investigator: Dr. Fred Cao, BC Cancer

DIBH technique is commonly used for left breast cancer radiotherapy to spare the heart from the treatment field. Some patients are unable to hold their breath for the required CT scan time. The Modified Deep Inspiratory Breath Hold with shallow breathing (mDIBH) technique will not require patients to hold their breath, but hold the chest wall after the chest wall has fully expanded from deep inspiration while allowing shallow respiration at the same time. The amount of heart sparing is dependent on the distance between the chest wall and the heart. Therefore mDIBH can spare the same amount of heart as DIBH in radiotherapy.

Evaluation of Cognitive Function Effect from Carotid Artery Stenting: a functional MRI study

Principal investigator: Dr. William Siu, Simon Fraser University

Currently, patients with severe carotid stenosis are treated clinically with carotid endarterectomy (CEA) or carotid artery stenting (CAS), in addition to medication therapy. As revascularization procedures, both CEA and CAS can result in an increased blood supply to the brain, while CAS is less complicated and less time consuming to perform . Although the safety and efficacy (in stroke prevention) profiles of CAS have been well established, its benefits have yet to be fully elucidated. Previous studies have revealed inconsistent results about the effect of CAS on cognition, largely limited by the lack of sensitivity and the learning effect of the traditional neurocognitive assessment method. On the other hand, recent advances of functional MRI technologies has allowed direct evaluation of brain functional and circulatory responses to therapeutic treatments. 

Functional Neuroimaging for Biomarker Discovery in Chronic Pain

Principal investigator: Dr. Aaron MacINNES, University of British Columbia

While acute pain is reasonably well managed, the cause of chronic pain symptoms over time remain a scientific and clinical challenge. The proposed study will use imaging techniques to look at the brain wave patterns of patients who have chronic pain. The brain patterns of these patients will be compared to healthy controls. We will be looking for a specific pattern known as thalamocortical dysrhythmia (TCD). TCD has been demonstrated in other research studies involving chronic pain patients. If we can detect these patterns, then we might be able to use them as markers in patients who have chronic pain.

Structural and functional brain connectivity in typical and atypical development

Principal investigator: Dr. Sam Doesburg, Simon Fraser University

This study will investigate how structural and functional brain connectivity develops during childhood, how the maturation of such structure-function relations contributes to cognitive development, and how altered development of brain networks contributes to cognitive difficulties in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To investigate these questions, we intend to gather psychometric and neuroimaging data from healthy children and from children with ASD. We will then construct, on a per-participant basis, a functional connectivity map that describes the networks by which each participant’s brain processes and responds to information. Differences in these functional connectivity maps will then be systematically compared with psychometric data in order to determine how these networks emerge in normally developing children, and how their development is affected by ASD. 

Publications on ImageTech Lab