The SFU ImageTech Lab advances translational brain and body research and focuses on advanced diagnostics and treatment monitoring in neurology and mental health, and many other healthcare areas.

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SFU ImageTech Lab welcomes new scientific director

August 01, 2019
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As the SFU ImageTech Lab rounds its first year of operations, Professor Ryan D’Arcy, who played a pivotal role in establishing the world-class medical imaging facility, is stepping down as the lab’s founder to focus on recent breakthroughs in his brain imaging and neurotechnology research.

The planned move will see its leadership transition to SFU administration to manage the ongoing operations of the research facility.  SFU Mechatronic Systems Engineering professor Carolyn Sparrey will act as the interim scientific director starting September 2019.

The lab created in collaboration with Fraser Health, is the first of its kind in Western Canada and housed in Surrey Memorial Hospital. It is home to both a MEG and an MRI—equipment designed to give researchers the best possible window on brain activity. It is also equipped for musculoskeletal imaging, which plays a significant role in Sparrey’s research. Several studies have also begun or are being planned for the lab in areas of cancer detection and treatment, degenerative diseases and aging. 

Prof. D’Arcy, who holds the BC Leadership Chair in Medical Technologies, was instrumental in laying the vision and framework for the lab, which opened in September 2018, and overseeing its implementation over the past several months.

Ryan D’Arcy, SFU professor and BC Leadership Chair in Medical Technologies speaking at the SFU ImageTech Lab grand opening ceremony.

“The lab complements and completes the multiple other health technology innovation initiatives that have been developed through my chair appointment and partnership with SFU and other stakeholders,” says Prof. D’Arcy, who is also president and chief scientific officer at HealthTech Connex in Surrey’s Health and Technology District.

“It’s a remarkable legacy that has taken seven years to deliver on this commitment to medical research and innovation capabilities for British Columbia, and it has been my privilege to serve the community in this role.”

Sparrey leads SFU’s Neurospine Biomechanics Lab, where she and her research team design and develop tools to help prevent and manage neurospine injuries and diseases.

SFU professor Carolyn Sparrey, school of mechatronic systems engineering, and graduate research assistant, Kohle Merry presenting at the annual #BCTECH Summit.

“I’m excited to take on this role to foster outstanding research at SFU ImageTech Lab, and grow our community engagement with stakeholders across the Lower Mainland,” says Sparrey.

“SFU ImageTech Lab provides me with the opportunity to bring together and support outstanding researchers working on fascinating problems that will have real impact on human health. I commend Dr. D'Arcy on having the vision for this facility, and assembling such a skilled team of researchers and staff to realize the concept into a fully operational imaging research centre.” 

Joy Johnson, SFU’s vice-president, research and international says, “On behalf of SFU, I would like to thank Ryan D’Arcy for his valued leadership, commitment and passion, and for setting the lab up for tremendous success. I am pleased that Carolyn Sparrey has agreed to transition into the role of scientific director, and want to thank her for the commitment to research excellence and her willingness to take on this leadership role. We look forward to making the SFU ImageTech Lab a flagship research centre in Surrey’s Health and Technology District.”

ABOUT SFU IMAGETECH LAB

The SFU ImageTech Lab advances translational brain and body research and focuses 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 B.C. 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 MEG technology, which is a non-invasive magnetic imaging technique for analyzing brain activity, was developed and refined through a decades-long relationship between SFU—led by MEG pioneer and SFU professor emeritus Hal Weinberg—and SFU spinout company CTF Systems.