New program at Western developing specialized magnetic resonance imaging systems receives CFI funding

Most hospitals house a centrally located, multi-use, full-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner used to diagnose various ailments – from knee injuries, to cancer, to traumatic brain injury.

While effective, they’re neither mobile, nor specialized.

Enter researchers like Western University’s Blaine Chronik, who is working with industry partners to develop customized MRI systems optimized for specific applications like stroke. The team’s initial focus is on developing a portable, head-only scanner customized for clinical neuroimaging.

“We are ultimately looking to design, prototype and produce custom MRI platforms for the first time in Canada,” says Chronik, of Western’s Faculty of Science and world-renowned Brain and Mind Institute.

This technology development will enable MR systems that are smaller, lighter, cheaper and easier to use, yet still deliver high-performance neuroimaging results.

“These qualities are essential to bringing the benefits of MRI to health-care environments where the technology has been unavailable or underutilized,” Chronik adds.

As part of Western’s Bone and Joint Institute, Chronik’s team is also developing and testing MR-compatible medical devices and technologies – like pacemakers and orthopaedic implants – for use within these customized systems.

This morning, the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund program awarded Chronik and his team $200,000 to purchase a superconducting magnet platform to dramatically advance their work in these areas.

The CFI also awarded $200,000 apiece to four additional Western researchers today, bringing the University’s total to $1 million. Successful researchers included:

  • Joe Gilroy (Faculty of Science)
  • Lars Stentoft (Faculty of Social Science)
  • Peter Stathopulos (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry)
  • Shawn Whitehead (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry)

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