ARCHIVED - NRC Announces Opening of Halifax Magnetic Resonance Imaging Lab

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August 03, 2003— Ottawa, Ontario

A new state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research system was officially unveiled recently at the NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics (NRC-IBD) facility in Halifax, NS. The new high field MRI system will allow researchers to perform innovative research directed at understanding brain function, with the goal of improving diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases.

NRC-IBD (Atlantic) researchers seen through the bore of the new magnet.

NRC-IBD (Atlantic) researchers seen through the bore of the new magnet.

The NRC-IBD (Atlantic) is a satellite lab of the NRC-IBD in Winnipeg and is representative of NRC's cluster strategy, which focuses on linking existing local strengths and opportunities in emerging sectors to its core R&D capacities. The NRC multidisciplinary research team of 8-10 highly qualified personnel will provide critical imaging expertise, covering neuroscience, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) physics, and bioinformatics. NRC-IBD (Atlantic) and the Brain Repair Centre – a collaboration of researchers and physicians specializing in the field of brain repair – strike a balance between science and medicine to achieve outstanding bench to bedside research outcomes.

Initially, the new facility will be equipped with a 4 Tesla whole body MRI system in collaboration with the NRC's spin off company Innovative Magnetic Resonance Imaging Systems (IMRIS). The system will allow neuroscientists and physicians not only to visualize brain anatomy non – invasively, but also to watch the brain working in real time.

Workers install   the new magnet that NRC – IBD Atlantic received on May 14.

Workers install the new magnet that NRC – IBD (Atlantic) received on May 14.

"This will allow a greater understanding of how the brain works, and allow physicians to follow the success of their brain repair procedures," said Dr. Ian Smith, Director General of NRC – IBD. A high – resolution electroencephalogram (EEG) system, along with other equipment for multimodal imaging, is also planned.

The ultra high – field MRI and functional imaging center will bring a range of health and economic benefits to Nova Scotia and the region. The project will lead to new research discoveries that could benefit people around the world and foster significant commercial potential, including the development of surgical and medical devices, pharmaceutical products, innovative imaging technologies and related software, and stem cell technologies.

The MRI project has already created a brain gain for Atlantic Canada, attracting several leading researchers to the region. Over the last year, the NRC – IBD (Atlantic), led by Dr. Ryan D'Arcy, has assembled a leading team of experts in physics, neuroscience, and bioinformatics. A top physicist from the United States is returning to Atlantic Canada to work on the project along with a bioinfomatics specialist from France. Two imaging specialists (an MRI technologist and a neuroscientist) have also returned to Atlantic Canada. As well, two students from NRC's Women in Engineering and Science (WES) initiative are engaged in the project.

Learn more about relevant NRC research, programs and cluster initiatives:

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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