SFU ImageTech Lab opens up ‘best possible windows’ into human brain function

The SFU ImageTech Lab’s high field 3T whole-body MRI.

A world-class clinical research facility—SFU ImageTech Lab—has been unveiled by Simon Fraser University and Fraser Health. The SFU lab is the first-of-its-kind in Western Canada and will be a cornerstone in Surrey’s Health Technology District.

The lab provides the critical combination of high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) together with high-density magnetoencephalography (MEG)—uniquely embedded within Surrey Memorial Hospital—an emerging academic health sciences centre.

The lab will advance translational brain and body research and focus 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 British Columbia continues to be globally competitive in advanced brain and body imaging.

The SFU ImageTech Lab’s high-density 275-channel Magnetoencephalography (MEG).

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 lab is made possible with initial funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and B.C. Knowledge Development Fund, and from contributions from Philips Canada, CTF MEG and a number of other individuals and organizations.

SFU President Andrew Petter said: “The SFU ImageTech Lab adds to the university’s strengths in health technologies and our growing reputation as a national innovation leader. By fostering research that contributes to healthier communities, it will also help us to advance our mission as ‘Canada’s Engaged University.’”

Navdeep Bains, federal Minister of Innovation, Science And Economic Development, and Minister Responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, noted: “The grand opening of the SFU ImageTech Lab at Surrey Memorial Hospital marks a significant milestone for the City of Surrey and for Simon Fraser University. These partnerships between researchers, entrepreneurs, and healthcare professionals not only bolster economic activity, but also give the region’s top health experts access to world-class technology and support advancements in healthcare solutions.”