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Biomedical MRI research lab opens in Halifax


Halifax, NS – A biomedical magnetic resonance imaging research laboratory (BMRL) was officially opened last week by the IWK Health Centre and the National Research Council Canada (NRC). Research at the laboratory will focus on pediatric and adult diseases such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

Designed to function as a multi-user lab, the BMRL is expected to attract a significant number of researchers. In addition to two NRC research institutes and the IWK, the Capital District Health Authority and Dalhousie University will be active partners in the lab.

“The Biomedical MRI Research Lab is unique in that it is one of the few in the country to be housed within a hospital, with researchers working with clinicians to make advancements in a number of diseases, including neurological conditions, cancer, arthritis and heart disease,” says Dr Patrick McGrath, vice president, research, IWK Health Centre.

Researchers will be able to use cellular and molecular imaging to facilitate drug discovery and new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to evaluate drug development and delivery. In addition, the BMRL will be a focal point for commercialization. The lab will actively pursue industrial collaborations with target technology transfer opportunities in partnership with local companies, universities and hospitals.

The lab is being supported with $5 million in funding from the federal government, with NRC’s contribution for equipment and research staff totalling $4 million, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation contributing $1 million. The IWK Health Centre and the Province of Nova Scotia financed the newly constructed Dr Richard B Goldbloom Research and Clinical Care Pavilion, where the lab is located. Principal investigators who initiated the project are Dr Ryan D’Arcy (NRC) and Dr Donald Weaver (Dalhousie University).