The new Child & Family Research Imaging Facility, dedicated to augmenting our understanding of brain development and brain recovery, opened June 13 on the campus of BC Women’s Hospital, BC Children’s Hospital and the BC Mental Health & Addictions Research Institute.
The $12-million facility, featuring a 3-Tesla MRI scanner along with an imaging analysis and neuro-informatics lab, was funded by the Government of Canada through the Canada Foundation for Innovation ($4.8 million) with matching funds from the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund ($4.8 million). B.C.’s mining community, through Mining for Miracles ($1.3 million), and other partners supported construction of the facility.
The facility, a joint project of UBC and the Child & Family Research Institute, is only the second such scanner of its kind in Canada dedicated to pediatric research, and will give B.C. researchers a new level of insight into the structure and function of the brain in infants and young children. Upcoming research projects involving the facility include:
• Studying brain development in preterm babies from birth until eight years of age in order to understand how best to optimize their brain development.
• Understanding when and how brain injury occurs in infants with heart birth defects in order to improve their cognitive and motor development.
• Understanding early brain development in babies born to mothers with a mood disorder who are treated during their pregnancies with anti-depressants.
“The Child & Family Research Imaging Facility is an important resource that was created by a vibrant team of neuroscience investigators on this campus,” says Bruce Bjornson, a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, an Associate Clinician Scientist and Associate Head of the Developmental Neurosciences & Child Health Research Cluster at the Child & Family Research Institute, and Director of the Brain Mapping Centre at BC Children’s Hospital. “It is a magnet for new discoveries that will ultimately improve the health of infants and children in BC and beyond.”
Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages: “The advancements in child health research generated by this new facility will play a pivotal role in improving our country’s standard of living and quality of life.”
Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology: “Our government is committed to supporting research and development that will deliver real results for Canadian families.”
Honourable Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation for British Columbia: “Our government is committed to keeping families safe and healthy. We believe that investments in crucial health research, like the pediatric MRI being announced today, improve health outcomes. We know that the research initiatives we are proud to support today will save lives in the years to come.”
Colin Joudrie, Co-Chair, Mining for Miracles Committee: “Supporting world class researchers, physicians and care givers with cutting edge technology to improve the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of ailments affecting children is a privilege for the Mining for Miracles Campaign and for BC’s Mining Industry. Our $1.3-million fundraising commitment and partnership with CFRI, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, and project leads Dr. Steven Miller and Dr. Ken Poskitt has been successful, informative, rewarding and fun – yes, fun. Each of Dr. Miller and Dr. Poskitt took pies for the kids of BC at the Teck Celebrity Pie Throw and we thank them and the entire CFRI team for their professionalism and dedication.”