Mitacs partners with Lakehead University and Health Research Institute scientists to improve outcomes for patients

Vancouver, BC — Researchers at Lakehead University and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute will lead graduate students to develop and commercialize the next generation of medical imaging detectors that will improve patient outcomes, thanks to a new partnership with Mitacs.  

Mitacs, a national, not-for-profit research and training organization, is providing a $400,000 grant to fund the two-year project, which includes internships at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute for seven Lakehead University PhD students in Chemistry and Materials Science, and Biotechnology, and one intern from Ryerson University’s Biomedical Physics PhD program.

The medical imaging detectors could be used for many clinical procedures, including anatomical and functional diagnostic imaging as well as image-guided radiotherapy.

Dr. Alla Reznik, a Physics professor at Lakehead University, scientist at the Health Research Institute, and Canada Research Chair in Physics of Molecular Imaging, will lead the project with assistance from Dr. Mitchell Albert, a Lakehead and Health Research Institute researcher, Dr. Apichart Linhananta, Lakehead Physics professor, and Dr. Ananth Ravi, assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Toronto. They are aiming to begin work on the project this month.

“This will be an amazing opportunity for our students to explore their potential while creating new medical imaging detectors that will provide higher quality images to help offer better outcomes for patients,” Dr. Reznik said. “I’m excited to begin working with our students on this important project.”

“The Hospital, along with the Health Research Institute as its research arm, is an academic health sciences centre,” said Dr. Abraham (Rami) Rudnick, VP Research at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and Chief Scientist at the Health Research Institute. “This generous grant helps our scientists to provide opportunities for their students to grow and it strengthens our commitment to nurturing the next generation of health care providers and advancing patient-centred health research in Northwestern Ontario.”

“Our partnership with Professor Reznik and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute exemplifies the shared commitment Mitacs and Lakehead University have in supporting Ontario’s next generation of researchers,” said Mitacs CEO and scientific director Alejandro Adem. “This collaboration will provide work-integrated learning opportunities for grad students and, at the same time, advance innovation in our health care sector.”

Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation, said this will be an excellent opportunity for graduate students.

“At Lakehead University we are proud to offer students an exceptional research experience working with top quality faculty. This Mitacs partnership will help our graduate students to advance medical imaging technologies and improve the outcome for patients.”

Quick facts:

  • Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 18 years.
  • Working with 60+ universities, thousands of companies, and both federal and provincial governments, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada.
  • Open to all disciplines and all industry sectors, projects can span a wide range of areas, including manufacturing, business processes, IT, social sciences, and design.



Photo: From left to right, Dr. Batia Stolar, Lakehead’s Associate Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies; Dr. Chander Shahi, Dean of Graduate Studies; Dr. Roxanne Deslauriers, Scientific Director at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute; Dr. Alla Reznik, Physics professor at Lakehead University and scientist with the Regional Health Research Institute; and Christine Macdonald, business development director with Mitacs.