Our new Surrey NeuroTech Lab, which is located on the west side of the Barham Pavilion, marks an important milestone in the progress of Surrey Memorial Hospital’s Health Sciences and Innovation Strategy and in the development of Surrey’s Innovation Boulevard– a network of health institutions, universities, companies and talented people located within one square mile of Surrey’s City Centre between Simon Fraser University (SFU) and Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Bringing doctors and engineers together to improve patient care
On December 03, 2012, Mayor Dianne Watts, SFU Vice President of Research Mario Pinto and 100 visitors and media toured the NeuroTech Lab which unites university researchers with Surrey Memorial Hospital clinicians to accelerate health care innovation and improve patient care especially in the areas of brain injury, concussion measurement, surgical simulation, rehabilitative devices and spinal cord injury prevention.
Partners in the Lab include the City of Surrey, Simon Fraser University, Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation and Fraser Health.
The NeuroTech Lab is led by Dr. Ryan D’Arcy who co-chairs the City of Surrey’s Health Technology Working Group. Dr. D’Arcy is also the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation BC Leadership Chair in Multimodal Technology for Healthcare Innovation, and a professor of computing science and engineering science at SFU.
The Surrey NeuroTech Lab is embedded in the Surrey Memorial Hospital campus and focuses on the development of point-of-care enabled technologies for diagnosing and treating brain and spine disorders. Utilizing latest portable and wearable hardware advances coupled with innovations in signal processing of electroencephalography (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) data, the research hub hopes to improve the standard of neurological care across the entire care cascade. By being critically care designed, point-of-care enabled; the innovations are delivering improved diagnostics and therapeutics for a host of conditions such as acquired brain injury (stroke, traumatic brain injury etc.), neuro-degerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis etc.) and developmental disorders (Autism, Down Syndrome etc.).
Examples of projects/research competencies include:
- Point-of-care technologies for brain vital signs: The NeuroTech Lab team is developing a rapid, easy-to-deploy, and fully automated device for brain functional assessment. The goal is to develop the equivalent of a blood pressure cuff for the brain in order to better characterize functional brain status.
- Technologies for monitoring changes in brain function: Extending the one time point diagnostics into monitoring of brain status as a function of time, therapy, medication or other interventions is a key focus area. Utilizing smart (heuristic and machine learning) algorithms, telecommunication advances and expertise in neuroscience; the team aims to develop applications and devices for long-term assessment of effects of interventions.
- Multi-modal integration: Utilizing the strengths of fixed infrastructure such as magnetoencephalography (MEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to inform the development of point-of-care devices will enable the translation of research advances into seamless improved patient care both within and outside the walls of hospitals.
- Data analytics and integration: A key area of interest is computational neuroscience and integration of data from various sources such as genetics, imaging modalities and life-style measures in order to better characterize structural and functional measures of the brain in normal and diseased states.
- Neurosurgical simulation: Extending the previous work done by several team members in the development of the NeuroTouch surgical simulator, there is an interest in utilizing the neuroscience and engineering expertise resident in the team to develop simulated learning environments for improved training of healthcare professionals.
- Spinal cord injury: Utilizing engineering principles of modeling and simulation, we aim to develop better understanding of the types and impacts of spinal cord injuries. The end goal is to develop therapeutic applications that take advantage of this knowledge in order to create patient specific solution.