The McConnell Brain Imaging Centre is everything about neuroimaging

The mission of the BIC is to understand the structure and function of the brain, in health and disease, through the development of novel neuroscience approaches and neuroimaging methods, and thereby facilitate translation into clinical care.

We have celebrated our first 30 years as the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre in 2015.

Please take a moment to leave a note on our message board, and browse the picture gallery of our anniversary event.

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The BIC is a one-of-a-kind research centre and multimodal platform entirely dedicated to neuroimaging. It is integrated to the Montreal Neurological Institute and hospital, a research and clinical flagship at McGill University, a top research-intensive institution.      

A productive research centre

The research performed at the BIC covers all aspects of neuroimaging: from instrumentation, acquisition, analysis methods and practical software solutions, to clinical and systems neuroscience. Our >100 core researchers and trainees have published more than 1,000 journal articles and have raised $100'sM in research grants so far. 

One of the world largest multimodal imaging platforms

The BIC provides neuroimaging platform services to a community of more than 110 scientists, generates 3,500 research scans a year in high-field MRI (1.5T, 3T, small-bore 7T and in 2017, the first 7T large-bore scanner in Quebec) with simultaneous TMS and high-density EEG, high-resolution PET and micro-PET, and real-time MEG/EEG. Our radiochemistry lab produces the longest catalogue of radiotracers in Canada. The BIC's computing backbone offers considerable data storage capacity and distributed grid computing solutions to all BIC users. Importantly, our research is shared with >30,000 registered users worldwide through software and reference datasets. Multiple successful spin-off biomedical companies were created by current and previous BIC members over the past 30 years.

New faces @ The BIC

Julien Doyon, Ph.D.

Prof Julien Doyon 

Director of the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre

Julien received his BA and his Masters in Psychology at Université Laval, and his PhD in psychology in 1988 at McGill University, where Brenda Milner supervised his doctoral thesis. Research in his laboratory uses a combination of imaging techniques, and studies in healthy older subjects and neurological populations, to investigate the changes in neural networks associated with the acquisition of motor skills, and the role of sleep in the consolidation and reconsolidation of such motor abilities. His research interests also include the identification of biomarkers useful for the early diagnosis and assessment of interventions designed to help patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Doyon received the 2011 Canadian Society for Brain Behavior & Cognitive Sciences (CSBBCS) – Richard C. Tess Award and was named a Fellow of this society in 2017. In 2012, he was awarded the ACFAS ‐ Léo Pariseau prize highlighting the excellence and international impact of his work, and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in September 2017.

Prof David Rudko 
Assistant Professor, BIC Principal Investigator

Dr. David Rudko joins the BIC core Faculty as Assistant Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery and Biomedical Engineering. He completed his PhD in Physics with a specialization in ultra-high field MRI under the supervision of Dr. Ravi Menon at the University of Western Ontario. The overall focus of his lab is the application of novel high field MRI methodology in conjunction with biophysical modeling to augment the current understanding of brain anatomy and physiology. One of his specific goals is to extend magnetic susceptibility and relaxometry-based MRI models of brain tissue microstructure to develop atlases applicable to neurological disease. David has applied MRI physics techniques to research in animal models and human neurological diseases at field strengths of 3 T, 7 T and 9.4 T. His recent work has centred on quantification of cortical demyelination in MS patients using surface-based 3 T magnetization transfer imaging combined with ultra-high resolution 7 T structural imaging. 

Prof Christine Tardif
Assistant Professor, BIC Principal Investigator

Very glad to see Dr. Christine Tardif joining the BIC core Faculty as Assistant Professor, starting May 1, 2017.

Christine obtained her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the McGill in 2011. She performed postdoctoral studies at the Max-Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig, Germany), and at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute’s Cerebral Imaging Centre. Her research has focused on the development of MRI acquisition and analysis techniques to study intracortical myelin. At the BIC , Christine’s lab will further develop quantitative MRI techniques to study brain tissue microstructure, in particular myelin plasticity, in health and disease. 

Dr. Stephan Blinder
Staff PET Physicist

We are welcoming Dr. Stephan Blinder as the new BIC PET physicist on staff.
Stephan completed his PhD in Astrophysics (U de Bordeaux I, France) and later shifted his interest towards biomedical imaging research. He worked for 4 years with the MIRG group led by Dr. Anna Celler (U of British Columbia, Vancouver) on SPECT imaging, focusing on 3D and 4D image reconstruction techniques.
In 2004, he joined the PET group led by Dr. Vesna Sossi at UBC, developing 12+ years of experience in PET imaging. He worked with several technologies of small-animal and human scanners, including the rather unique High-Resolution Research Tomograph (HRRT), and the CTI/Siemens microPET, both are instruments in the BIC's portfolio.
Stephan has tremendous expertise in PET/SPECT data acquisition, image processing and analysis, also in hardware.
Welcome, Stephan!

Chris Hsiao

Nuclear Medicine Technologist, PET Unit

We're very pleased to share with everyone the great news that Mr. Chris Hsiao is joining our BIC core staff at the PET Unit. Chris is a registered Nuclear Medicine Technologist, with four years of experience working at St. Mary's and Royal-Victoria Hospitals. He also has received training in Biochemistry at Concordia University, CT Imaging at CAMRT, and Diagnostic Ultrasound at Ahuntsic College.

Chris augments our key human resources at the PET Unit in response to the increased research demand in the modality.

Ted Strauss

Ted Strauss

Manager, Data Resources

Truly happy to see Ted join our core staff as Manager, Data Resources. Ted has 12+ years experience as a programmer, database administrator and technology generalist in the industry and academia. He will assist in creating a strategy and enabling the tools for short- and long-term data management over all modalities used at our Centre, all in coordination with the developments of the MNI's open-science infrastructure. 
Ted will draw from several years supporting open source, open data, and open science through policy and organizing. 

Prof Boris Bernhardt, PhD

Assistant Professor, BIC Principal Investigator

We are fortunate to welcome Dr. Boris Bernhardt as BIC core Faculty Member as of August 1, 2016. Boris is a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill and a member of the Epilepsy research group at the MNI. He obtained his PhD in Neuroscience at McGill in 2011 and carried out postdoctoral studies at the Max-Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. Boris heads the newly-founded Multimodal Imaging and Connectome Analysis Lab. The research is centered on the development of integrated analysis approaches to characterize neuroanatomical variability and its relation to function and behaviour in healthy and diseased populations, particularly epilepsy and autism spectrum conditions. The work employs multimodal neuroimaging, task-based assessments of cognitive and affective functions, as well as statistical modelling and pattern learning. 
Again, a warm welcome and our very best wishes to Boris!

Prof Bratislav Misic, PhD

Assistant Professor, BIC Principal Investigator

We have the greatest pleasure to announce that as of March 1st 2016, Dr. Bratislav Misic has joined ‪our Centre as Assistant Professor of Neurology & Neurosurgery, and new core BIC Principal Investigator.  
Bratislav trained in neuroscience and mathematics at the University of Toronto. He completed his PhD with Randy McIntosh (2014, University of Toronto) and his postdoctoral work with Olaf Sporns (2016, Indiana University). Bratislav investigates how global dynamics, cognitive operations and complex behaviour emerge from the connections and interactions among distributed brain areas, with an emphasis on the integrative properties of brain networks. His work lies at the intersection of network science, dynamical systems and multivariate statistics, with a focus on complex data sets involving multiple neuroimaging modalities, including ‪MRI‬ and ‪‎MEG‬. At the BIC, Bratislav will continue to build a translational approach for studying network structure and function in clinical populations. Bratislav has founded the Network Neuroscience Lab at our Centre.
Please join us in wishing the warmest welcome to Bratislav!

Dr. Iness Hammami, PhD

Research Assistant, Cyclotron

Iness will be responsible for the synthesis and quality control of FDG radiopharmaceutical for PET imaging. Iness has obtained her Bachelor degree in Chemical – Biopharmaceutical Engineering from Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. She pursued doctoral studies in Metabolic Engineering at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, in collaboration with the Instituto Oncologico Veneto (Italy). Her research focused on metabolic events in immunosuppression, in the context of identifying novel targets for immunotherapy. After graduating in 2011, she was a postdoc fellow at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal where she specialized in metabolic modeling. In 2013, she joined McGill as post-doctoral fellow in the department of Microbiology and Immunology where she investigated the metabolic profile of tolerogenic and activated dendritic cells.

Qian Ying (Sandy) Li, MSc

Research Assistant, Cyclotron

Sandy has obtained her Bachelor degree in Biochemistry from McGill University. Her first profesional experience has been with Agat Laboratories, as Analytical Chemist. She then completed her training with a Masters degree in Chemistry at Concordia University in 2012. Her research project focused on the development of  bimodal nanoparticles based contrast agents for MRI and optical imaging. She now specializes in the synthesis of lanthanide complexes, lanthanide doped nanoparticles and the surface functionalization of nanoparticles for biological application. Sandy is one of our newest recruits of our Cyclotron unit: she is responsible for the synthesis of radiopharmaceuticals for PET imaging.

Dr. Paul Gravel, PhD

Research Assistant, PET Unit

Paul obtained his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at McGill University in 2015 (A. Reader's lab). He also received an M.Sc. in Neurological Sciences from McGill in 2008, and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering with Computer Engineering major from the University of New-Brunswick. Paul’s interests and expertise are in PET image acquisition and reconstruction, with an emphasis on radiotracer kinetic modeling and statistical parametric mapping (SPM). At the BIC, Paul will contribute developments in PET image quantification using direct 4D PET reconstruction techniques. Very importantly, his primary mission is to provide training, assistance and expertise to all users of BIC's high-resolution, conventional and micro-PET scanners. Investigators and trainees seeking expert advice on PET image analysis shall paul.gravel2 [at] mail.mcgill.ca (subject: Contact%20re%3A%20PET%20%40%20BIC) (contact Paul directly). 

Dr. Simon Ducharme

Prof Simon Ducharme, MD

Assistant Professor, BIC Principal Investigator

Dr. Ducharme has a medical degree from the Université de Montréal and a Masters from McGill University. He completed his residency in Psychiatry at McGill in 2012, and a fellowship in Behavioral Neurology & Neuropsychiatry at Harvard University in 2014. He is a Neuropsychiatrist at the Montreal Neurological Institute/MUHC, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and an associate member in the Department of Neurology. Dr. Ducharme studies morphometric analyses of structural MRI (e.g., cortical thickness) as an early diagnostic and prognostic biomarker of frontotemporal dementia.

Prof Rick Hoge, PhD

Associate Professor & Director, MRI Unit, BIC Principal Investigator

Rick has trained at McGill and has done research at Harvard Medical School, MIT, and the University of Montreal before returning to the MNI as our new Director of MRI Research. As such,  Rick is a key contact person to help you optimize and design your MRI studies on our large-bore 1.5-T and 3-T scanners and the 7-T small bore.


Prof Gassan Massarweh, PhD

Assistant Professor & Director, Cyclotron, BIC Principal Investigator

Gassan (PhD, U Hamburg) has worked at UQAM, the MNI, then as Head of the Radiochemistry Unit at Dalhousie and as Head of Cyclotron at the CRCHUM. We are very fortunate that all BIC users can now benefit from Gassan’s tremendous experience in radiosynthesis. With Dr Jean-Paul Soucy (PET Medical Director), Gassan is a key resource person to make your PET projects successful.

Prof Alexey Kostikov, PhD

Assistant Professor, Cyclotron, BIC Principal Investigator

Alexey has trained in Chemistry at Saint-Petersburg State U (Russia) and at U of Georgia (USA). He worked at Syracuse U before joining our PET program in 2009, as a Research Associate and now as a faculty member. Alex specializes in the synthesis of radiotracers for basic and clinical neuroscience research. His current research focus is on new techniques for rapid and efficient radiolabeling of biologically active macromolecules such as peptides.

Highways of communication in the brain can be imaged with diffusion-weighted MRI. The BIC is equipped with state-of-the-art 1.5T, 3T and 7T MRI scanners.

MEG measures brain activity at the millisecond time scale. The BIC offers access to one of the 7 MEG scanners in Canada. 

We are located on the Mont-Royal mountain (yes, it's a mountain!) in the heart of downtown Montreal. A unique environment, for a unique Centre!  

Our Centre organizes a weekly seminar and lecture series held every Monday in the de Grandpré Communications Centre at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Come and join us

Each year, we scan about 4,000 research participants, in a wide variety of settings for basic and clinical research studies. Here, a volunteer participates to an MEG cognitive test involving visual perception.     

Superconduction and quantum physics in action: that's what happens every day in our 7 scanners. Here a cloud of helium gas (totally safe) gently tries to escape during the refill of our MEG scanner.     

Hard-wired: brain waves are generated by neurons. They can be tracked at the millisecond scale by EEG (pictured here) and MEG, with an increasing numbers of channels and spatial coverage over the recent years. 

Training is an important part of our mission at the BIC: every year, our labs host about 80 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from all around the world. 

The Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill: home of the McConnell BIC and one of the world-leading flagships in neuroscience research, neurology and neurosurgery.

We have 40 years of experience in PET imaging, with an on-site GMP and GLP radiochemistry and cyclotron facility for molecular imaging at the highest resolution. 

Our Centre is home to 16 Faculty, 25 core staff members, and about 100 trainees for cutting-edge research in everything neuroimaging. We also scan >4,000 research participants every year, providing brain scanning services to hundreds of scientists.

We have just celebrated our first 30 years of excellence in brain imaging science.

The BIC is not only about scanners: we have a fantastic team of highly-qualified support personnel, entirely dedicated to make your research experience productive and successful. 

The Neuro Imaging & Surgical Technologies Lab at the BIC (Prof D. Louis Collins, Principal Investigator) is one of the 16 core labs at our Centre. Learn more about the research activities at the BIC here.

The McConnell BIC will be home to the only 7-T large bore MRI scanner in Quebec (3rd in Canada), upon execution of a $15M grant project allocated by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Province.

Our PET/Cyclotron team has cumulated 40 years of experience and excellence in nuclear imaging research: from the development and production of innovative radiotracers for neuroscience and cancer research, to high-resolution PET imaging.  

Our MRI research platform is open 10 hours a day, 7 days a week and collects data for 120 different user laboratories in Montreal and beyond.

Artist Steven Spazuk performing in our MEG scanner, for the Neuro-Portrait communication project.

Comprehensive MEG training week: we conducted two series of MEG training sessions in 2015, attracting about 100 trainees - some traveling from as far as Spain, Italy and Australia.  

The BIC has a strong track-record of data-sharing and open-source software projects. We are proud to be a key partner of the MNI's Open-Science Initiative.

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