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Advances in High-Field Brain Imaging Symposium – Celebrating the arrival of Canada’s first whole body 7T MRI

May 17, 2019
Jeanne Timmins Amphitheatre, The Neuro
3801 University

The Neuro’s McConnell Brain Imaging Centre will host a one-day scientific symposium on May 17, 2019 in the Neuro's Jeanne Timmins Amphitheatre and Foyer, to celebrate the arrival of Canada's first whole-body 7T MRI scanner. This symposium follows the ISMRM meeting in Montreal. The themes include methods and applications of structural, functional and spectroscopy high-field MRI of the brain. The symposium will feature talks by internationally recognized experts in ultra-high field MRI. All day refreshments including cocktails will be offered. Guided visits to the new 7T facility will be available with priority given to attendees who are not based in Montreal.

The McConnell Brain Imaging Centre is a leading multimodal imaging data acquisition and analysis centre for studying brain function and disease. It is part of a unique research and clinical environment – The Neuro - Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – the first open science institute in the world. The BIC MRI Unit’s new 7 Tesla MRI scanner is the latest addition to The Neuro’s current brain imaging systems of high-resolution PET, MEG, 3 Tesla MRI as well as small animal MRI and micro-PET.


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8 Registration - breakfast
8:45 Opening Remarks - Welcome (Julien Doyon)
8:50 Words from Siemens (Sébastien Deval)
8:55 Opening remarks from the chair: Amir Shmuel
9 Pushing to High Magnetic fields in Pursuit of understanding human brain function
Kamil Ugurbil (Webex)
Director, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR)
Mcknight Presidential Chair
Professor Depts of Radiology, Neurosciences and Medicine
University of Minnesota, USA
9:30 Technology for advancing ultra-high field brain MRI
Larry Wald
Professor of Radiology
Harvard Medical School
Charles and Sara Fabrikant Research Scholar, Massachusetts General Hospital
Affiliated Faculty of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
Massachusetts, USA
10 Analysis of the spatial specificity of fMRI and of fMRI-based decoding of information conveyed by cortical columns
Amir Shmuel
Associate Professor, McGill University
McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, The Neuro, Canada
10:30 Refreshment pause
11 Layer-specific fMRI of animal brain: Foundations of human laminar-resolution fMRI
Seong-Gi Kim
Center for Neuroscience Imaging Research, Institute for Basic Science
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University
Suwon, Korea
11:30 Intracortical fMRI: Acquisition technologies, analysis strategies and interpretational challenges
Jonathan R. Polimeni, PhD
Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Charlestown, USA
Noon Pushing the resolution of 7T fMRI:layer-dependent fMRI with CBV
Laurentius Huber
MR-Methods group
Department of Cognitive Psychology
Maastricht University, Netherlands
12:30 Closing remarks

12:30 - 1:30

Lunch & Tours of 7T



Opening remarks from the chair
Rick Hoge and Christina Triantafyllou, Director, Global UHF MRI Solutions at Siemens Healthineers, Germany


1:45 Characterizing Brain Microstructure Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - Towards In-Vivo Histology
Nikolaus Weiskopf
Director and Scientific Member of the Department of Neurophysics
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Germany
2:15 7T Neuroimaging in Canada. The lonely first decade.
Ravi Menon
Co-Scientific Director, BrainsCAN
Professor of Medical Biophysics, Physics, Medical Imaging and Psychiatry
Western University
Scientist, Robarts Research Institute
Ontario, Canada

Bridging scales with neuroimaging: challenges and opportunities
Karla Miller
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow
Associate Director, Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN)
Co-Director, WIN Physics Group
University of Oxford, UK


3:15 Refreshment pause

Functional MRS: a growing field of interdisciplinary brain research
Silvia Mangia Center for Magnetic Resonance Research
University of Minnesota, USA


4:15 Extracting More for Less: Highly Integrated Quantitative MRI at 7T
Bruce Pike
CAIP Chair in Health Brain Aging
Head of Image Science and Professor of Radiology, Clinical Neuroscience, and Biomedical Engineering
Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary
Adjunct Professor, McGill University, Canada
4:45 Real time shimming with hybrid AC/DC coil technology
Julien Cohen-Adad
Associate Professor, Polytechnique Montreal
Associate Director, Functional Neuroimaging Unit, University of Montreal
Canada Research Chair in Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging
5 Closing Remarks
5:15 Cocktail Reception (onsite) & Tours of 7T


Julien Cohen-Adad, University of Montreal, Canada

Dr. Cohen-Adad is an MR physicist with over 12 years of experience in advanced MRI methods for quantitative assessment of the brain and spinal cord structure and function. He is an associate professor at Polytechnique Montreal, adjunct professor of neuroscience at the University of Montreal and associate director of the Neuroimaging Functional Unit (University of Montreal). Along with his colleague Professor Nikola Stikov, he is directing the NeuroPoly Lab which includes about 20 graduate students and research associates. Dr. Cohen-Adad has published 110+ articles (3500+ citations) and, as a leader in the field, he has organized multiple workshops at international conferences. He is a frequent guest lecturer on advanced MRI methods and he regularly serves as consultant for CROs and academics for setting up MRI acquisition and image processing protocols. Dr. Cohen-Adad initiated and led the edition of the first book on “quantitative MRI of the spinal cord” (Elsevier, 36 authors). In 2015 he received a Canada Research Chair (in Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and was also awarded the competitive Foundation Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Laurentius Huber, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

Laurentius Huber received his doctoral degree in physics at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany in 2015 working with Bob Turner and Harald Moeller. Between 2015 and 2018, Laurentius did his Post-Doc work with Peter Bandettini at NIH focusing on methods development to map brain functional activity changes at sub-millimeter scales in humans.

In January 2019, Dr. Huber started a VENI-fellowship in the MR-methods group headed by Benedikt Poser in Maastricht. In this VENI project, Laurentius is working on improving the applicability of layer-fMRI. Specifically, he is working on methods to measure the information flow through the brain non-invasively with advanced MRI.

Seong-Gi Kim, Sungkyunkwan University, Korea

Seong-Gi Kim, Ph.D. is the Director of Neuroscience Imaging Research Center in the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), and Professor of Biomedical Engineering in Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU). Dr. Kim did his graduate works on in vivo NMR spectroscopy (1984-88) at Washington University, and postdoc training on structural biology at the University of Washington. In 1991, he moved to the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research at the University of Minnesota and was involved in the first human fMRI studies in 1992. After advancing his rank to full Professor, Dr. Kim moved to the University of Pittsburgh at 2002. He was appointed as the inaugural Paul C. Lauterbur Chair in Imaging Research at 2009, which was created for honoring a Nobel laureate and MRI inventor. Recently Dr. Kim returned to Korea to set up a new imaging center. His major research focus is to develop magnetic resonance imaging techniques for measuring brain physiology and function, to determine relationships between neural activity and hemodynamic responses, and to apply imaging tools for answering neuroscience questions.

Silvia Mangia, University of Minnesota, USA

Dr. Mangia currently works as Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She graduated from the University of Rome "La Sapienza" (Italy) with a masters degree in Physics (1999), Ph.D. in Biophysics (2003) and title of specialist in Medical Physics (2005). Her research agenda aims at providing quantitative measures of tissue metabolism, structure, and function by means of non-invasive Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Spectroscopy (MRS) methodologies, with a specific focus to high-field applications in vivo.


Ravi Menon, The University of Western Ontario, Canada

Dr. Ravi Menon held an inaugural Canada Research Chair from the inception of the program in 2001 until February 2019. He is a Professor of Medical Biophysics, Medical Imaging, Physics and Psychiatry at the University of Western Ontario, where he is also a member of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience and the Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering and Scientific Director of Western’s Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping.

He has held grants from a broad spectrum of agencies; CIHR, NSERC, NIH, McDonnell-Pew, Human Frontiers, ORDCF, CFI, OIT, ORF and an Ontario-NCE. He received a CIHR Foundation Award in 2016. He serves as co-Scientific Director of BrainsCAN, a $66M grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

Dr. Menon has served in numerous advisory capacities, including 7 years on the Canada Gairdner Foundation and currently on the Board of the Brain Canada Foundation. He served for 7 years (the last 4 as Chair) on the Institute Advisory Board of the Institute for Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction of the CIHR as well as on the Board of Scientific Councilors of NIMH

He is twice an awardee of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 program and one of 20 recipients of the Young Explorers Medal from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. In 2015, he was elected as a Senior Fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Karla Miller, University of Oxford, UK

Karla Miller is a biomedical engineer at the FMRIB Centre in Oxford. She is interested in developing novel MRI techniques, understanding their relationship to neurobiology, and deploying these techniques to enable novel neuroscience investigations. Current themes in her work include big data, integrated acquisition and analysis, and relating MRI to microscopy.



Bruce Pike, University of Calgary, Canada

Dr. Bruce Pike obtained his PhD at McGill University working on magnetic resonance imaging technology. He then conducted postdoctoral studies in Radiological Sciences at Stanford University. In 1994 he joined the faculty of McGill and from 1999-2013 Dr. Pike was Director of the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre at the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill and was the Killam Professor of Neurology & Neurosurgery, James McGill Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and a Professor of Electrical Engineering, Physics, Medical Physics, and Radiology. In 2014, he joined the University of Calgary as the CAIP Chair in Healthy Brain Aging, Head of Image Science, and Professor of Radiology, Clinical Neuroscience, and Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Pike has published over 300 scientific papers and book chapters that have been cited over 28,000 times. He is Senior Editor of the journal NeuroImage, a Senior Fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and serves on the Advisory Boards for long list of national and international organizations.

Jonathan Polimeni, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, USA

Jonathan R. Polimeni, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in Radiology at Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Radiology of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Affiliated Faculty in the Division of Health Sciences and Technology at MIT, and Director of Ultrahigh-field imaging at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. Dr. Polimeni received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Boston University under Professor Eric Schwartz. His postdoctoral work was at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at the Massachusetts General Hospital with Professor Lawrence Wald. His group focuses on the development and application of high-resolution 7T fMRI, the characterization of the spatial and temporal specificity of the fMRI signals, and on the study of the functional architecture of the human visual cortex. He is the PI on several NIH-funded grants, and leads a multi-institutional project investigating the limits of human fMRI funded by the BRAIN Initiative.

Amir Shmuel, The Neuro, Canada

Dr. Amir Shmuel graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with B.Med. and B.Sc. degrees in medical sciences and computer science, respectively. He went on to studying computational vision for his M.Sc. at the Hebrew University, and obtaining his Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. He then investigated neurovascular coupling and mechanisms underlying high-resolution functional MRI as a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for MR Research (CMRR) of the University of Minnesota and the Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tuebingen, Germany. He is a core faculty member of the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre of the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, and Associate Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Physiology and Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Shmuel is the PI of a $17.8M grant funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation to install the first large bore 7 Tesla MRI scanner in Quebec. His research program focuses on understanding functional brain imaging signals and evaluating the degree to which they reflect the underlying neuronal activity, cortical lamina resolved neurophysiology and neuroimaging, and computational modeling of these themes.

Christina Triantafyllou, Siemens Healthineers, Germany

Dr Triantafyllou received her Ph.D. in Medical Physics from Kings College, University of London, London UK, after she graduated her M.Sc. Degree in Medical Physics from University of Surrey, Guildford, UK. She joined the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH, Harvard Medical School, for her Post Doctoral training. During this time, she explored various aspects of Ultra High Field (UHF) MR Physics, in particular, the signal and noise characteristics in functional MRI at 7T, under the supervision of Prof Larry Wald and Prof Rick Hoge. While Dr Triantafyllou continued her research on 7T MRI, as faculty at Harvard Medical School, she joined MIT, at Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department as the Associated Director of the Imaging Center at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, where she was leading the MR Physics group. Late 2012, she moved from academia to business, joining Siemens Healthineers at the Siemens Headquarters in Germany. During the past few years, Dr Triantafyllou has led the Global UHF Business by starting as the Director of Global UHF Business Management in UHF segment. Her role expanded in the subsequent year to cover the UHF customer relationship aspects as the Director of Global UHF Product Relationship Management. Since 2018, Dr Triantafyllou, is the Director of Global UHF MRI Solutions. In her current role, she has the global responsibility of the UHF business and market strategy, directing the UHF partnerships and collaborations worldwide, as well as leading a team responsible for the applications and digital solutions for the UHF segment.

Kamil Ugurbil, University of Minnesota, USA

Dr. Kamil Ugurbil currently holds the McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair Professorship in Radiology, Neurosciences, and Medicine and is the Director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) at the University of Minnesota. Professor Ugurbil was educated at Robert Academy, Istanbul and Columbia University, New York. After completing his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics, and chemical physics, respectively, at Columbia, he joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1977, and subsequently returned to Columbia as a faculty member in 1979. He was recruited to the University of Minnesota in 1982 where his research in magnetic resonance led to the evolution of his laboratory into an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary research center, the CMRR.

The work that introduced magnetic resonance imaging of neuronal activity in the human brain (known as fMRI) was accomplished independently and simultaneously in two laboratories, one of which was Ugurbil's in CMRR. Since then, his primary focus has been the development and application of methods capable of obtaining high resolution and high accuracy functional and anatomical information in the human brain, targeting spatial scales ranging from the whole brain to elementary neuronal ensembles exemplified by cortical columns and layers. This body of work has culminated in unique accomplishments, such as the first time functional mapping of orientation columns in the human primary visual cortex, and involved the development of extensive new instrumentation and image acquisition approaches, including the introduction and development of ultrahigh magnetic fields (7 Tesla and higher) for functional and anatomical imaging and highly accelerated functional brain imaging. This body of work was recognized by several awards and honors.

Larry Wald, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, USA

Lawrence L. Wald, Ph.D. is currently a Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and Affiliated Faculty of the Harvard-MIT Division Health Sciences Technology. He received a BA in Physics at Rice University, and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1992 under the direction of Prof. E.L. Hahn with a thesis related to optical detection of NMR. He obtained further (postdoctoral) training in Physics at Berkeley and then in Radiology and MRI at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). He began his academic career as an Instructor at the Harvard Medical School at McLean Hospital and since 1998 has been at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Radiology in the NMR Center (now the A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging). His work has explored the benefits and challenges of highly parallel MRI and its application to highly accelerated image encoding and parallel excitation and ultra-high field MRI (7 Tesla) methodology for brain imaging including improved methods for matrix shimming and gradient coil design. His lab also focuses on motion mitigation methods, portable MRI technology, and is developing a prototype functional Magnetic Particle Imaging scanner.

Nikolaus Weiskopf, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Germany

Professor Nikolaus Weiskopf is Director of the Neurophysics Department at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany.

Nikolaus Weiskopf is a world expert in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods and their application to neuroimaging. He pioneered real-time functional MRI (fMRI) based neurofeedback that advanced from first experiments to clinical trials within less than 15 years. His main current research focus is the imaging of functional and anatomical microstructure using MRI, in order to study structure-function relationships and plasticity at the microstructural level. One of the primary projects, funded by the ERC, targets the development of in-vivo histology using MRI, i.e., extracting information similar to post-mortem histology from non-invasive MRI.

He graduated in physics from the University of Tuebingen in 2000 and received a PhD (summa cum laude) in neuroscience from the Graduate School of Neural & Behavioural Sciences and International Max Planck Research School in Tuebingen in 2004. From 2004-2006 he was a Senior Research Fellow and from 2006-2016 Head of Physics at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at the University College London. In 2015 he was appointed as Director of the Neurophysics at the MPI and in 2016 as Honorary Professor at the Faculty for Physics and Earth Sciences, University of Leipzig.

He authored more than 150 papers and book chapters in journals such as Science, PNAS, Lancet Neurology, Brain and Journal of Neuroscience. He is Associate Editor of the Frontiers in Brain Imaging Methods journal, member of the Young Academy of Europe, and regularly serves as reviewer and/or advisor for large multi-center studies and neuroimaging centers.

Scientific Advisory Committee

During the post-award execution phase, the 7T project has benefitted greatly from the guidance of its Scientific Advisory Committee. The following members have provided invaluable input during purchase of the 7T scanner and planning of the facility:

Amir Shmuel, PhD (Committee Chair)
Julien Cohen-Adad, PhD (École Polytechnique)
Alain Dagher, MD
Julien Doyon, PhD
Rick Hoge, PhD
Martin Lepage, PhD (Université de Sherbrooke)
Jamie Near, PhD (Douglas Hospital)
David Rudko, PhD
Christine Tardif, PhD

7 Tesla Scanner

The 7T scanner has been acquired thanks to a $18.8M grant selected for funding by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (Innovation Fund Competition, CFI call 8), the Quebec Government’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation, and corporate partners spearheaded by the MRI manufacturer, Siemens Healthineers.

The grant, entitled “Quebec Centre for High-Field Brain Imaging” was secured by a group of The Neuro’s researchers led by Amir Shmuel, joined by researchers from the Jewish General Hospital and the Unité de Neuroimagerie Fonctionnelle (UNF) at the Université de Montréal:

Amir Shmuel, PhD (Principal Investigator)
Douglas Arnold, MD
Andrea Bernasconi, MD
Howard Chertkow, MD
Louis Collins, PhD
Alain Dagher, MD
Julien Doyon, PhD
Alan Evans, PhD
Rick Hoge, PhD
Michael Petrides, PhD

The application included contributions from researchers at nine institutions in Quebec. The 7 Tesla scanner will support studies of interested PIs from Quebec and anywhere else in the world.

Canadian Foundation for Innovation: Quebec Platform for High-Field Brain Imaging

Venue Directions


The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital is at 3801 University Street, north of Pine Avenue West, on the McGill University campus opposite the former Royal Victoria Hospital.

Montreal is served by highway Routes 10, 15, 20 and 40, and by Greyhound Bus, ViaRail and the P-E-Trudeau airport. In the city, bus and metro service is provided by the Société de transport de Montréal (STM).

Click image to enlarge
map neuro mni building map neuro mni building location

Wheelchair access

A wheelchair accessible entrance is on University Street north of the main entrance. Another wheelchair accessible entrance is in the loading area behind the building: to enter the loading area, turn into the driveway south of the main entrance. Please note, there is no parking in the loading area.


Parking near the MNI is sometimes difficult. There are parking meters on University Street and a parking lot north of the main entrance. To enter the lot, turn right into the driveway toward Molson Stadium.

Information about parking fees


Taxi Stand

There is a taxi stand on University Street across from the main entrance. You may call a cab from the free taxi phone in the main lobby near the Security Desk.

Access by Public Transportation (STM website)


There are four bus stops within walking distance:

  • Bus 144 stops at Pine Avenue and University Street
  • Bus 356 stops at Sherbrooke Street and University Street (Nightbus)
  • Bus 107 stops at Pine Avenue and Docteur Penfield
  • Bus 24 stops at Sherbrooke Street and University Street


Take the Metro Green Line to the McGill station. Walk north on University Street and cross Pine Avenue. The main entrance is on the right, past the flags.

Jeanne Timmins Amphitheatre

  • Enter main lobby turn left and go down the hallway to the end.
  • Turn right and go down the second hallway until you see another hallway on the left.
  • This hallway leads to the Jeanne Timmins Foyer.
  • On your right are the Jeanne Timmins Amphitheatre entrance doors.


Debbie Rashcovsky
Events Officer

Director's Office
Montreal Neurological Institute & Hospital
3801 University Street, Suite 640
Montreal, Quebec H3A 2B4

Tel: 514-398-6047
Email:debbie.rashcovsky [at] 

The Montreal Neurological Institute & Hospital is a McGill University research and teaching institute; delivering the highest quality of care to patients, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. The Neuro is proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.