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New $12M Child & Family Research Imaging Facility opens in Vancouver dedicated to child health research

June 13, 2012
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The new Child & Family Research Imaging Facility was opened today in Vancouver. It is dedicated to research that will increase understanding of brain development as well as to other child health research projects. The $12-million facility features a 3-Tesla MRI scanner along with an imaging analysis and neuro-informatics lab.

“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,” said the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

“Our government is committed to supporting research and development that will deliver real results for Canadian families,” added the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology.

“Our government is committed to keeping families safe and healthy,” says the Honourable Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation for British Columbia. “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.”

“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,” says Mr. Colin Joudrie, Co-Chair, Mining for Miracles Committee. “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.”

“The Child & Family Research Imaging Facility is an important resource that was created by a vibrant team of neuroscience investigators on this campus,” says Dr. Bruce Bjornson, Associate Clinician Scientist and Associate Head of the Developmental Neurosciences & Child Health Research Cluster at the Child & Family Research Institute. Dr. Bjornson is a pediatric neurologist and Director of the Brain Mapping Centre at BC Children’s Hospital, and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia. He also took a pie in the face at the Teck Celebrity Pie Throw. “It is a magnet for new discoveries that will ultimately improve the health of infants and children in BC and beyond.”

Upcoming research projects involving the Child & Family Research Imaging 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 $12-million facility is 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 Child & Family Research Imaging Facility is a University of British Columbia and Child & Family Research Institute project hosted by the Provincial Health Services Authority on the campus of BC Children’s Hospital, BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre, and BC Mental Health & Addictions Research Institute. It is located near the existing 1.5-Tesla MRI clinical scanner and near the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units at BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital.

Photo (from left to right): Colin Joudrie, Co-Chair, Mining for Miracles Committee; Dr. Stuart MacLeod, Vice President, Academic Liaison and Research Coordination, Provincial Health Services Authority; Dr. Steven Miller, pediatric neurologist and principal investigator, Child & Family Research Imaging Facility; Dr. Howard Feldman, Executive Associate Dean, Research, Faculty of Medicine, UBC; and CFRI Board Member; The Honourable Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Labour Citizens’ Services and Open Government and MLA for Vancouver Fairview; Dr. Jan Friedman, Acting Executive Director, Child & Family Research Institute.

[PDF of news release]