Brain Injury & Recovery Theme

How do brain injuries in early life impact brain development, adaptability and resilience?

This theme centers on neurodevelopmental impairments that arise from abnormal brain development and brain injury, including a broad diversity of pediatric disorders, ranging from epilepsy and cerebral dysgenesis to stroke, malignancies and ‘acquired’ brain injury in the newborn. We aim to improve understanding of fetal and neonatal brain development, develop new high-resolution MRI techniques and systems, and test new strategies to prevent or ameliorate early brain injury events.

Core Group Members

  • Dr. Bruce Bjornson – Dr. Bjornson’s primary interest is in the mapping of brain functions in children. This entails cognitive neurology, neurophysiology and neuroimaging. Of particular interest is the use of functional MRI, coupled with high-resolution anatomical MRI and diffusion tensor white matter tractography for pre-surgical evaluation of sensory, motor and language networks and pathways in children with epilepsy. Additional interests include childhood stroke and dyslexia. The overall goals of his work are to increase the availability, reliability, yield and utility of non-invasive pediatric brain mapping techniques for children. 
    >> BC Children’s Brain Mapping Centre

  • Dr. Vann Chau - Dr. Chau’s research explores the causes and evolution of neonatal and premature infant brain injury. He uses advanced neuroimaging techniques to examine the relationship between causal factors, brain injury and development. In the near future, he hope to utilize and study transcranial magnetic stimulation. He aims to further the identification and understanding of brain injury in order to improve outcomes in premature newborns.

  • Dr. Mary Connolly - Dr. Connolly's research centers primarily on epilepsy and surgical management of epilepsy. Her research focuses on outcomes of epilepsy surgery of various types and the influence of surgery on seizure control, quality of life, learning and attention. She is also involved in research in video-EEG monitoring, psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, psychiatric comorbidity in epilepsy and adverse reactions to anti-epileptic drugs.

  • Dr. Kevin Farrell – Epilepsy is the tendency to have recurrent epileptic seizures. It affects approximately one in 20 children at some point during childhood. The research program in epilepsy involves several researchers and includes the investigation of new treatments of intractable epilepsy including the ketogenic diet, vagal nerve stimulation and surgery. The major areas of Dr. Farrell's research have been the clinical and EEG features of epileptic seizures and the side-effects of antiepileptic drugs in children. More recently, the problem of preserving mental development in children with epilepsy has become a focus.
  • Dr. Alan Hill – Dr. Hill’s research interests lie in the field of neonatal neurology. More specifically, one research focus explores the patterns of brain injury, neurological outcomes and resultant epilepsy in intrapartum hypoxic-ischemic insult. He is also interested in post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus in premature newborns, hypoxic-ischemic brain injury in the term newborn and correlation with perinatal management, brain injury in infants of diabetic mothers and neonatal stroke. Furthermore, the effects of concomitant hypoglycemic and hypoxic-ischemic insult on the topography of brain injury are explored.

  • Dr. Linda Huh - Dr. Huh's research examines various aspects of pediatric epilepsy. She is interested in classification, etiology and co-morbid conditions. Her research focuses on status epilepticus, the use of continuous EEG monitoring in the intensive care unit (ICU) and epilepsy surgery.  She is currently collaborating with Dr. Connolly (PI), Dr. Vallance and Dr. Waters on a quality assurance study on the prevalence of cerebral spinal fluid neurotransmitters disorders in British Columbia.     

  • Dr. Juliette Hukin - Dr. Hukin's main area of interest is the management of central nervous system tumours and the neurological complications of cancer.  With her research team, Dr. Hukin aims to define the optimum treatment for any given brain tumour in terms of best chance of cure and least risk of short and long-term adverse effects.  In addition, they seek to delineate further neurotoxicity related to other cancers and their therapy and develop strategies to minimize their occurrence.
  • Dr. Steven Miller – The aim of Dr. Miller's research group is to better understand brain development and injury in the newborn. Using advanced magnetic resonance (MR) techniques and bedside brain monitoring, they study how white matter injury and systemic illness affects brain development in critically ill newborns. A better understanding of factors impacting brain development and injury will allow for direct improvement of the neurodevelopmental outcomes for high-risk newborns. 
  • Dr. Urs Ribary – Dr. Ribary is interested in structural and functional brain imaging to study sensory-motor and cognitive processing in children and adults, especially the analysis of the brain’s network, oscillation dynamics, and functional connectivity within and among distributed networks, and the development of underlying neuronal diagnostic markers for cognitive alterations and clinical diseases in relation to therapeutic interventions.

  • Dr. Peter Wong – A variety of epilepsy syndromes are explored and analyzed through technologies such as topography, tomography and EEG monitoring, leading to the classification of technology-specific symptomologies. Minimally-invasive epilepsy surgery is investigated using cortical EEG recordings of seizures subjected to mathematical analysis. In addition, anti-epileptic drug therapy is explored in terms of efficacy, dosing and side effects.