Upcoming Medical Imaging – Artificial Intelligence Workshop in Calgary!

MiDATA will be offering a free Mi-AI workshop on Tuesday December 11th from 8:30 am-12:00 noon at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Calgary.

The focus will be on introducing participants to the concepts of AI, deep learning, and machine learning in medical imaging research.

Workshop objectives will include answering the following questions:
-How to design a research question for AI?
-I have an idea, a laptop, and a few scans. Am I good to go?
-What do I need to get started?
-What is currently being used like AI techniques for medical applications?

New GPU

Woohoo!! The new GPU in our lab is up and running!

Here’s the specs!
CPU: Intel i7 8th gen, 6-core 12-thread
RAM: 32Gb DDR4 3400 MHz, upgradeable to 64Gb
Storage: 500Gb M2 SSD, 6TB internal HDD
GPU: 2 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti 11Gb
OS: Ubuntu 16.04

Engaging Primary Care in Research: Not Always an Easy Task

Stella Song ROP Summer 2016

I am Stella Bing Xin Song, currently a second year student studying pharmacology and psychology at University of Toronto. I was fortunate to be a part of the 2016 Research Opportunity Program (ROP) supervised by Dr. Pascal Tyrrell in the Department of Medical Imaging at University of Toronto. 


My ROP project focused on evaluating the feasibility of using MRI as the primary imaging modality for carotid artery stenosis diagnosis and assessment (not sure what we are talking about? See previous posts here and here). Along with Ginni Ting, a student volunteer in Dr. Tyrrell’s lab, we surveyed physicians in the Niagara region of Ontario to learn about their perspectives on this proposal. Our community partner in this research was Heart Niagara – a fantastic local organization that has been guiding advances in cardiac health education and services since 1977.

Most of the responding physicians saw approximately 2000 or more patients per year. Physicians expressed a variety of care-related decisions for carotid artery stenosis patients, especially for those where diagnosis was less obvious with less than 70% stenosis. Most responding physicians would consider MRI over Ultrasound as the first-line diagnostic imaging modality, because of its ability to detect IPH yielding more pertinent information. IPH is bleeding within the plaques, which causes them to become more vulnerable (see vulnerable plaque). There is a 6 times greater risk of stroke in people with IPH! For those who were reluctant to consider it, they expressed that it was mostly due to their concerns for the relative cost and current wait time for MRI. 



Unfortunately, the response rate for this online survey was very low. Reasons given for the reluctance to participate were that physicians were on a tight schedule and were busy with their patients. Feedback from participants was that the online survey seemed long. Nevertheless, from the responses received, we were able to learn more about physicians’ perspectives of using MRI for carotid artery stenosis diagnosis and assessment.


In the end, it was an exciting and valuable experience to plan out and execute this research project. Most importantly, I had the pleasure to join Dr. Tyrrell’s lab and meet his team. I am grateful for all the help and support which I have received throughout my time at the lab. I look forward to continuing to work as a member of Dr. Tyrrell’s lab.

Stella Bing

Sharing Medical Images for Research: Patients’ Perspectives

Michelle Cheung – YSP 2nd Place Award

Michelle was our second YSP student this summer and did a great job at particpating in one of our studies in looking at patients’ willingness to share their medical images for research. This study is also part of the MiNE project.

Here is what Michelle had to say:

“My name is Michelle Cheung and I am a rising senior at Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California. In my free time, I love to bake, read, travel with family, and take Barre classes. I also enjoy volunteering with friends at local charitable events and the Key Club at school. I am very interested in human biology and hope to study genetics and biotechnology next fall.

I really enjoyed the three weeks with the YSP Research Program. I learned so much about medical imaging modalities and had the amazing opportunity of helping research assistants survey patients at the Sunnybrook Hospital for the MiNE project. At first, it was a little daunting, but over time, I became more confident and comfortable interacting with patients, and grew to love surveying. The continuous surveying each day highlights the aspect and importance of repetition in conducting scientific research. Above all, it was an absolute pleasure getting to know the MiDATA and VBIRG lab. I’m grateful to my mentors and the lab members for exposing me to a whole new lab world I never thought existed beyond the traditional wet labs.”

Great job Michelle!

Have a peek at Michelle’s award winning poster and…

… I’ll see you in the blogosphere.

Pascal Tyrrell

Wow! What a Busy Summer….

Jenny Joo – YSP 2016

Over 20 students in the lab this summer beavering away at some great projects. Last week my two Youth Summer Program (University of Toronto) students finished their three week stay with us. 


Jenny and Michelle both did fantastic work.


Today Jenny will show you her poster entitled:“Comparing Healthy and Unhealthy Carotid Arteries”


Jenny Joo is from Richmond Hill, Ontario, entering her senior year of high school. She plans on studying life science at the University
of Toronto in the future. She spent the last 3 weeks in U of T’s YSP Medical
Research program, where she was placed in two different medical imaging labs: The
MiDATA lab of U of T and the Vascular Biology Imaging Research lab at
Sunnybrook Hospital. 

Jenny chose to do research on the
MRI scans of the carotid artery because it focused on both research and
clinical aspects and had this to say about her experience with us: “It has been an enriching 3 weeks working with my PI, Pascal
Tyrrell, my mentors, John Harvey and Moran Foster, and the rest of the research
group.” 

Great work Jenny Joo!


Have a peek at her poster and…

… I’ll see you in the blogosphere.


Pascal Tyrrell

MiDATA – Enabling Medical Image Research at the University of Toronto

Poster to be presented at the Department of Medical Imaging Resident Achievement Day 2016

Where have a I been you ask? At my desk putting this program together! I apologize for being MIA for the past month or so but I it has been a busy time nurturing this fledgling program of MiNE (pun intended!).

Here is the premise:

Bridging the gap between clinical expertise and the science of managing and analyzing medical imaging data is challenging. To provide direction for data management as well as the analysis and reporting of research findings, we are in the process of introducing a data science unit – MiDATA – offering users an environment geared towards a “soup to nuts” approach to medical imaging research methodology and statistics. The Department of Medical Imaging of the University of Toronto is one of the largest in North America with a clinical faculty of more than 184 faculty, 60 residents and 80 fellows based at nationally and internationally renowned hospitals conducting cutting edge clinical research in the greater Toronto area. The challenge of any successful research and educational program is bridging the “know-do” gap. The goal of MiDATA is to facilitate impactful research through the efficient and creative use of a mentored learning environment.

Shout out to our collaborators the Division of Biostatistics from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health!



Tomorrow is the official unveiling at the 2016 Department of Medical Imaging Resident Achievement Day. I thought I would share with you our poster as a sneak peek…



Once you have digested its contents have a listen to Paper Planes by M.I.A. to decompress and…

… I’ll see you in the blogosphere (or at tomorrow’s event!)


Pascal Tyrrell


Dem Bones Dem Bones Dem Dry Bones

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!!!

A traditional holiday – originating from the native peoples of the Americas – to celebrate the completion and bounty of the harvest.

This year I am off to Algonquin park for a canoe portage trip with the kids! I will take the time to appreciate some of the successes of our MiVIP program and this blog over the long weekend.

Thanks for being a part of it!

Listen to Dem Bones by the famous Delta Rhythm Boys

… and I’ll see you in the blogosphere.

Pascal Tyrrell

Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games… Here I Come!

Wondering where I have been? Well I have been busy volunteering at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games! That’s where. 


And next month I will be volunteering at the Parapan Am Games.


Want to know more of my journey? See below:


Oakville resident volunteering at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games
OAKVILLE – When it was time for Pascal Tyrrell to apply for a Pan Am Games volunteer position, he didn’t think twice.

Read more: http://m.insidehalton.com/pan-am-games-story/5735395-oakville-resident-volunteering-at-the-toronto-2015-pan-am-games

Thanks for waiting for me…

See you in the blogosphere,

Pascal Tyrrell

MiCUP… Runneth Over?

An interesting quotation from the Hebrew bible. Basically it means that I have sufficient for my needs and I am good with that. So, where am I going with this you ask? Well, let me introduce you to my program MiCUP – Medical imaging Collaborative Undergraduate Program. 


The goal of the program is to bring together students from the faculty of Arts and Sciences and my faculty (Medicine) to learn about medical research in the world of medical imaging. I have a sprinkling of students every term from various programs such as Research Opportunity Program, Independent Studies, Youth Study Program, and MiVIP. It is only a modest number of students BUT provides ample brain power to get some really cool research done. My cup certainly runneth over. 


Have a look below at the timelines from my two recent ROP students.


Great work Kevin and Sylvia!!!




See you in the blogosphere,


Pascal Tyrrell



Kevin Chen ROP F/W 2014

Sylvia Urbanik F/W 2014

MRA Is More Cost-Effective than the Current Strategy for Testing > 70% Carotid Stenosis

ROP Research Forum March 5th, 2015 – Kevin Chen





Kevin Chen is a 2nd year research opportunity program student studying neuroscience and
physiology in the University of Toronto Life Sciences Program. His main goal is to get into
medical school and to enjoy the UofT experience as much as possible!

Kevin’s ROP project consisted
of cost effectiveness analysis modeling to explore whether MRA could be a
cost-effective measure in testing and treating patients with carotid stenosis.
Preliminary results showed that in a subset of the population at risk for
carotid stenosis (> 70 %), MRA was dominant over the current strategy of testing with
Doppler Ultrasound. By reducing MRA scan time and by tailoring MRA sequences we believe it possible to extend these findings to include a larger sub-population (> 50 %). More to follow…

Well done, Kevin!

See you in the blogosphere,

Pascal Tyrrell