2015 Consortia

Imaging Network Ontario (ImNO) is a group of interdisciplinary consortia focused on accelerating medical imaging innovation in Ontario. A list of ImNO consortia, their lead researchers and main sponsors can be found below. When applicable, links are provided to a consortium’s website. 

To view a list of ImNO investigators and their affiliations, click here.

Ontario Consortium in Imaging for Cardiovascular Therapeutics

Lead Researcher: Dr. Graham Wright

The Ontario Consortium in Imaging for Cardiovascular Therapeutics (OCICT) transforms the individual efforts of cardiac imaging expertise located at leading cardiac care institutions in Ottawa, London, and Toronto into a coordinated program that focuses on critical anatomic and functional information for assessment, treatment planning, and intervention monitoring of heart disease in patients of all ages.

With industrial partners, OCICT expands upon the established cardiac imaging industry in Ontario by developing integrated image acquisition, analysis, and interpretation tools for use by practicing clinicians.

Ontario Preclinical Imaging Consortium

Chair: Dr. Stuart Foster

Ontario Preclinical Imaging Consortium (OPIC) focuses on utilizing preclinical imaging technologies to evaluate novel treatment strategies, discover the origins of disease and assist in identifying new biomarkers in such applications as cancer, arthritis, and lung, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular disease. By utilizing small animal microimaging, researchers are better able to understand and predict human disease. In addition to helping drive treatments and therapies to the next level of clinical trials, OPIC research has promising potential for commercialization. 

Cancer Imaging Network of Ontario, Cancer Care Ontario

Coordinator: Dr. Jerry J. Battista
Sponsor: Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

The aim of Cancer Care Ontario’s Cancer Imaging Network of Ontario (CINO) is to build upon the foundation of cancer imaging by accelerating the development of molecular imaging, a field that is expected to have a major impact in cancer discovery and control.

CINO focuses on bringing together imaging researchers within the field of molecular imaging to support the development of physical and biological approaches in combination with training future Ontario imaging scientists, and by developing image informatics-related technology for image data access, exchange and research data mining across Ontario.

OICR Smarter Imaging Program

Program Director: Dr. Martin Yaffe
Co-director: Dr. Aaron Fenster
Sponsor: Ontario Institute of Cancer Research (OICR)

The goal of the OICR Smarter Imaging Program (OICR SIP) is to increase both the sensitivity (earlier detection) and specificity (more accurate diagnosis) of cancer imaging and to use information from images to help optimize selection of therapy to avoid over- or under-treatment of disease.

OICR SIP focuses on diagnosing and effectively treating cancer with imaging technology and probes that target biomarkers representing molecular, physical or functional changes associated with cancer. In conjunction with the Imaging Translation Program, OICR SIP develops and translates tools and techniques for earlier detection and diagnosis of cancer into clinical practices by exploiting recent advances in molecular biology, chemistry and physics.

OICR Imaging Translation Program

Program Director: Dr. Aaron Fenster
Co-director: Dr. Martin Yaffe
Sponsor: Ontario Institute of Cancer Research (OICR)

The OICR Imaging Translation Program (OICR ITP) accelerates the translation of research into the development of new imaging innovations for earlier cancer detection and diagnosis and treatment through four major projects; probe development and commercialization, medical imaging instrumentation and software, pathology validation, and imaging for clinical trials.

OICR ITP facilitates improved screening and treatment options for cancer patients by streamlining advances of medical imaging through the complex pipeline from discovery through clinical translation and ultimately to clinical use.

Canadian Atherosclerosis Imaging Network

Program Director: Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif
Training and Transfer Director: Dr. Richard Frayne

The Canadian Atherosclerosis Imaging Network (CAIN) focuses on the pathobiology of atherosclerotic disease pertaining to coronary and carotid circulation. Vascular imaging expertise and infrastructure in all major Canadian cities are linked in this novel multidisciplinary team to form a core clinical research network.

Patients are recruited from qualified sites nationwide to enable unique research into the vascular biology of atherosclerosis, imaging technology assessment and clinical vascular imaging. Cross-sectional and longitudinal clinical studies have established an international resource for studying the natural history, progression, regression, and novel therapeutic interventions aimed at atherosclerosis.

CAIN is a partner in the 2014 ImNO Symposium.

Medical Imaging Trial Network of Canada

Program Director: Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif
Training, Mentorship and Transfer Director: Dr. Richard Frayne

The central goal of Medical Imaging Trial Network of Canada (MITNEC) is to move innovations in imaging toward their broad application in clinical research and to facilitate the uptake of research outcomes into clinical practice and improved patient care.

MITNEC encompasses the three medical disciplines of oncology, cardiology and neurology, and their relevant cross-sectional processes such as immunology and inflammation. The Network’s first objective is to reduce our clinical reliance on technetium currently produced by nuclear reactors. Imaging trials will evaluate the clinical use of alternatives to technetium to detect bone metastases, determine response to chemotherapy in women with metastatic breast cancer, detect cardiac blood flow abnormalities and predict cognitive decline.

MITNEC is a partner in the 2014 ImNO Symposium. 


Program Director: Dr. Christopher Schlachta

Medical error accounts for a significant proportion of the cost of healthcare. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine estimated that the cost of medical error in the USA may be as high as $29 billion per year. Medical errors occur in 7.5% of admissions to Canadian hospitals. Medical errors are even more common in teaching hospitals (most of which occur with surgical services) as compared to community hospitals. Significant advances in surgery with the introduction of computer-assisted technologies are expected to reduce surgical errors and improve patient outcomes. These advances have enabled surgeons to develop minimally invasive surgical procedures (operations that can be performed through very small incisions) that have real medical benefits such as reduced suffering, shorter hospitalization times and faster healing. 

With this rapid pace of change and introduction of new technology comes the need to make significant advances in how surgeons are trained. Minimally invasive and computer-assisted surgery involves complex devices and new skill sets which the surgeon must learn on top of traditional surgical methods and instrumentation. Fortunately, the same technologies which are advancing surgical procedures can also be applied to advancing surgical training.

The usual method for surgical skills training is the age old: “see one, do one, teach one” apprenticeship model. Learning in this way on patients is uncontrolled, unpredictable and may potentially lead to a compromise in patient care quality. Indeed, with the need for hospitals to be more cost/time efficient, operating room (OR) teaching is diminishing even as its efficiency and cost effectiveness is questioned. 

CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics), London Health Sciences Centre, Lawson Health Research Institute, Robarts Research Institute, the University of Western Ontario (Western) and St. Joseph’s Health Care, all located in London, Ontario have joined with our industry partners to establish a platform to develop surgical simulation devices and training methods which will not only propel several projects developed by the University of Western Ontario and our Ontario-based industry partners but will provide a product development program for future simulation devices.

The projects fall within two related themes that harness the advantages of computer assisted technology: Theme 1: Simulation Training for Image-guided Surgery (such as ultrasound and x-rays) and Theme 2: Simulation Training for Endoscopic Surgery.  All projects will flow through a similar project development pipeline (the core groups).  The core groups are composed of experts in the areas of: simulation and medical devices, visualization (imaging), education, and testing that will provide a product development platform for the proposed projects as well as for future surgical simulation projects. Our experts will collaborate and contribute to the development of five initial simulation projects in orthopaedic surgery, heart surgery, general surgery, urology, cancer surgery and spinal anaesthesia.

The proposal brings together these physicists, engineers, computer scientists, clinician scientists and educators with major vendors in the medical imaging, device and simulation domains, as well as a computer gaming company, to translate our laboratory projects into technological leadership for Ontario.