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The Canadian Neonatal Brain Platform

Principal Investigator:
  • Gregory Lodygensky, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre
Team Members:
  • Steven Miller, The Hospital For Sick Children
  • Tim Oberlander, BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre
  • Lionel Carmant, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center
  • Thuy Mai Luu, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre
  • Adam Kirton, Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute
  • Anne Synnes, BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre
  • Margot Taylor, The Hospital For Sick Children
  • Ruth Grunau, Child & Family Research Institute
  • Pierre Bellec , Université de Montreal 
  • Hilary Whyte, The Hospital For Sick Children
  • Julie Gosselin, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre
  • Child & Family Research Institute
  • CHU Ste Justine Foundation
  • Hospital for Sick Children

Project Overview

The mission of the Canadian Neonatal Brain Platform is to provide breakthroughs in robust imaging biomarkers of brain injury, clear identification of causal factors, develop efficient strategies to promote brain development and plasticity and create a framework to support large randomized trials involving non-invasive approaches and to enhance partnership with key knowledge users such as families. One of our primary goals is that every MRI acquired clinically in newborns included in the CNN and CNFUN will be uploaded into our database. Gathering neuroimaging data using common protocols across the country to constitute a single large database will allow the development of robust new pipelines of analysis that can be further validated. Rarely occurring types of brain abnormalities documented through MRI will be better studied if brought together through a national high-quality database. Identification of early imaging biomarkers predictive of neurodevelopmental outcomes will complement the clinician’s diagnostic arsenal – including neurological examination – to improve follow-up care. Furthermore, understanding the beneficial or toxic effects of specific practices in the NICU on brain development, defining windows of higher vulnerabilities, but also opportunities for recovery, will lay strong pathophysiologic foundations to design new neuroprotective strategies for preterm and term born infants at risk.

The research excellence, the state-of-the-art technologies and the multidisciplinary nature of our platform will provide an exceptional mentoring and training environment, especially for the next generation of clinicians/scientists. By building a coherent team of the leaders in the field and establishing a world-first state-of-the-art platform to prevent and minimize the impact of brain injury in the newborn, we expect our work to have major health and socioeconomic impacts in Canada.