Graduate Collaborative Program in Molecular Imaging

Participating Faculties: Science and Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry (Host)

Project Leader: Savita Dhanvantari

Total Project Funding:  $60,000

Funding Period: 3 years

The Collaborative Graduate Program in Molecular Imaging, when approved, will be the first program of its kind in Canada. It is unique in providing resources to teach and support a community of graduate students with interests in molecular and cell biology, chemical probe development and diagnostic imaging. Our aim is to train young scientists in a multidisciplinary environment who will go on to make significant advances in the discovery of new therapies of chronic diseases by the imaging of genes, molecules and cells in vivo.

Students in our Program will have the opportunity to work with multidisciplinary research teams with a wide range of expertise in molecular biology, synthetic and radiochemistry and medical imaging. We have researchers who are internationally recognized in their fields investigating the molecular and cellular processes of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and muscular dystrophy. We have an outstanding team of chemists who are developing probes for imaging using a number of modalities such as positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and fluorescence.  Finally, we have a stellar group of imaging scientists at the Lawson Health Research Institute and the Robarts Research Institute developing micro-imaging technologies for animal models of disease, with the potential to translate their technologies into the clinic.   

The proposed graduate education experience is designed to include: a course in Molecular Imaging, MBP 518A, hosted by the Department of Medical Biophysics; a monthly journal club at which both students and medical residents will present and discuss published articles of interest in the field; a seminar series with lectures from invited faculty both from and outside Western; and travel stipends to attend the annual conference of the Society of Molecular Imaging.

Through working with our research teams and participating in educational initiatives, our students will graduate with a broad and comprehensive expertise in the emerging new field of Molecular Imaging.