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Conference Speakers

Conference Speakers, Bios, and Topics

Invited Speakers

Alan Evans

Alan Evans, Ph.D.   [show bio]

Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Biomedical Engineering

McGill University

Montreal Neurological Institute

McGill University

McGill Centre for Integrative Neuroscience

McGill University

Alan Evans is James McGill Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Biomedical Engineering at McGill University. Initially trained as a biophysicist (PhD 1978), studying the 3D folding patterns of protein structure and the binding of co-factors and substrates to enzymes, he joined Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) in 1984 and helped MNI become a leader in the field of PET research. As a founding member of the International Consortium for Brain Mapping (ICBM) and the director of the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre (BIC) during the 1990s, he has made numerous pioneering contributions to the world of population-neuroimaging. These contributions include the the first stereotaxic atlas (MNI152); the first cytoarchitectural atlas of the human brain (BigBrain); the first multidimensional medical imaging data format, and analysis and visualization toolsets for population-based brain imaging (MINC); the first web-based data management system for longitudinal studies of brain and behavior (LORIS); the first automated pipeline system for processing and quality control of clinical neuroimaging data (CIVET), and the first web-based platform for high-performance neuroinformatic computations (CBRAIN). His recent research focuses on integrating large cohorts of multimodal neuroimaging data to develop predictive models of neurodegenrative and neurodevelopment diseases.

Currently, he is the Director of McGill Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (MCIN) and the co-Director the Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health, using high-performance computing to integrate imaging, behavior, genetics and epigenetics in brain research. He sits on numerous NIH and CIHR advisory boards and maintains several national and international collaborations in national and global research initiatives such as the European Human Brain Project, ADNI, NIHPD, CCNA, IBIS, Prevent-AD, NeuroDevNet and many more.

Professor Evans is a global leader in computational neuroscience of neurodegenerative disease and neurodevelopment, and has mentored several leading neuroimaging scientists in Canada and around the world. He is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. Most recently, he received the Vezina Prize for Quebec Neuroradiology and the national Margolese Human Brain Disorders Prize and recognition as a Highly Cited Scientist (top 1%) for Neuroscience and Behavior (2014). In 2015, he became the Chair-Elect of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) and was inducted in to the Royal Society of Canada in recognition of outstanding achievement in his fields.

Topic:  Multimodal network modeling in neurodegeneration
[show abstract]

Late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) is a multi-factorial disorder, often associated with the propagation of the misfolded protein, beta amyloid (the amyloid hypothesis). We will describe a network-mediated model of beta-amyloid progression, using white matter connectivity as the network through which beta-amyloid is propagated throughout the brain. This epidemic spreading model (ESM, Iturria-Medina et al., 2014)) is a causal model of disease propagation based on beta-amyoloid. However, current models that define LOAD pathogenesis typically do not cover all biological factors influencing disease progression. Indeed, in the most cited LOAD model (Jack et al., 2013), a vascular dysregulation component is not included, despite it being a core mechanism in the disease. Therefore, we will also present a non-causal Multi-Factorial Data-Driven Analysis (MFDDA) (Iturria-Medina et al. 2016) to describe dynamic alterations in proteins, vascular, metabolic, functional and structural properties in LOAD. These flexible frameworks, ESM and MFDDA, provide a 4D spatiotemporal characterization of the multi-factorial LOAD abnormalities. In due course we propose to combine the two into a multi-factorial, causal model that will capture the majority of actors involved in LOAD progression.

Timothy J. Hall

Timothy J. Hall, Ph.D.   [show bio]

Department of Medical Physics

University of Wisconsin

Timothy J. Hall received his B.A. degree in physics from the University of Michigan–Flint in 1983. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in medical physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985 and 1988, respectively. From 1988 to 2002, he was in the Radiology Department at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where he worked on measurements of acoustic scattering in tissues and metrics of observer performance in ultrasound imaging, and developed elasticity imaging methods and phantoms for elasticity imaging. In 2003, he returned to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is a Professor in the Medical Physics Department. His research interests continue to center on developing new image formation strategies based on acoustic wave propagation and tissue viscoelasticity, the development of methods for system performance evaluation, and quantitative biomarker development.

Topic:  Quantitative imaging and image-based biomarkers in medicine
[show abstract]

The use of medical imaging in screening, diagnosis, and treatment monitoring is well-established. Imaging modalities continue to benefit from rapid development in technology and utility. Ultrasound imaging provides a great example of this. Standard (brightness-mode) ultrasound imaging presents the local magnitude of the echo signal, but in doing so, it discards a great deal of information. Alternatively, the relatively high spatial resolution and high frame rate acquisitions provided by ultrasound imaging allows rapid temporal sampling for blood flow imaging. More recently, that high spatial and temporal resolution has been applied to estimate the elastic properties of tissues. These imaging strategies are already commercially available. Other promising techniques will be presented. But, regardless of the image formation strategy, the paradigm of interpretation and expert opinion from subjective analysis is problematic. Promising approaches in medicine, such as "molecular (personalized) medicine", "evidence-based medicine", and "decision-support tools" (computer-aided diagnosis) all require numerical input instead of subjective statements of opinion. As a result, the Radiological Society of North America is leading an international effort called the "Quantitative Imaging Biomarker Alliance" (QIBA) which is an attempt to improve value and practicality of quantitative imaging biomarkers by reducing variability across devices, patients, and time thereby converting 'imaging systems' to 'measurement systems'. The intent is to identify image-based "biomarkers" that are objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biologic or pathogenic processes, or pharmacological responses to a therapeutic intervention. The chosen biomarkers are objectively measured, have demonstrated clinical utility, and known components of estimate variance. The crossroads between the advanced imaging strategies and the QIBA effort provide a fruitful area for advances in medical imaging.

Julie Hides

Julie Hides, Ph.D.   [show bio]

Centre for Musculoskeletal Research

Australian Catholic University

Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

Australian Catholic University

Prof Hides attended the University of Queensland, Australia, graduating from the School of Rehabilitation and Health Sciences (Bachelor of Physiotherapy) in 1986, Master of Physiotherapy studies in 1990 and PhD in 1996. She was a recipient of the prestigious Sir Robert Menzies Scholarship in Allied Health Sciences. She has worked at the Mater Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, as a physiotherapist and currently is the Clinical Director of the Mater/ ACU Back Stability Research Clinic and Director of the Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, Australian Catholic University. She is a titled musculoskeletal physiotherapist, became a fellow of Australian College of Physiotherapists in 2008, has held an academic position at the University of Queensland, and was Head of School, School of Physiotherapy, Australian Catholic University 2009-2014.

Prof Hides' research interests focus on clinical topics that are of direct use and impact on the community as a whole. Having predominantly studied those with low back pain, she has developed a method of treating people with this condition and has published this work extensively in international orthopaedic journals. She conducted and published a RCT which demonstrated the efficacy of the approach, and this research has been cited extensively and adopted worldwide. More recently, she and her team have adapted these novel assessment and treatment approaches to elite athletes, sports including Football, Cricket and Track and Field. Prof Hides is currently a member of a European Space Agency Topical Team, studying rehabilitation of astronauts post space flight.

Topic:  What do elite athletes, astronauts and LBP sufferers have in common
[show abstract]

Microgravity induces well documented changes in the neuromuscular system. The decreased stimulus experienced during exposure to microgravity causes certain muscles to atrophy and alters muscle morphology. Most of the muscle losses occur in anti-gravity muscles of the lower back, pelvis and lower limbs, with a predominance of effect on extensors over flexors throughout the body. Similar patterns of muscle imbalance also occur in response prolonged bed rest, where some muscles atrophy, but others such as the psoas, rectus abdominis and anterolateral abdominal muscles increase in size. Interesting parallels can be seen with other populations on Earth. Low back pain (LBP) is known to have wide-ranging effects on the neuromuscular system. In acute LBP, muscles such as the lumbar multifidus can decrease rapidly in size. In contrast, other trunk muscles may increase their activity, which may represent a strategy of the neural control system to stiffen the spine. In certain sports, training and skills required to perform the sports can lead to development of muscle imbalances. In sports which are flexor dominant in nature, the size of extensor muscles can decrease. Within a group of muscles, such as the anterolateral abdominal muscles, the effects may vary between different muscles, which have different roles and are controlled independently by the neural system. Rehabilitation of muscle imbalance using a motor control training approach has been implemented in athletes. Results showed decreased injury rates in footballers, commensurate with changes in lumbo-pelvic muscles seen in response to motor control training.

Wei Shen

Wei Shen, M.D., MPH   [show bio]

Assistant Professor of Nutritional Medicine,
Department of Medicine and Institute of Human Nutrition

College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University

Director, Image Analysis Laboratory

Columbia University

Associate Director, Human Phenotyping Core

Obesity Research Center

Dr. Wei Shen is an Assistant Professor of Nutritional Medicine, Department of Medicine and Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University, USA. She is the Director of the Image Analysis Lab and the Associate Director of the Body Composition Unit of the New York Obesity Research Center of Columbia University. She has been an NIH funded investigator since 2006 with a focus on MRI and CT imaging in the obesity field, with current R01 on the role of MRI measured organ size in adaptive thermogenesis. Her recent research interest is body composition and obesity in disease conditions. She has co-authored over 70 peer-reviewed papers and has collaborated with many investigators in applying imaging body composition methods in areas including obesity, diabetes, acromegaly, anorexia nervosa, cancer, Cushing's disease, non-steatosis hepatitis, premature adrenarche, idiopathic osteoporosis, HIV infection, polycystic ovary syndrome, spinal muscular atrophy, sarcopenia, and motor vehicle collision. As one of the leading central body composition analysis laboratories in the world, the Image Analysis Laboratory has completed national and international multi-center studies (i.e., funded by NIH or industry), consisting of the analysis of over 100,000 MRI, MRS, CT, and DXA scans.

Dr. Shen is a member of IEEE, Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, the Obesity Society, the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, and the International Society of Clinical Densitometry. She has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the UK Biobank Advisory Group (steering sub-committee) for body-fat imaging of ~100,000 subjects. Dr. Shen has received the Obesity Society 2012 Best Reviewer award for the journal Obesity and the Science Unbound Foundation 2005 Best Paper Award.

Topic:  Body composition imaging method in obesity research
[show abstract]

Imaging methods including 3-D photonic scan, Computed Tomography (CT), dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) are non-invasive methods for studying human body composition and its related physiological conditions. Without concerns of radiation, MRI and MRS is ideal for characterizing key aspects of obesity including its phenotype, severity, and treatment effects in vivo. Recent advances in MRI and MRS made it possible to quantify total body and regional adiposity, to map adipose tissue distribution, and to evaluate ectopic fat.

MRI and CT are also increasingly used in both clinical trials and clinical care. These images are used for diagnosis, disease staging, as well as treatment evaluation. Image measured obesity and body composition status might be used for evaluating improving disease outcomes. Obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases and obesity may interact with the underlying pathophysiology of different diseases. The digitalization and centralization of these images allowed for clarifying obesity related questions in various diseases. Imaging offers enormous opportunities in obesity care and prevention in diseases.

Pedro Antonio Valdes-Sosa

Pedro Antonio Valdes-Sosa, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc.   [show bio]

Director of Joint China-Cuba Laboratory for Frontier Research in Translational Neurotechnology

Program Committee Member of Organization for Human Brain Mapping OHBM

University of Electronic Science and Technology of China

General Vice-Director for Research Cuban Neuroscience Center

Senior Researcher, Senior Professor, Full Member Cuban Academy of Sciences

Distinguished Professor of Neuroinformatics at the Key Lab of Neuroinformation of Ministry of Education of China, School of Life Sciences and Technology, UESTC Chengdu

Prof. Pedro Valdes received his medical PhD degree from Havana University in 1971; three years later in 1974, he got his philosophical PhD degree from Cuban Neuroscience Center; in 2011 Cuban National Science Degree Council granted him Doctor in Science as a Lifetime Achievement Award (one out of every 300 PhD.) for his pioneering contribution to Quantitative electrophysiology.

Prof. Pedro has long been dedicated to the research in EEG and fMRI both in theory as well as methodology. He's contribution, such as the inverse solutions of LORETA and VARETA, have been recognized worldwide and he continues to make major advances in the field of multi-modal date integration with EEG, MEG, MRI and fMRI. His papers (more than 180 with H index of 42) have appeared in all of the major electrophysiological and neuroimaging journals. Besides, he is on the advisory board of numerous prestigious institutions around the world. He is an active council member within the Organization for Human Brian Mapping (OHBM) and he was an elected member of the Program Committee (2012-2014). He presided the XX Conference of the OHBM in Hamburg as Program Chair, with more than 4,000 delegates. In 2015, he has been awarded the title of "1000 talent foreign professor" by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, working in University of Electronic Science and Technology of China as a full professor, and he is also the director of the Joint China-Cuba Laboratory for Frontier Research in Translational Neurotechnology.

Topic:  Multimodal quantitative neuroimaging databases and methods: the Cuban human brain mapping project
[show abstract]

This presentations reviews the contributions of the Cuban Neuroscience Center to the evolution of the statistical parametric mapping (SPM) of quantitative Multimodal Neuroimages (qMN), from its inception to more recent work. Attention is limited to methods that compare individual qMN to normative databases (n/qMN). This evolution is described in three successive stages: (a) the development of one variant of normative topographical quantitative EEG (n/qEEG-top) which carries out statistical comparison of individual EEG spectral topographies with regard to a normative database--as part of the now popular SPM of brain descriptive parameters; (b) the development of n/qEEG tomography (n/qEEG-TOM), which employs brain electrical tomography (BET) to calculate voxelwise SPM maps of source spectral features with respect to a norm; (c) the development of a more general n/qMN by substituting EEG parameters with other neuroimaging descriptive parameters to obtain SPM maps. The study also describes the creation of Cuban normative databases, starting with the Cuban EEG database obtained in the early 90s, and more recently, the Cuban Human Brain Mapping Project (CHBMP). This project has created a 240 subject database of the normal Cuban population, obtained from a population-based random sample, comprising clinical, neuropsychological, EEG, MRI and SPECT data for the same subjects. Examples of clinical studies using qMN are given and, more importantly, receiver operator characteristics (ROC) analyses of the different developments document a sustained effort to assess the clinical usefulness of the techniques.

Kirsi A. Virtanen

Kirsi A. Virtanen, M.D., Ph.D.   [show bio]

Adjunct Professor/Docent,
Turku PET Centre

Academy Research Fellow

University of Turku

Adjunct professor Kirsi A. Virtanen (born 1965 in Lahti, Finland) is currently holding a 5-yr Academy Research Fellowship of Academy of Finland in Turku PET Centre, in Turku University Hospital. She graduated medical doctor studies from University of Turku, Faculty of Medicine in 1994 and finished her PhD on "Insulin-Stimulated Glucose Uptake in Adipose Tissue. Positron Emission Tomography Studies in Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes" in 2003. Main research interests are in adipose tissue including brown adipose tissue, and its role in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Clinical trial experience includes more than 30 short- and long-term clinical trials. Teaching experience consists of number of invited presentations in scientific congresses (e.g. ADA, ECO), symposia, workshops and postgraduate courses, as well as supervision of PhD thesis. Publication list consists of more than 40 original research papers, reviews and book chapters with > 2000 citations.

Topic:  Brown adipose tissue, a potential therapeutical target - what we have learned from imaging
[show abstract]

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) has an unique capacity for thermogenesis under specific stimuli, for example cold exposure. Cold induces activation of sympathetic nervous system which results in heat production mediated by uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) in BAT mitochondria.

Functional imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) combined with glucose analog 18F-FDG is used for the detection of functionally active BAT in humans. This noninvasive imaging technique provides information on tissue specific substrate utilization and in case of 18F-FDG is reflecting the activity of thermogenesis. Other PET tracers, such as perfusion tracer 15O-H2O or fatty acid tracer 18F-FTHA may be used as well.

In healthy adult humans, cold increases BAT glucose uptake 10-fold and BAT perfusion 2-fold when compared to thermoneutral situation in room temperature. Obviously, such an increase in glucose utilization may increase energy expenditure, and it has been estimated that functionally active BAT may burn energy as much as 3-4 kg white adipose tissue in a year. On the contrary, functional activity of BAT is clearly blunted in obesity. Therefore, activation of BAT may be potential target for the management of weight balance, and by increasing utilization of substrates in BAT may theoretically prevent development of type 2 diabetes.

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