Andre Longtin alongtin at uottawa.ca
Thu Jun 5 22:53:24 CEST 2014

We seek a postdoctoral candidate to work on MRI image analysis and modeling of spinal cord injury. The candidate would be put forth for the Rick Hansen Fellowship described below. The successful translation of spinal cord repair therapies from animal models to the clinic requires an improved understanding of the injured motor and sensory tracts in humans. While histological tract tracing in animals can delineate the specific injured tracts and allow for therapy evaluation, these tracing methods cannot be applied to patients. Conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques allow spinal cord injury to be imaged; however they do not permit clinicians to reliably determine motor or sensory function. This limitation is due to the fact that conventional MRI imaging results are known to have poor correlation patient motor or sensory tract injury.

Our objective is to develop an MRI technique that utilizes techniques such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), tractography and functional MRI imaging techniques as a biomarker. This will permit more detailed imaging of the spinal cord and allow improved correlation with neurological function. These improved imaging techniques can then be developed to improve correlation with patient clinical function which can then be used to improve the development and selection of successful therapeutic repair strategies in humans with spinal cord injury.

The research consists in developing MRI imaging techniques such as DTI, tractography and functional MRI measures as a stand alone or complementary biomarker that correlates with specific motor or sensory tract function in humans. A large DTI dataset has been compiled from a variety of human spinal cord lesions. The candidate will quantify the level of damage and relate it through modeling and statistical analysis to the observed clinical scores. The DTI and tractography analyses will then be optimized to produce a strong biomarker. The candidate must hold a PhD degree in a relevant field, and will be co-supervised by a team of three investigators: Eve Tsai, a spinal cord neurosurgeon at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine; Andre Longtin, Physics and Medicine, University of Ottawa, a specialist in neural modeling, and Ian Cameron, a senior MRI medical physicist at the OHRI and University of Ottawa. Ideally the candidate would be able to start as soon as possible after receipt of a positive answer (typically within a month or two of being nominated), and no later than December 1st 2014. Applications consisting of a CV should be submitted to alongtin at uottawa.ca<mailto:alongtin at uottawa.ca> before June 25 2014 in time for submission of the file of the selected candidate to the Rick Hansen Institute.


The Rick Hansen Institute is a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization committed to accelerating the translation of discoveries and best practices into improved treatments for people with spinal cord injuries. Their mission is to lead collaboration across the global SCI community by providing resources, infrastructure and knowledge, and to identify, develop, validate and accelerate the translation of evidence and best practices to reduce the incidence and severity of paralysis after SCI, improve health care outcomes, reduce long-term costs, and improve the quality of life for  those living with SCI.
Award a fellowship to a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Medicine whose research is primarily focused on knowledge transfer and/or implementation sciences related to spinal cord injury (SCI).
The recipient would have an opportunity to participate in the various knowledge transfer-related projects currently funded by the Rick Hansen Institute and its SCI partners.
Eligibility Criteria
The applicant must:
1.             be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident, a person with the protected/refugee status, or an international student ;
2.             intend to register as a postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ottawa
3.      be within 4 years of completing a PhD in knowledge transfer, implementation science, spinal cord injury or a related field; and
4.            propose a program of research that is primarily focused on knowledge transfer and/or implementation sciences related to spinal cord injury (SCI).
Note: The awarding of the fellowship is conditional to the recipient’s registration as a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Medicine, through the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (as per the FGPS policy on postdoctoral appointments - http://www.grad.uottawa.ca/Default.aspx?tabid=1412).

Value of the fellowship:             $75,000 CAN per year
Number of fellowships:             1
Frequency of awarding:             For one year, with possibility of renewal for a second year
Level or program of study:             Postdoctoral
Application contact:                   Graduate Studies Office, Faculty of Medicine
Application deadline:                 June 30, 2014
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