Associate Professor

Catherine Coolens

PhD, University of London

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
700 University Avenue, Rm 6-306, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1Z5
Research Interests
Biomedical Imaging, Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy, Cancer Mechanisms and Models, Image-Guided Therapy and Device Development

At a Glance

  • Quantitative Imaging for Personalised Cancer Medicine
  • Research spans full breadth of development and validation of functional imaging methods and representation of the tumor microenvironment
  • Pre-clinical and 3D-printing phantom development
  • CT/MRI/PET biomarkers of response to cancer treatment
  • Diseases studied include head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, CNS and liver cancers
  • We collaborate extensively with other labs, clinicians and clinician scientists

Short Bio

Catherine Coolens is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, Department of Radiation Oncology and a Staff Medical Physicist in the Radiation Medicine Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre – University Health Network. She received her PhD in Medical Radiation Physics under Steve Webb at the Institute of Cancer Research, University of London working on Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy optimization. She consequently obtained her board-certification and worked at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London (UK) where she worked on organ-motion tracking and gated imaging and therapy techniques. In 2008 she was recruited to Toronto where she started her own lab.

Research Synopsis

At Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Dr. Coolens and her team work on three main topics:

  1. Development and validation of functional imaging techniques for imaging of tumor micro-vascularity and radiation therapy response. This has been successful in dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) CT and MRI and is being further investigated for metabolic imaging using PET-MRI. The validation of these techniques in done in silico as well as through development of functional testing frameworks and 3D-printed biological phantoms.
  2. Pharmaco-kinetic and fluid dynamic modeling of solute transport to probe the tumor microenvironment and assess biological features such as tumor hypoxia and efficacy of drug delivery. This spans use of contrast agents for quantitative imaging as well as larger weight molecules used in immunotherapy and nanoparticle-based therapeutics.
  3. Clinical trials, focused on CNS and liver where the above techniques can be assessed for their prognostic ability to personalize cancer treatment and elucidate best management strategies based on early response assessment and tumor control evaluation.

Recent Publications

Google Scholar Search for Dr. Catherine Coolens.

  1. Huo M, Laperriere N, van Prooijen M, Shultz D, Coolens C, Hodaie M, Cusimano M, Gentili F, Zadeh G, Payne D, Schwartz M, Tsang DS. Efficacy of stereotactic radiosurgery for radiation-induced meningiomas. J Neurooncol. 2020 Apr 27. doi: 10.1007/s11060-020-03515-7. [Epub ahead of print] Coauthor or Collaborator [IF: 3.129]
  2. Li W, Gillan C, Carpino-Rocca C, Keller H, Laperriere N, Coolens C. A Multidisciplinary Approach to Implement Image-Guided Craniospinal Irradiation. J Med Imaging Radiat Sci. 2020 Mar 31. pii: S1939-8654(20)30015-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jmir.2020.0007. [Epub ahead of print] Senior Responsible Author. [IF: N/A]
  3. Ramotar M, Barnes S, Moraes F, Dasgupta A, Laperriere N, Millar BA, Berlin A, Conrad T, van Prooijen M, Damyanovich A, Heaton R, Cho YB, Coolens C, Liu G, Shepherd FA, Bradbury P, Leighl N, Bernstein M, Zadeh G, Kongkham P, Doherty M*, Shultz DB*. Neurological Death is Common in Patients with EGFR Mutant Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Diagnosed with Brain Metastases. Adv Radiat Oncol. 2019 Nov 19. Accepted. Coauthor or Collaborator [IF: N/A]
  4. Jones MP, Hruby G, Coolens C, Driscoll B, Kumar M, Capp A, Sridharan S, Stanwell P, Arm J, Gallagher S, Holder C, Oldmeadow C, Martin J. A Prospective, Multi-centre trial of Multi-parametric MRI as a Biomarker in Anal Carcinoma. Radiother Oncol. 2019 Nov 8;144:7-12. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2019.10.001. [Epub ahead of print] Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 942]
  5. Hou W, Lou J, Bu J, Chang E, Ding L, Valic M, Jeon HH, Charron D, Coolens C, Cui D, Chen J, Zheng G. Nanoemulsion with Porphyrin Shell for Cancer Theranostics. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2019 Oct 14;58(42):14974-14978. doi: 10.1002/anie.201908664. Epub 2019 Sep Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 12.102]
  6. Shukla-Dave A, Obuchowski NA, Chenevert TL, Jambawalikar S, Schwartz LH, Malyarenko D, Huang W, Noworolski SM, Young RJ, Shiroishi MS, Kim H, Coolens C, Laue H, Chung C, Rosen M, Boss M, Jackson EF. Quantitative imaging biomarkers alliance (QIBA) recommendations for improved precision of DWI and DCE-MRI derived biomarkers in multicenter oncology trials. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2019 Jun;49(7):e101-e121. doi: 10.1002/jmri.26518. Epub 2018 Nov 19. Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 3.083, CI: 2]
  7. Foltz W, Driscoll B, Lee S, Nayak K, Nallapareddy N, Fatemi A, Ménard C, Coolens C, Chung C. Phantom Validation of DCE-MRI Magnitude and Phase-Based Vascular Input Function Measurements. Tomography. 2019 Mar;5(1):77-89. doi: 10.18383/j.tom.2019.00001. Co-Senior Responsible Author. [IF: 2.1]
  8. Svistoun I, Driscoll B, Coolens C. Accuracy and Performance of Functional parameter estimation using a Novel Numerical Optimization Approach for GPU-Based Kinetic Compartmental Modeling. Tomography. 2019 Mar;5(1):209-219. doi: 10.18383/j.tom.20100048. Senior Responsible Author. [IF: 2.1]
  9. Winter JD, Moraes FY, Chung C, Coolens C. Detectability of radiation-induced changes in magnetic resonance biomarkers following stereotactic radiosurgery: A pilot study. PLoS One. 2018 Nov 26;13(11):e0207933. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207933. eCollection 2018. Senior Responsible Author. [IF: 2.806]
  10. Moraes FY, Winter J, Atenafu E, Dasgputa A, Raziee H, Coolens C, Millar BA, Laperriere N, Patel M, Bernstein M, Kongkham P, Zadeh G, Conrad T, Chung C, Berlin A, Shultz DB. Outcomes following SRS for small- to medium-sized brain metastases are exceptionally dependent upon tumor size and prescribed dose. Neuro Oncol. 2018 Sep 28. doi: 1093/neuonc/noy159. [Epub ahead of print] Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 9.384, CI: 1]
  11. Coolens C, Driscoll B, Foltz W, Svistoun I, Sinno N, Chung C. Unified platform for multimodal voxel-based analysis to evaluate tumour perfusion and diffusion characteristics before and after radiation treatment evaluated in metastatic brain cancer. Br J Radiol. 2018 Sep 20:20170461. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20170461. [Epub ahead of print] Principal Author. [IF: 1.814, CI: 1]
  12. Coolens C, Mohseni H, Dhody S, Ma S, Keller H, Jaffray DA. Quantification accuracy for dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE) CT imaging: phantom and quality assurance framework. Eur J Radiol. 2018 Sep;106(2018):192-198. Principal Author. [IF: 2.462]
  13. Low L, Ramadan S, Coolens C, Naguib HE. 3D Printing Complex Lattice Structures for Permeable Liver Phantom Fabrication. Bioprinting. 2018 Jun 18;11(2018):e00025. Co-Senior Resopnsible Author. [IF: N/A]
  14. Elhalawani E, Ger RB, Mohamed ASR, Awan MJ, Ding Y, Li K, Fave XJ, Beers AL, Driscoll B, Hormuth DA II, van Houdt PJ, He R, Zhou S, Mathieu KB, Li H, Coolens C, Chung C, Bankson JA, Huang W, Wang J, Sandulache VC, Lai SY, Howell RM, Stafford RJ, Yankeelov TE, van der Heide UA, Frank SJ, Barboriak DP, Hazle JD, Court LE, Kalpathy-Cramer J, Fuller CD l. Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Head and Neck Cancers. Sci Data. 2018 Feb 13;5:18008 doi: 10.1038/sdata.2018.8. Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 4.836]
  15. Ger RB, Mohamed ASR, Awan MJ, Ding Y, Li K, Fave XJ, Beers AL, Driscoll B, Elhalawani H, Hormuth DA 2nd, Houdt PJV, He R, Zhou S, Mathieu KB, Li H, Coolens C, Chung C, Bankson JA, Huang W, Wang J, Sandulache VC, Lai SY, Howell RM, Stafford RJ, Yankeelov TE, Heide UAV, Frank SJ, Barboriak DP, Hazle JD, Court LE, Kalpathy-Cramer J, Fuller CD. A Multi-Institutional Comparison of Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging Parameter Calculations. Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 11;7(1):11185. Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 4.259, CI: 6]
  16. Lan A, Naguib H, Coolens C. Development of a permeable phantom for Dynamic Contrast Enhanced (DCE-CT) quality assurance: material characterization and testing. Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express. 2017, Vol. 3 (2). Senior Responsible Author. [IF: 2.761, CI: 2]
  17. Han K, Croke J, Metser U, Foltz W, Xie J, Shek T, Driscoll B, Menard C, Vines D, Coolens C, Simeonov A, Beiki-Ardakani A, Leung E, Levin W, Fyles A, Milosevic M F. A Prospective Study of DWI, DCE-MRI and FDG PET Imaging for Target Delineation in Brachytherapy for Cervical Cancer. Radiotherapy and Oncology. 2016. Sep; 120(3):519-525. Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 4.817, CI: 14]
  18. Coolens C, Driscoll B, Moseley K, Brock KK, Dawson LA. Feasibility of 4D perfusion CT imaging for the assessment of liver treatment response following SBRT and sorafenib. Adv Radiat Oncol. 2016 Jul 1;1(3):194-203. doi: 10.1016/j.adro.2016.06.004. eCollection 2016 Jul-Sep. Principal Author. [IF: 2.466, CI: 8]
  19. Coolens C, Driscoll B, Foltz W, Pellow C, Menard C, Chung C. Comparison of Voxel-Wise Tumor Perfusion Changes Measured With Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced (DCE) MRI and Volumetric DCE CT in Patients With Metastatic Brain Cancer Treated with Radiosurgery. Tomography. 2016. Vol 2 (4); 325-333. Principal Author. [IF: 2.1, CI: 5]
  20. Swaminath A., Knox J.J., Brierley, J.D., Dinniwell, R., Wong, R., Kassam, Z., Kim, J., Coolens, C., Brock, K.K., Dawson L.A. Changes in Liver Volume Observed Following Sorafenib and Liver Radiotherapy. International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics. 2015 Dec 16;94(4):729-737. Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 4.258, CI: 6]
  21. Jaffray D.A., Chung C., Coolens C, Foltz W., Keller H., Menard C., Milosevic M., Publicover J., Yeung I. Quantitative Imaging for Radiation Oncology. Seminars in Radiation Oncology. 2015 Oct;25(4):292-304. Impact Factor 4.312. Co-Principal Author. [IF: 3.556, CI: 2]
  22. Coolens C, Driscoll B, Chung C, Gorjizadeh A, Shek T, Menard C, Jaffray DA. Automated Voxel-based Analysis of Volumetric Dynamic-Enhanced CT data improves measurement of serial changes in tumor vascular biomarkers. International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics. 2015 Jan;91(1):48-57. Available from: DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2014.09.028. Principal Author. [IF: 4.258, CI: 5]
  23. Mera Iglesias M., Aramburu Nunez D., del Olmo Claudio JL., Lopez Medina A., Landesa I., Salvador Gomez F., Driscoll B, Coolens C., Alba Castro JL., Munoz V.M. Multimodality functional imaging in radiation therapy planning: relationships between DCE-MRI parameters, ADC and SUV. Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine. 2014 Nov(1). Available from: DOI:10.1155/2015/103843. Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 0.677, CI: 3]
  24. Barfett, J. J., Velauthapillai, N., Fierstra, J., Crawley, A., Coolens, C., Crean, A., Jaskolka, J., Dufort, P., Krings, T., Mikulis, D. Intra-vascular blood velocity and volumetric flow rate calculated from dynamic 4D CT angiography using a time of flight technique. Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 Oct;30(7):1383-92. Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 2.322, CI: 3]
  25. Charpentier AM, Conrad T, Sykes J, Ng A, Zhou R, Parent A, Coolens C, Tsang R, Gospodarowicz M, Sun A, Hodgson D. Active breathing control for patients receiving mediastinal radiation therapy for lymphoma: Impact on normal tissue dose. Practical Radiation Oncology. 2014 May;4(3):174-180. Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 0.93, CI: 8]
  26. Peladeau-Pigeon M, Coolens C. Computational Fluid Dynamics Validation of Perfusion Measurements in Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Computed Tomography: Development and Clinical Applications. Physics in Medicine and Biology. 2013 Aug 14;58:6111-6131. Senior Responsible Author. [IF: 2.761, CI: 2]
  27. Driscoll B, Keller H, Jaffray DA, Coolens C. Development of a Dynamic Quality Assurance Testing Protocol for Multi-Site Clinical Trial DCE-CT Accreditation. Medical Physics. 2013 Aug;40(8):081906. Senior Responsible Author. [IF: 2.635, CI: 9]
  28. Coolens, C, Bracken, J, Driscoll, B, Hope A, Jaffray, DA. Dynamic Volume vs. Respiratory Correlated 4D CT for Motion Assessment in Radiation Therapy Simulation. Med Phys. 2012 May;39(5):2669-2681. Principal Author. [IF: 2.635, CI: 20]
  29. Driscoll, B, Keller, H, Coolens, C. Development of a dynamic flow imaging phantom for dynamic contrast-enhanced CT. Med Phys. 2011 Aug;38(8):4866-4880. Senior Responsible Author. [IF: 2.635, CI: 20]
  30. Coolens C, Dawson LA. Imaging for liver cancer radiation therapy planning, delivery and monitoring. Imaging in Medicine. 2010 Feb;2(1):29-39. Co-Principal Author. [IF: 1.31, CI: 2]
  31. Coolens C, Breen S, Purdie T, Owrangi A, Publicover J, Bartolac S, Jaffray D. Implementation and characterization of a 320-slice volumetric CT scanner for simulation in Radiation Oncology. Medical Physics. 2009 Nov;36(11):5120-5127. Principal Author. [IF: 2.635, CI: 25]
  32. White MJ, Atkinson D, Melbourne A, Collins DJ, Coolens C, Hawkins M, Leach, D.J. Hawkes MO. Motion artifact correction in free-breathing abdominal MRI using overlapping parital samples to recover image deformations. Magnetic Res Med. 2009 Aug;62(2):440-449. Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 3.782, CI: 17]
  33. Coolens C, Webb S, Nishioka K, Shirato H, Evans PM. A margin model to account for respiration-induced tumour motion and its variability. Phys Med Biol. 2008 Aug;53(16):4317-4330. Principal Author. [IF: 2.761, CI: 25]
  34. Bazalova M, Coolens C, Cury F, Childs P, Beaulieu L, Verhaegen F. Monte Carlo dose calculation for phantoms with hip prostheses. J Phys: Conf Ser. 2008 Apr;102(1):012001. Coauthor or Collaborator. [IF: 0.45, CI: 7]
  35. Coolens C, Evans PM, Seco J, Webb S, Blackall JM, Rietzel E, Chen GTY. The susceptibility of IMRT dose distributions to intra-fraction organ motion: an investigation into smoothing filters derived from four dimensional computed tomography data. Med Phys. 2006 Aug;33(8):2809-2818. Principal Author. [IF: 2.635, CI: 32]
  36. Evans PM, Coolens C, Nioutsikou E. Effects of averaging over motion and the resulting systematic errors in radiation therapy. Phys Med Biol. 2005 Jan;51(1):N1-7. Co-Principal Author. [IF: 2.761, CI: 22]
  37. Coolens C, Evans PM, Webb S. Analysis of stochastic noise in Intensity-Modulated Beams. Phys Med Biol. 2004 Sep;49(17):3857-3875. Principal Author. [IF: 2.761, CI: 2]
  38. Coolens C, Childs P. Calibration of CT Hounsfield units for radiotherapy treatment planning of patients with metallic hip prostheses: The use of the extended CT-scale. Phys Med Biol. 2003 Jun;48(11):1591-1603. Principal Author. [IF: 2.761, CI: 77]
  39. Coolens C, Webb S, Evans PM. Combinational use of conformal and intensity modulated beams in radiotherapy planning. Phys Med Biol. 2003 Jun;48(12):1795-1807. Principal Author. [IF: 2.761, CI: 4]