The MacIntosh lab focuses on developing and translating vascular imaging tools and measures to advance our understanding of human brain disease. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a versatile medical imaging modality and we work on functional imaging to study neurovascular function, cerebral blood flow, and related aspects of brain physiology.
METHODS: Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL) MRI features prominently in our research activities. This technique produces non-invasive cerebral blood flow maps with spatial resolution that approaches the millimetre details of a conventional anatomical picture. Our ASL innovation includes image processing of individual scans, a pipeline to use these images in group analysis or multi-site trials, and additional ASL hemodynamic features (such as the arterial transit time and the spatial coefficient of variation). On-going efforts areusing deep learning to improve physiological MRI in radiology applications.
CLINICAL MOTIVATION: The lab works on major burden of disease where vascular and physiological imaging can play a role to help patient. Active areas of research include stroke, small vessel disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. The MacIntosh lab works closely with the Sunnybrook Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder (CYBD); with ASL it is possible to map cerebral blood flow without ionizing radiation, which is particularly important in the developing brain. We also use aerobic exercise interventions to study brain adaption and changes with aerobic fitness.
COLLABORATION: We focus on clinical translation and work closely with our Clinician-Scientist colleagues. The lab participates in numerous national and international initiatives (e.g. a national drug trial through the Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, an international LeDucq Foundation international network to study perivascular spaces in small vessel disease, international collaborationsto use imaging to study psychiatric, diabetes, and stroke.