Quantifying optical brain activity using a custom imaging system from QImaging: a customer interview

Quantifying brain activity through optical imaging has the potential to change the way the biomedical community treats neurological disorders and brain injuries. Dr. Ofer Levi, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, is setting out to prove that with the right technology and team, real-time, dual modality brain mapping using a single system is possible. In this Q&A, Dr. Levi discusses his novel setup and how together with QImaging, he is making his research accessible to others.

Q: what are your primary research objectives?

Dr. Levi: My team and I are focusing on biomedical sensing and imaging using photonics tools including cameras, lasers and optics to realize imaging solutions that can be used for biomedical applications.

Q: How does your dual modality approach change the landscape for current ischemia imaging techniques?

Dr. Levi: Scientists have relied on high-end back illuminated optical imaging to measure oxygenation dynamics for the past 20 years. For this type of experiment to be successful, you need a light source that behaves like a very quiet lamp, as lasers are typically too noisy for this type of measurement. However, to create a map for brain blood flow, a separate measurement using a laser must be taken. Conducting both measurements requires an additional set-up. While some institutes have used equivalent cameras in terms of price and features, they have not been able to achieve as strong results. For those institutes still using high-end, back-illuminated cameras, they are only able to image oxygenation.

Q: Why did you choose to collaborate with QImaging for your research?

Dr. Levi: We chose to work with QImaging for two main reasons: their technical expertise and knowledge of the application. Because they specialize in biomedical imaging, they could better understand our needs. To this end, the QImaging team worked closely with us to fully understand our unique imaging needs. They were committed to ensuring that we selected and implemented the appropriate camera to support our goals of producing results using our specific light source. Working with them has been absolutely fabulous!

Q: What applications will this system be used for in the future?

Dr. Levi: One of our objectives is to create an instrument that can be used for clinical use in patients. Currently, it takes six to 12 weeks to measure brain activity after a treatment is given. With our research, we hope to provide real time feedback on the effect of a treatment by detecting changes in the brain within a day instead of weeks. This rapid feedback will improve R&D efforts for personalized medicine drug developers and will allow physicians to alter treatment instantaneously.



You can read the full interview here;


You can also download the pdf here

Or, if you prefer, you can watch the video here

You can read Dr. Levi’s published articles and that of many others who have advanced their research with imaging systems from QImaging here;