PEOPLE

Dr. Mitchell S. Albert

Dr. Mitchell S. Albert

Lab Director, MRI Research Chair, Scientist

Dr. Mitchell Albert is a specialist in the field of hyperpolarized (HP) noble gas MRI. He is a co-inventer of this technology, and as a graduate student at Stony Brook University, demonstrated the first ever HP 129Xe MR imaging of the mouse lung. He was awarded a PhD in Physical Chemistry at Stony Brook University in 1993, and he joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1995. While at Harvard, he continued his research on HP gas MRI while simultaneously holding a research appointment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

In 2006, he moved to the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and was appointed Professor and Director of MRI Research. He brought together and led a multidisciplinary team of scientists in advanced MRI research. Dr. Albert joined TBRRI and Lakehead University in Spring 2011. The research focus of his group is on developing HP 3He and 129Xe MRI to image ventilation in the airways and alveoli of the lungs. In addition, his group has been i) developing the use of HP 129Xe MRI to image stroke, ii) planning to image brain injury using xenon bio-sensors in living animals, and iii) imaging breast tumours using specific anti-tumour antibodies. Dr. Albert received the 1999 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Clinton, and the NSF Career Award in 2001 for his work with HP gas MRI.

Education:
  • B.S. Experimental Psychology, State University of NY, Purchase, NY; 1985
  • Ph.D. Physical Chemistry, State University of NY, Stony Brook, NY; 1993
  • Postdoctoral Training, Research Fellow in Radiology, University Hospital at Stony Brook, NY; 1993-1994
Appointments and Affiliations:
  • Research Chair and Professor, Department of Chemistry, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON; 2011 – Present
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Physics, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON; 2011 – Present
  • Adjunct Professor, Biotechnology Program, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON; 2011 – Present
  • Instructor of Research in Radiology,University Hospital at Stony Brook, NY; 1994-1995
  • Instructor in Radiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; 1995-1997
  • Assistant Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; 1998-2004
  • Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; 2004-2006
  • Professor of Radiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA; 2006-2011
  • Director of MRI Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA; 2006-2011
Francis Hane

Dr. Francis T. Hane

BrightFocus Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Hane completed his PhD in Biophysics at the University of Waterloo in 2014 under the supervision of Professor Zoya Leonenko. Dr. Hane’s PhD research focused on the single molecule interactions of amyloid-beta the protein implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. Following his PhD, Dr. Hane joined the lab of Professor Mitchell S. Albert. Dr. Hane’s current research focuses on the development of hyperpolarized xenon gas-based MRI contrast agents.

In 2015 Dr. Hane was awarded a post doctoral fellowship from the BrightFocus foundation for the study of novel MRI contrast agent for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

Tao Li

Tao Li

Engineer

Tao Li received his BSc in Micro-Electronics and MSc in Micro- and Solid-State Electronics from Changchun University of Science and Technology in 2006 and 2009. He received his MSc.Eng in Electrical Engineering from Lakehead University in 2013. Li’s work in this lab focuses on the design and development of MRI RF coils and related RF/electronics systems for small animal and human studies, as well as polarizer development and 129Xe/2He hyperpolarized gas production.

Tao was awarded Lakehead University Staff Innovation in 2020.

Yurii Shepelytskyi

Graduate Student, PhD 

Yurii received his Masters of Physics with honor from Taras Schevchenko National University of Kyiv and is currently working on his PhD in Chemistry and Materials Science at Lakehead University. In the lab, Yurii is working on pulse sequence development, developing 129Xe brain imaging and 19F lung MRI improvement. In addition, Yurii is involved in synthesis of fluorinated biosensors and testing of the supramolecular 129Xe biosensor.

Yurii was recently awarded the President’s International Graduate Scholar Award.

Yurii was awarded the Ontario Graduate Scholarship in 2018.

Yurii was awarded Lakehead University Student Innovation in 2020.

Vira Grynko

Graduate Student, PhD

Vira received her MSc. with Honors from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and has a background in physical chemistry (heterogeneous catalysis). She is now at Lakehead University, studying for her PhD in Chemistry and Materials Science. She is working on the synthesis of fluorinated biosensors, computing potential Xe biosensors, and acquiring and analyzing BOLD fMRI. In addition, she is involved in the testing of supramolecular Xe biosensors and lung studies.

Vira is supported by Ontario Trillium Scholarship.

Martina Agostino

Research Assistant

Martina received her Master of Science in Biology and Honours Bachelor of Science in Applied Bio-Molecular Science from Lakehead University. Her previous research experience includes analyzing anticancer effects of lichen secondary metabolites on cancer cell lines, and evaluating the activation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from individuals with fibromyalgia before and after receiving radial shockwave therapy treatment. Currently, Martina manages and coordinates all aspects of the research studies done in the Albert lab involving imaging the human brain and lungs using hyperpolarized gases.

Skye Dusolt

LU Summer Work Program Research Assistant

Skye is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme graduate and is currently studying at Lakehead University for her undergraduate in Biology with concentration in Neuroscience.  In the lab, she works as a summer student taking part in various projects including hyperpolarized gas experiments in vivo on rat lungs and brains, and a personal project testing biosensor molecules in vitro.  In the future, Skye plans on pursuing a career as a Neuropsychiatrist.

Sarah Yeo 

NSERC USRA Summer Student Research Assistant

Sarah received her BSc from Lakehead University and is currently going into her 1st year of Medical School at the University of Ottawa. In the lab, she works on 19F-MRI biosensors for detecting Alzheimer’s Disease.

Camryn Newman

NSERC USRA Summer Student Research Assistant

Hi! My name is Camryn Newman and I have been a member of the Albert research group since 2018.  I will be entering my fourth year of Applied Life Sciences at Lakehead University in the fall. Over the past two years, I have worked on research projects involving the lung imaging gas contrast agent Octafluorocyclobutane, as well as blood-brain barrier permeability of certain molecules such as cucurbit[6]uril and pillar[5]arenes. Along with many other opportunities and experiences that I have gained while working in the Albert lab, I was lucky to be involved in the Summer School of Medical Imaging (SSMI).  The SSMI provided many interesting lectures as well as the year-end research competition, that I have participated in for the past two summers.

Sharon (Siyao) Yang 

NOHFC Research Assistant Intern

Sharon completed her Master of Science in Forestry and Honours Bachelor of Environmental Management from Lakehead University. Her previous research was focusing on urban green space management and she has experience using GIS mapping software. Her role in this lab is a research assistant intern. She is willing to assist people with their lab tasks.

Lutoslawa Mikowska

Exchange Student

Lutosława received her BSc and MSc. in Experimental Physics from Jagiellonian University in Cracow where she is completing her PhD in Physics. Focusing on experiment and hardware design of 129Xe SEOP Polarizer and optimizing polarization efficiency.  She is experienced in 3He MRI lung imaging. Currently, Lutosława is investigating interactions of 129Xe with blood components using 129Xe NMR spectroscopy.

Past Lab Members

Nikka Stoger: Research Assistant.

Alanna Wade:  HyperCEST MR Studies of Xenon-129 ( 129 Xe) Biosensors and MRI Detection of 129 Xe in the Brain.

Jennifer Plata:  Research Assistant.

Raiili Pellizzari: Research Assistant.

Dr. Marcus Couch: Inert and fluorinated gases in the lung. Now a Post Doc at Sick Kids Hospital.

Dr. Iain Ball: Worked on pulse sequence development. Now a Clinical Scientist at Philips.

Gowtham Gajawada: Worked on RF coil development.

Steven Engler: Worked on image analysis tools for volume measurements, heterogeneity, and image registration

Krista Dowhos: Worked on HyperCEST in vitro experiments. Third year medical school student. 

Chris Viel: Worked on 3He imaging in mouse lungs, and 19F imaging in inflammatory models 

Dr. Alexei Ouriadov: Worked on pulse sequence development and animal lung imaging

Dr. Matt Fox: Worked on 129Xe brain imaging

Dr. Karen Davenport: Worked on metabolic imaging of fluorinated compounds

Peter Smylie: Summer student. Worked on Matlab image processing scripts.

Julia Ruberto: Summer student.

Owen Bai