Damien Pike receives international research prize from the Radiological Society of North America

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Damien Pike, PhD Candidate, Medical Biophysics, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, has received an international research prize from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Each year the RSNA awards the Trainee Research Prize (Physics) to recognize 20 research trainees and their outstanding scientific contribution to imaging research. The award is the highest honour for a physics trainee at the RSNA annual meeting and is presented to the author of the best paper submitted for oral scientific presentation in a specific subcategory.

Pike, who has just completed his first year of his PhD studies, is undertaking his work in the imaging labs at Robarts Research Institute under the supervision of Dr. Grace Parraga. Proud of the honour, Pike shares this success with the team around him. "It's an honour for our research to be recognized internationally. This work is really a team effort so I'm happy to share it with my co-workers at Robarts and UBC."

Pike's award winning abstract is entitled "Are Hyperpolarized 3He Magnetic Resonance Imaging Ventilation Defects Clinically Relevant in Ex-smokers without Airflow Limitation?"

When asked to share more details about his abstract, Pike explained "In this work we ask the questions: Do very small changes or abnormalities in the lung matter in ex-smokers who are healthy without lung function abnormalities? Can we develop and use chest imaging methods to detect early signs of trouble that is yet to come?"

In this study they used a novel inhaled gas contrast and magnetic resonance imaging to measure where inhaled gases go and computed tomography to measure airway sizes. They found that in otherwise healthy ex-smokers with normal lung function measured using conventional breathing tests, there were signs of very early lung structural and functional abnormalities. They also noted that these patients also reported breathlessness and other lung disease symptoms that are the hallmark of obstructive lung disease, and that had previously been unnoticed.

Co - authors on the paper included: Miranda Kirby, Sarah Svenningsen, Harvey O Coxson, Dave G McCormack and Grace Parraga