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Nancy L. Ford

BSc, PhD
Associate Professor
Director, Centre for High-Throughput Phenogenomics
Send an e-mail

Rm: Pharm Sci B211
Tel: 604-822-6641
Fax: 604-822-3562

Rm: Pharm Sci B210

Research Areas:

Micro-computed tomography, x-ray imaging, physiological gating, small animal imaging, image quality, CBCT

Teaching Areas:

Radiology, Graduate student research supervision

Dr. Ford completed her BSc in Chemical Physics in 1997 (University of Waterloo) and PhD in Medical Biophysics in 2005 (University of Western Ontario). Her research experience includes working as a Research Assistant in a Digital Mammography research group at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto ON, and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Imaging Research Labs at the Robarts Research Institute in London ON. From 2006 to 2011, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics at Ryerson University. Her research experience in the technical aspects of clinical and pre-clinical medical imaging (primarily x-ray) will enable multidisciplinary studies at the Centre for High-Throughput Phenogenomics. 
Specialization: Micro-computed tomography; x-ray imaging; physiological gating; image quality metrics; pre-clinical imaging; dental radiology; dental CBCT; synchrotron imaging 
Preclinical Research Projects: 
Micro-computed tomography is a 3D x-ray imaging technique for producing high-resolution images of rodent anatomy. We have developed techniques for synchronizing the imaging acquisition protocol to the respiratory and cardiac rates of rodents. Synchronizing the imaging protocol allows us to produce images of a specific phase in the respiratory or cardiac cycle, and can produce a series of images throughout the cycle. These images can be analyzed to quantitatively study the anatomy and function of the rodents' heart or lungs. 
My current research involves optimizing the image acquisition techniques for small animal imaging using micro-computed tomography. Current projects include: 
A) Contrast agent assessment for correlative imaging across different preclinical and specimen imaging modalities (micro-CT, optical projection tomography, etc.). 
We are developing techniques to image contrast media with different imaging modalities (x-ray and optical). Using a single contrast media will ensure that the same structures are highlighted in each of the images. 
Funding: NSERC Discovery Grant 
B) In Vivo monitoring of FLASH radiation therapy  
We are using micro-CT imaging and image-based analysis to monitor any changes in lung structure and function following FLASH radiation therapy treatments. This proof-of-concept study will determine if FLASH treatments have a reduction in healthy tissue damage. 
Funding: NFRF Exploration Grant 
Clinical Research Projects: 
I am also interested in optimizing image quality in clinical CT imaging studies. Current projects with clinical collaborators include image quality assessment and optimization of cone-beam CT for dental applications and dosimetry for panoramic imaging. My research team has measured the x-ray dose from a range of x-ray imaging modalities relevant to dentistry, including head CT, panoramic, and cone beam CT (large and small fields of view). We applied a new measurement metric (AAPM Report 111) to provide an accurate comparison between modalities, and found that the dose delivered in dental CBCT may be higher than previously reported. We have also developed phantoms to represent the child and adolescent populations and have quantified how much additional dose is imparted to these patients compared with adults during the same imaging procedure. We are characterizing the image quality achieved using different imaging settings for different models of dental CBCT machines. 
My current research involves optimizing the image acquisition techniques for dental cone-beam computed tomography. Current projects include: 
Calibration of dental CBCT images into HU. 
Multi-slice CT scanners in the hospital are calibrated so that images from all scanners produce images with similar properties, enabling the use of automated image processing algorithms. We are characterizing and calibrating dental CBCT units to provide images that are calibrated in the same way, enabling the dental profession to access a variety of validated tools for image segmentation and analysis. 
Available Positions: 
I am looking to accept students at the MSc, PhD or Postdoctoral level. Students may register in the Craniofacial Science program (Faculty of Dentistry), Experimental Medicine program (Faculty of Medicine), Biomedical Engineering (Faculty of Applied Science) or through the CAMPEP-accredited Medical Physics program (Faculty of Science). 
I also accept Biomedical Engineering students for BMEG 597 internships and strong undergraduate students for 4th year thesis projects, directed studies projects or paid positions (Work-Learn, Co-op, summer students). 
Selected Recent Publications (5 years): 
Books & Book Chapters: 
Handbook of Small Animal Imaging: Preclinical Imaging, Therapy, and Applications 
Edited by: George C. Kagadis, Nancy L. Ford, Dimitrios N. Karnabatidis, George K. Loudos; 2016; CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group 
Ford NL, Loudos GK, Karnabatidis D, Kagadis GC, “Chapter 1: Defining Small Animal Imaging, Therapy and Applications”.  
Ford NL, "Chapter 5: Micro-CT imaging".  
Ford NL, "Chapter 23: Performance Assessment of Small Animal Imaging Systems and Common Standards".  
Clinical Medical & Dental Imaging: 
Alawaji Y, MacDonald DS, Giannelis G, Ford NL, “Optimization of CBCT image quality in implant dentistry”, CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL DENTAL RESEARCH, (2018) 4(6):268-278; DOI:10.1002/cre2.141 
Mostafa NZ, Ruse ND, Ford NL, Carvalho RM, Wyatt CC, “Marginal fit of lithium disilicate crowns fabricated using conventional and digital methodology: a three-dimensional analysis”, JOURNAL OF PROSTHODONTICS (2018) 27(2):145-152; DOI: 10.1111/jopr.1265 
Li CL, Thakur Y, Ford NL, “Comparison between CTDI and the AAPM Report No. 111 methodology in adult, adolescent, and child head phantoms for MSCT and dental CBCT scanners”, JOURNAL OF MEDICAL IMAGING (2017) 4(3):031212; DOI: 10.1117/1.JMI.4.3.031212 
Wahid, M.A., E. Choi, D. MacDonald and N.L. Ford. “Dosimetry Analysis of Panoramic- Imaging Devices in Different-Sized Phantoms”, JOURNAL OF APPLIED CLINICAL MEDICAL PHYSICS (2017), 18(2):197-205; DOI: 10.1002/acm2.12059 
Schroeder, A., N.L. Ford, J. Coil, "Micro-Computed Tomography Analysis Of Post Space Preparation In Teeth Obturated With Carrier-Based Thermoplasticized Gutta Percha Techniques", INTERNATIONAL ENDODONTIC JOURNAL. (2017) 50(3): 293-302; DOI: 10.1111/iej.12618  
Sonya, D.A., J. Davies and N.L. Ford. "A comparison of CBCT image quality obtained with different fields of view, voxel spacing and angular sampling for iCAT NG", JOURNAL OF ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL RADIOLOGY (2016) 4(2):31-39. DOI: 10.4103/2321-3841.183821 
Mendelsohn, D., J. Strelzow, N. Dea, N.L. Ford, J. Batke, M. Dvorak, C. Fisher, J. Street, "Patient and Surgeon Radiation Exposure during Spinal Instrumentation using Intraoperative CT-Based Navigation", THE SPINE JOURNAL, (2016) 16(3):343-354. DOI: 10.1016/j.spinee.2015.11.020. 
Preclinical imaging: 
Bolaños LA, Xiao D, Ford NL, LeDue JM, Rhodin H, and Murphy TH, “3D virtual mouse-body generates synthetic training data for behavioral analysis”, NATURE METHODS, 18, 378–381(2021) https://doi.org/10.1038/s41592-021-01103-9 
El Ketara S, Ford NL, “Time Course Study of a Gold Nanoparticle Contrast Agent for use in Cardiac-gated Micro-CT Imaging in Mice”, BIOMEDICAL PHYSICS & ENGINEERING EXPRESS, (2020) https://doi.org/10.1088/2057-1976/ab8741 
Kozomara S, Ford NL, “Detectability of Fluorescent Gold Nanoparticles under Micro-CT and Optical Projection Tomography Imaging”, JOURNAL OF MEDICAL IMAGING, (2020) 7(2), 026002, DOI: 10.1117/1.JMI.7.2.026002.  
Ford NL, Tan S, Deman P, “An investigation of radiation damage in rat lungs following dual-energy micro-CT imaging”, BIOMEDICAL PHYSICS & ENGINEERING EXPRESS, 5(2):025005, (2019). DOI: 10.1088/2057-1976/aaf240 
Deman P, Tan S, Belev G, Samadi N, Martinson M, Chapman D, Ford NL, “Respiratory-gated KES imaging of rat model of acute lung injury”, JOURNAL OF SYNCHROTRON RADIATION (2017) 24(3), DOI: 10.1107/S160057751700193X 
Ford NL, McCaig L, Jeklin A, Lewis JF, Veldhuizen RAW, Holdsworth DW, Drangova M, “A respiratory-gated micro-CT comparison of respiratory patterns in free-breathing and mechanically ventilated rats”, PHYSIOLOGICAL REPORTS (2017) 5:2 DOI: 10.14814/phy2.13074 
Jaw JE, Tsuruta M, Suda K, Oh Y, Schipilow J, Hirano Y, Ngan DA, Suda K, Li Y, Oh JY, Tam S, Ford NL, van Eeden S, Wright J, Man SFP, Sin DD, "Inflammation with Lipopolysaccharide Causes Atheroma Destabilisation", EUROPEAN RESPIRATORY JOURNAL (2016) 48: 205-215. DOI: 10.1183/13993003.00972-2015  
Karimi, D., P. Deman, R.K. Ward, N.L. Ford, "A Sinogram Denoising Algorithm for Low-Dose Computed Tomography", BMC MEDICAL IMAGING (2016) 16:11 DOI: 10.1186/s12880-016-0112-5