CRANIA
Learn more about CRANIA

ABOUT

CRANIA brings together research, clinical and academic expertise across multiple disciplines, in an environment with broad access to patients in a World-class Center for Research, Development, Application and Commercialization of Neuromodulation Technologies and Interventions in Toronto.

We are set-up to be fully integrated and first-to-clinic for neuromodulation therapies that can positively impact patients in the next 5 years.

Our Mission

To accelerate the translation of neuromodulation research to patient solutions that improve brain health and function.

Our Vision

The potential of every individual’s brain is unlocked for better quality of life.

Mesage from Directors

On behalf of our entire team, we are delighted to welcome you to the CenteR for Advancing Neurotechnological Innovation to Application (CRANIA). CRANIA brings together research, clinical and academic expertise across multiple disciplines. Our World-Class Center is located in downtown Toronto, in an environment with broad access to patients. Our host institutions and partners are the University Health Network (UHN) and University of Toronto.

Our mission is to accelerate the translation of neuromodulation research to patient solutions that improve brain health and function. We are home to 60+ scientists, and 30+ trainees who are dedicated to improving the lives of our patients and generating new neurotechnology.

At CRANIA, we partner with leading institutions and companies to integrate therapies that positively impact patients’ lives. If you would like to work with us, please contact us directly at info@crania.ca.

We invite you to take a tour of our website and encourage any feedback that will help us understand how we can continue to improve the lives of others.

Sincerely,

Dr. Milos R. Popovic and Taufik Valiante
Co-Directors, CRANIA

Devices R&D – Electrodes & Coatings

Leads
A. Guenther (Mechanical and Industry Engineering, University of Toronto)
P. Santerre (Faculty of Dentistry)
Activities

Manufacture electrodes that are fully customizable, biocompatible, collagen-based, with the option of being biodegradable and that minimize magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) artifacts; thus, overcoming limitations of existing electrodes and extending their useful life.

Location

University of Toronto, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Dentistry

Equipment

Clean room tools for collagen electrode manufacturing and testing: Electrode surface coating development and testing (Laser Cutter, Maskless writer, High vacuum evaporator) and Collagen electrode development and testing equipment

Devices R&D – Electronics

Leads
R. Genov (Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Toronto)
Activities

Develop a next generation implantable device that integrates electrodes from Core A with a wireless monitoring and communication system. Brain activity signals and other inputs will be processed and used, in real time, by the device to stimulate the brain (eg, deliver neuromodulation therapy) in a responsive manner via accurately implanted electrodes.

Location

University of Toronto, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

Equipment

Digital components and tools for building circuits and sensors: Wireless Sensor and Stimulator Development, Custom Designed Integrated Circuits, Digital Components, Printed Circuit Board Router, Implantable Sensor Development, Characterization and Validation, Development of Miniaturised Optical Sensors for Diagnostics.

Neuromodulation Suite

Leads
S. Kalia (Neurosurgery) T. Krings (Joint Department of Medical Imaging) G. Zadeh (Neurosurgery)
Activities

Develop, in collaboration with industry, advanced imaging, electrophysiological measurement and surgical navigation technologies to identify and target specific brain regions associated with disease in grey/white matter with unparalleled accuracy and precision.

Location

Toronto Western Hospital – University Health Network

Equipment

Low field strength (0.5T) MRI, robotic placement of electrodes, novel registration technologies, surgical\physiological targeting and navigation systems.

Technology Validation – Animal Models

Leads
L. Zhang (Krembil Research Institute) J. Zariffa (Toronto Rehabilitation Institute)
Activities

Validate technologies from Cores A, B, and C in appropriate animal models. Technologies to be tested include: the wireless communication systems, implantable stimulators, implantable electrodes, connectors, sensors, closed-loop control strategies, coatings and other components of the implantable neuromodulation systems.

Location

Toronto Western Hospital – University Health Network

Equipment

Animal electrophysiological measurement and stereotaxic surgical systems.

Technology Validation – Animal Models

Leads
R. Wennberg (Neurology) A. Fasano (Neurology) C. Marquez Chin (Toronto Rehabilitation Institute)
Activities

Clinical testing of closed loop algorithms, chips, and stimulation protocols with real time physiological/behavioral/cognitive assessments in healthy individuals and those with neurological conditions (Epilepsy, Parkinsons’s etc). Test bed for the development of closed-loop neuromodulation strategies.

Location

Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital Movement Disorders Lab, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute REL (Lyndhurst)

Equipment

Research EMU amplifier system, Real-time gait analysis, EEG assessment systems, Neurological assessment system, Electrical stimulator, Optical kinematic, CRANIA lab renovations.

High Performance Computing (HPC)

Leads
C. Virtanen (University Health Network) N. Koudas (University of Toronto) A. Sheikholeslami (Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Toronto) S. Hill (Krembil Research Institute)
Activities

Robust HPC infrastructure is required to collect, standardize and perform data analytics. Additionally, the UHN HPC4Health team will work with CRANIA to facilitate the necessary network interconnects to transfer pre-processed data gathered from sensor streams and other sources to HPC4Health. Application of Fujitsu’s Digital Annealer to neuromodulation.

Location

University Health Network

Equipment

Computers and software.

Established Neuromodulation Therapies

WHAT IS NEUROMODULATION?

NEUROMODULATION changes brain, spinal cord or nerve function using advanced device(s) that interface with specific areas of the central or peripheral nervous system to reduce symptoms and address underlying disorder(s).

Improves voluntary control of upper limbs following stroke and spinal cord injury.

Reduces motor symptoms of conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease.

Reduces seizure burden by sending pulses of electrical energy to the brain.

Improves voluntary control of upper limbs following stroke and spinal cord injury.

Reduces motor symptoms of conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease.

Reduces seizure burden by sending pulses of electrical energy to the brain.

Our projects

Recent Projects

MyndMove

Toronto Rehab researcher Naaz Desai explains how MyndMove, a technology developed at UHN and now commercially available in North America, helps restore function for people suffering from upper-limb paralysis.

CRANIA M-gait Lab

Dr. Alfonso Fasano explains how CRANIA's new gait analysis lab at Toronto Western Hospital uses immersive lab technology to help patients with Parkinson's disease. The project is a product of close collaboration between researchers at the Krembil Brain Institute and the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

FES at UHN

The future of rehab is closer than you think. Researchers at Toronto Rehab are working with industry partners like Myant to develop garments that can helps restore function for patients with spinal cord injury.

Why He Studies Epilepsy

Dr. Taufik Valiante established a state-of-the-art Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at Toronto Western Hospital, significantly increasing surgical services to those with medically refractory epilepsy in Ontario.

Brain Disorders

Neurological disorders

4
M

Living with a neurological condition/injury

7
M

Experience mental illness or addiction in any given year

25
%

Burden of global disease

10
%

Neurological Disorders

Our Experts

Operations Team

Milos Popovic

Milos Popovic

Co-Director/Founder

Taufik Valiante

Taufik Valiante

Co-Director/Founder

Nefeteria Wickham

Nefeteria Wickham

Associate Director, Operations & Academics

Stephanie Iwasa

Stephanie Iwasa

Staff Scientist & Project Manager

UHN’s Krembil Brain Institute on leading neuroscience and technology initiatives to treat epilepsy proactively

With new devices, research and innovations, the Krembil Brain Institute has become a leader in the science and practice of neuromodulatory procedures

Diane Peters - Sep 7, 2021

New implantable devices can treat a surprising range of neurological conditions

Pioneering research in neuromodulation at Toronto’s University Health Network is improving patients’ lives

Diane Peters - Oct 16, 2020

New centre at UHN pursues development of neurotechnologies that will improve brain health

Imagine: computer chips that are implanted in the brain to prevent memory loss, help stabilize mood and even stop an epileptic seizure. The Center for Advancing Neurological Innovation to Application—CRANIATM—ventures to turn these ideas of science fiction into a reality

Michael Chang UHN Trainee and ORT Times Writer
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