Initiate a Study

If you are a researcher seeking access to The Royal’s Brain Imaging Centre (BIC) to conduct a study, please read and follow the detailed steps below. 

Step 1: Participate in a feasibility assessment 

To initiate your study, you must first contact Katie Dinelle, BIC Facility Manager to discuss its feasibility. 

Together with our PET and MRI physicists, our PET-MRI technologist and IT staff, we will (where applicable):

  • Determine any additional hardware to be used (e.g. specific MRI coil, Swisstrace blood sampling system for PET)
  • Define the required MRI sequences and assess their availability
  • Discuss how to set up your fMRI task(s)
  • Discuss the PET tracer to be used
  • Assess your need for the simulation room
  • Determine any post-processing requirements
  • Discuss the acquisition of pilot data

Note: Pilot scans of imaging phantoms (PET/MR) or healthy control volunteers for protocol development (MRI only) may be completed before approval by the Utilization Committee. 
 

Step 2: Obtain study approval  

Approval of your project by the Brain Imaging Centre’s (BIC) Utilization Committee is required before your study can begin. 

Approval from the BIC Utilization Committee ensures that your research study is aligned with the scientific goals of the BIC, and that the facility has the capacity to take on your proposed project.

The process for submission to the BIC Utilization Committee is as follows:

  1. Submit a Letter of Presentation in support of your proposed imaging project to Katie Dinelle, BIC Facility Manager. 
     
  2. The BIC Facility Manager will confirm your availability for the upcoming Utilization Committee meeting (held once a month) and will submit your Letter of Presentation to the Utilization Committee Agenda. You must be available to support your application at this meeting.
     
  3. You will meet with the Utilization Committee on the scheduled date, and answer any questions they might have about your proposed project. 
     
  4. If the Utilization Committee approves your project, you will receive a Letter of Approval within one month of your meeting date. 
Step 3: Develop and pilot your imaging protocol 

Once your study has been approved by the Utilization Committee, you will work with the BIC team to develop and implement your imaging protocol on the scanner.  

Step 4: Complete a research services agreement

The BIC Facility Manager will prepare a research services agreement between the BIC and your home institution, for the imaging services to be provided. 

This agreement will be provided to you (or to the appropriate contact at your institution) for review and signature.

Note: Signed copies of these documents must be on file prior to scheduling your first imaging session.

Step 5: Obtain Research Ethics Board (REB) approval(s)

Approval by The Royal’s Research Ethics Board (REB) is required for all imaging studies using the Brain Imaging Centre (BIC). 

Depending on the affiliation(s) of your research team, your study will be subjected to one of two types of reviews:

  1. Administrative Review:  For those studies where all investigators are external to The Royal/The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR) and none of the participants will be recruited at The Royal/IMHR. REB approval must be obtained from your home institution before submitting to The Royal's REB for administrative review.
     
  2. Full/Delegated Review: For those studies where at least one of the investigators is affiliated with The Royal/IMHR and/or participants will be recruited at The Royal/IMHR.

For further details regarding the submission process to The Royal’s REB, please contact Katie Dinelle, BIC Facility Manager.  
 

Step 6: Submit application to Health Canada (if applicable)

Approval by Health Canada is required for the following types of studies:

Step 7: Submit REB approvals and documentation 


Before your first scan can be booked, you must provide the following information to Katie Dinelle, BIC Facility Manager:

  1. A copy of the approval letter(s) from all applicable REBs
     
  2. A copy of the REB-approved study protocol
     
  3. A blank copy of the study consent form
     
  4. A copy of Health Canada’s No Objection Letter (if required)
Step 8: Complete BIC training 

In order to work safely in The Royal's Brain Imaging Centre (BIC), members of the research team will be required to complete the following training modules:

  1. MRI Safety Training​​​​​​ (Includes completion and review of the MRI Room Access Form with the BIC MRI Technologist)
     
  2. Radiation Safety Training (for PET users only)
     
  3. The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre’s Safety Training Modules: 
  • Occupational Health and Safety Awareness
  • Emergency Codes
  • WHIMIS

It will take approximately two hours to complete all training modules. After your training is complete, you will be given access to the BIC to begin your study. 

Please contact BIC-Booking@theroyal.ca to schedule a time to complete your training.