MSFHR Scholar wins Brockhouse Prize

16 March 2011

Dr. Mark Ansermino, a 2007 MSFHR Scholar and anesthesiologist at BC Children's Hospital, has received the Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering. Presented by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the $250,000 team research grant recognizes outstanding Canadian teams of researchers from different disciplines who have combined their expertise to produce achievements of outstanding international significance in the natural sciences and engineering.

Ansermino and his partner Dr. Guy Dumont have developed a set of tools, collectively known as the Intelligent Anesthesia Navigator (IAN), that greatly enhances anesthesiologists' ability to monitor patients during an operation. IANs reduce false alarms and flag problems earlier than existing technologies; they also raise an alert for potential critical events during anesthesia by transmitting a message through vibrations from a waist belt, rather than using an auditory alarm that competes with other sounds in the operating room.

"The funding I received from MSFHR has made an essential contribution to our team winning this prestigious award," said Ansermino, a senior associate clinician scientist at the Child & Family Research Institute. "Without the protected time MSFHR's award provided, the NSERC award would not have been possible."

With the Brockhouse prize funds, Ansermino and Dumont, a professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at UBC, plan to build on their success in anesthesia monitoring research, focussing on the creation of innovative technologies for the developing world — like using a cellular phone as a portable diagnostic device.

Ansermino is also an assistant professor at UBC's Department of Anesthesia and Director of Research, Pediatric Anesthesia at BC Children's Hospital. Review a more detailed account of his and Dumont's work.

Dr. Bertram N. Brockhouse was the co-recipient of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering development of neutron scattering techniques for studies of condensed matter and his development of neutron spectroscopy. His research revolutionized scientists' ability to chart atomic dynamics. Throughout his career, Dr. Brockhouse's passion for his work also inspired young researchers to pursue careers in research.