Dr. Dafna Sussman
Areas of Academic Interest
Maternal and fetal physiology and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Automatic medical image processing
GlucoCEST sequence development
MRI phantom development
Disease diagnosis and prognostication using artificial intelligence
|2013||University of Toronto||PhD|
|2009||University of Waterloo||MSc|
|2007||University of Toronto||BASc|
When it comes to fetal health, early intervention is key. Biomedical engineer and developmental physiologist Dafna Sussman uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to facilitate detection of fetal abnormalities in utero before physiology is permanently altered. “It allows you to diagnose earlier and more accurately,” she says, “as opposed to counting on ultrasound after ultrasound until it’s too late. It can save lives.”
In her Maternal Fetal Imaging Laboratory at St. Michael’s Hospital’s Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology (iBEST), she develops groundbreaking MRI sequences and artificial intelligence algorithms that can improve diagnosis and, therefore, quality of life from birth. These technologies have assisted surgeons with preoperative planning for babies with spina bifida, and Sussman is applying her techniques in the early detection of abnormalities such as intrauterine growth restriction – a condition affecting 20 million infants per year, or 10 per cent of pregnancies worldwide. With such a far-reaching impact, it’s no wonder Sussman is spurred on by the trend toward more MRI-based clinical decision-making. “Working with clinicians and seeing the end result excites me,” she says. “What motivates me is that my research can be directly applied and make an impact.”
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"Advances in MRI and AI are allowing us to diagnose maternal and fetal diseases earlier and more accurately."
- Most cited publication (44 citations within four years): D. Sussman, R.C. Leung, V.M. Vogan, W. Lee, S. Trelle, S. Lin, D.B. Cassel, M.M. Chakravarty, J.P. Lerch, E. Anagnostou, M.J. Taylor. (2015). The Autism Puzzle: Diffuse but not pervasive neuroanatomical abnormalities in children with ASD. NeuroImage: Clinical. 8: 170-179.
- Dafna Sussman, Brahmdeep S. Saini, Jane E. Schneiderman, Rachel Spitzer, Mike Seed, Stephen J. Lye, Greg D. Wells. (2019). Umbilical vein and uterine artery blood flow are unaffected by moderate habitual physical activity during pregnancy. Prenatal Diagnosis. Online First.
- Alyaa AlRefai, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Susan Blaser, Dafna Sussman, James Drake, Jose Carvalho, Greg Ryan, Nimrah Abbasi, Tim Van Mieghem. (2019). Impact of fetal surgery on progression of ventriculomegaly in fetuses with spina bifida. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. 41(5): 708.
- Datta S. Goolaub, Christopher W. Roy, Eric Schrauben, Davide Marini, Dafna Sussman, Mike Seed, Christopher K. Macgowan (2018). Multidimensional Fetal Flow Imaging with MRI: A Feasibility Study, Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (JCMR) 20(77): 1-12.
- D. Sussman, L. da Costa, M.M. Chakravarty, E.W. Pang, M.J. Taylor, B.T. Dunkley. (2017). Concussion induces focal and widespread neuromorphological changes. Neuroscience Letters. 650: 52-59.
- Sussman D, Leung RC, Chakravarty MM, Lerch JP, Taylor MJ. (2016). The developing human brain: age related changes in cortical, subcortical, and cerebellar anatomy. Brain and Behavior. 6(4): 1-15.
- Adjunct Professor, Biomedical Physics, Ryerson University
- Affiliate Scientist, The Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, St. Michael’s Hospital
- Member, Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology (iBEST) at Toronto Metropolitan University and St. Michael’s Hospital
- Member, International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM)
- Workshop organizer, North American CEST
- Invited Editor, Early Human Development Journal