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Dr. Dafna Sussman

Dafna Sussman
Associate Professor
Program Director, Graduate Biomedical Engineering
BASc, MSc, PhD
416-979-5000 ext. 553767

Areas of Academic Interest

Maternal and fetal physiology and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Automatic medical image processing

GlucoCEST sequence development

MRI phantom development

3D printing

Machine learning

Disease diagnosis and prognostication using artificial intelligence



Year University Degree
2013 University of Toronto PhD
2009 University of Waterloo MSc
2007 University of Toronto BASc

Courses Taught

Course Code Course
BME 532 Signals and Systems I
BME 632 Signals and Systems II
BME 809 Biomedical Systems Modelling
BE 1806 Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging


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.”

 Dafna's Twitter Profile (external link) 
Dafna's LinkedIn Profile (external link) 

Dafna Sussman

"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