Research Assistant, Concussion MRI Analysis – SimPL lab

This is an undergraduate research position, made available through either the NSERC USRA or the Work Learn IUA program.

Role Details

Project Name:  Research Assistant, Concussion Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Analysis – SimPL lab

Supervisor Name: Lyndia Wu, Adam Clansey  | Preferred Contact:

Deadline to Apply: Application procedures and timelines are different for NSERC USRA or WLIURA – visit our undergraduate Research Opportunities page for application details.

  • NSERC USRA: If you are interested and eligible, please contact Dr. Clansey as soon as possible, at the latest by Feb. 15, 2023.
  • WL IUA: The position will be posted to UBC CareersOnline from March 13 – 26, 2023. Interested students can also contact Dr. Clansey directly with resume and transcript by Mar 26.

Project Description

We have a multidisciplinary project investigating the relationship between head impact exposure, concussion biomechanics, and brain structural as well as functional changes at the University of British Columbia (UBC). This is a multi-year project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Project Grant led by principal investigator Dr. Lyndia Wu. We are recruiting a research student to assist in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) data processing and analysis.

Concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury, is a major public health concern. The injury mechanism and pathology are poorly understood, resulting in ineffective prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Alarmingly, mounting evidence indicates that even subconcussive / subclinical head impacts may be associated with long-term brain changes. In this project, our goal is to prospectively and longitudinally investigate the effects of both concussions and subconcussive head impacts in varsity competitive ice hockey players. We will apply state-of-the-art wearable head impact sensors, novel UBC-developed myelin water imaging techniques, award-winning quantitative susceptibility mapping methods, and unique sensitive neurocognitive tests in a rigorous study design where we will gather pre-injury baseline data as well as monitor brain structural / functional changes longitudinally.

The MRI methods applied in the current study allows for investigation for both microstructural and functional changes in the brain after head impacts or concussions. For example, the myelin water imaging protocol applied will provide data on the integrity of the myelin sheath around neurons in the brain, and the functional MRI protocol can provide information on brain activation patterns and networks. The research student will help with MRI data processing and extraction of key structural and functional parameters, which will be compared between pre-season/post-season and pre-concussion/post-concussion time points to shed light on brain changes due to ice hockey head impacts.

Duties and Responsibilities May Include

  • Processing of MRI data
  • Extraction of key MRI parameters of brain structure and function
  • Analyzing the correlation between head impact exposure and MRI parameters
  • Assistance in ongoing study activities (e.g., facilitating MRI scans)
  • Documentation and presentation of research processes and results


The student will be supervised by the faculty lead (Dr. Lyndia Wu) and research associate (Dr. Adam Clansey), with weekly team meetings. The student will also work closely with graduate students in SimPL, with the opportunities for daily interactions and communication. Training for research tasks will be provided to the student. In addition, the student will be offered laboratory (i.e. lab access, lab computers/equipment) to complete their project.

Special requirements (department, GPA, specific courses, year level, skills)

Preferred skills/knowledge

Python, signal processing, image processing, knowledge in medical imaging. Motivated students with willingness to learn new skills would be preferred.


Students who are interested in concussion research and/or brain MRI imaging would be a good fit.

Other Information

Position duration: May-August 2023, possible to start early on part-time basis or extend beyond this timeframe.

Total pay including award: $9K for the summer

Will you still hire for position if the student does not receive the WL IURA or NSERC USRA award?: Possible, if a good fit is demonstrated.

Lab website: Home Page | Sensing in Biomechanical Processes Lab (SimPL) (