Synchrotron biomedical imaging is an important new tool for the Canadian research community.  The BioMedical Imaging Group was formed in November 2001 to build awareness of synchrotron biomedical imaging and promote the development of a dedicated biomedical imaging and therapy beamline at the Canadian Light Source.

This beamline will be focused on medical imaging through dual energy k edge subtraction and diffraction enhanced imaging; provision will also be made for phase contrast imaging. The beamline will be designed to have optics flexibility, movable monochromators and animal restraint and handling facilities for small and large domestic animals.  There is an emerging group of researchers interested in pursuing microbeam radiation therapy.  As this research interest grows, future developments will incorporate the physical components required for this therapy application. Research interest for this beamline is Pan Canadian with a concentration of researchers located at the University of Saskatchewan.

While communicating with the research user base, elements unique to the Canadian synchrotron research community were realized.  Investigators in the human health, animal reproduction and animal health and plant sciences are motivated to incorporate synchrotron biomedical imaging techniques into their research programs.  New research collaborations, within and between disciplines, will potentially form as a direct result of the efforts of the BioMedical Imaging Group’s initiative. The inclusion of industry as part of the collaborative discovery process will also provide additional benefits and opportunities for the Canadian economy.

The BioMedical Imaging and Therapy Beamline (BMIT) will contribute to innovation in the understanding of disease mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment and the development of new engineering, and data analysis and software designs.  The BMIT will be a catalyst for increased awareness and use of the other Canadian Light Source beamlines.  The initiative of the BioMedical Imaging Group has spawned interest in the XAFS and infrared beamlines already established at the Canadian Light Source. While BMIT excels in imaging of relatively large samples with good spatial resolutions of ~20-40 um, a considerable demand for X-ray computed tomography with micron-scale resolution (µCT) was expressed by the community.