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Dr. Réjean Fontaine & Dr. Roger Lecomte

Location: Sherbrooke, QC

Award: Award of Distinction


Year: 2012


The LabPET™ Digital PET Scanner. Read the News Release for additional information.

Winner Spotlight Video Transcript

Narrator: "When Dr. Roger Lecomte was told the expense of developing a new diagnostic tool for human applications would be too expensive he thought, 'Why not develop a positron emission tomography scanner for small animals?"

Dr. Rejean Fontaine: "One of the first images we got with the prototype is the image of the skull of a rat. The skull of a rat is very thin, it's less than 1mm thick! People said well, you know, you will never see it. The resolution is two, three millimetres at best - but no, we could see it! We could see it. So, it was a kind of fun demonstration that we could do better down what theory expected out of us in terms of resolution."

Narrator: "However his research was not without its skeptics initially, and a few thought that he would never be able to get it to work. But it was after partnering with Dr. Rejean Fontaine that their team was able to take the development up the LabPET Digital Scanner to the next level and discover how to extract the most information possible from this emerging technology.

Dr. Roger Lecomte: "One of the first things that we heard from our competitors and other researchers is that we are somehow crazy. Why? Because of the amount of electronics we have to build. Because we have one-to-one coupling, it's huge."

Narrator: "Thanks to their innovative and collaborative approach, they were able to achieve success were previously no research had ventured before."

Dr. Rejean Fontaine: "Initially PET scanners had one ring of detectors. So you would get a slice and you could reconstruct the image of the slice. With the progress of detectors and reconstruction algorithms, now we really get a 3D image."

Narrator: "The impact on the field a biomedical research has been substantial by the development of their LabPET scanner."

Dr. Rejean Fontaine: "With one animal you get a lot of data that that you would need 50, 100 animals at the same data using a conventional way of doing it."

Narrator: "And much of that success can be attributed to groundbreaking avalanche photodiode and electronics development by their team to improve sensitivity and resolution to levels never before seen in positron emission tomography. This diagnostic tool developed by researchers Lecomte in Fontana at the Sherbrooke University Hospital Centre has become a laboratory essential in many molecular imaging labs. It is now used in 40 at the largest research laboratories and universities in the world, and is a testament to the success at the interdisciplinary endeavours."

Dr. Roger Lecomte: "The multi-disciplinary team, on my side, this is what is the most important thing. I like to be surrounded by a lot of people with different expertise,mine isn't the only contribution to the field."

Dr. Rejean Fontaine: "This award is for everybody in my lab and every collaborator also that have helped to achieve what we have done."

Narrator: "Dr. Roger Lecomte and Dr. Rejean Fontaine, the 2012 co-recipients of the $25,000 David E. Mitchell Award of Distinction.