Yaser Maddahi

Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship Recipient

University of Calgary

Brain function during the performance of tasks can be evaluated using a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine. Yaser’s research designs and builds a haptic (touch) hand-controller for use in brain surgery in virtual environment, i.e., the subject or surgeon performs tasks simulating brain surgery using this unique hand-controller while undergoing functional MRI (fMRI) within the magnet bore. The goal is to study regional brain activity amongst surgeons during the performance of surgery. Through the brain activities and corresponding co-ordinates and parameters of the hand-controller maneuver of a surgeon, experienced or novice, it will be possible to establish how task based skills acquired over time, correlate to specific brain activities.

The neuroArm project is an advanced research center for robot-assisted neurosurgery in the world with a visionary team. The primary focus of the center is on the development of intraoperative MRI technology, which can be used in the operating room to provide detailed three-dimensional images of the patient at any time during surgery, allowing surgeons to continually monitor their progress. Project neuroArm at UCalgary is uniquely able to provide feedback from end-users, and enhance Yaser’s engineering experience while he undertakes a real medical-engineering project.

Even though family is his first priority, Yaser still finds time to spend in his small machine shop where he likes to build and invent new things. Yaser’s enjoyment of the outdoors is not hampered by our cold Canadian winters, and if he ever wants to escape to the tropics, he can focus on another of his hobbies – looking after his fish tanks.

Killam funding has motivated Yaser to perform even better in his research. Thanks to this new association with eminent scholars around the world. As a Killam laureate, Yaser is committed to the importance of seeing both broadly and deeply as well as continuing to work smarter and harder.


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