ImPaKT provides unprecedented look at pathogens

The Imaging Pathogens for Knowledge Translation facility (ImPaKT) was officially opened at Western University this week.

The research facility is unique in North America, housing a cutting-edge suite of imaging equipment within a high-level containment environment allowing researchers unprecedented ability to investigate infectious pathogens like HIV, Staph A and Zika Virus.

An outstanding array of leading imaging technology provides the ability to track pathogens from the molecular level with multiphoton microscopy right through to whole-systems imaging with PET MRI. Scientists can use these technologies to better understand the pathogen’s effect on the body, its response to treatment and how it interacts with the immune system.

“There are several projects that will begin right away that will give us a better understanding of diseases like HIV and how best to treat those diseases with vaccines or therapeutic drugs,” said Eric Arts, PhD, renowned HIV researcher and professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

The completion of the facility involves contributions from more than a dozen scientists and researchers across Western University, including Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and Robarts Research Institute.

“Collaboration is a key vision of ImPaKT, with imaging experts, immunologists, microbiologists and infectious disease experts sharing their expertise for the betterment of human health,” said Marlys Koschinsky, PhD, Scientific and Executive Director of Robarts Research Institute at Western.

The goal is that ImPaKT and the scientific expertise at Western will be utilized by other scientists around the world to help advance their work in these crucial research areas.

The facility was funded by Schulich Medicine & Dentistry at Western and a large Infrastructure grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.