Philips MR Clinical Scientist, UBC MRI Research Centre
Dr. MacMillan completed her PhD in magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) at the University of Bern and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, where her research focused on non-water-suppressed MRS techniques at 3T and 7T. She returned to UBC as a post-doctoral research fellow funded by the MS Society of Canada with the goal to improve the application of MRS in MS clinical trials. Since 2017 she has been supporting a wide range of MRI and MRS research projects as the Philips MRI Clinical Scientist with the UBC MRI Research Centre located on the lower level of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.
My personal research goals are to advance magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) techniques to improve detection of metabolites in the central nervous system (CNS), as well as to demonstrate the clinical utility of this unique non-invasive metabolic measurement technique in a variety of neurologic and psychiatric diseases/conditions. MRS is a unique non-invasive method available on MRI scanners to sample the chemistry of the CNS in people actually living with a certain disease or condition. Using state of the art MRS methodology we can detect 16 to 20 different metabolites (depending on region of interest) that can serve as biomarkers of neuron-myelin coupling, mitochondrial function, neurotransmission, and inflammation.
I have previously applied MRS to demonstrate changes in neurotransmission in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), as well as improvements in inflammatory markers in MS patients enrolled in a clinical trial of a novel treatment. I have also used MRS to investigate changes in the brain with age, in bipolar disorder, and in cases of progressive solitary sclerosis. My current research projects include tracking changes in more MRS metabolites over time in a cohort of MS patients receiving a new treatment, measuring neurotransmitter levels during treatment in the MRI bore with transcranial magnetic stimulation, and measuring neurotransmitter levels during functional activation in healthy controls.Publications