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Collaborations

Partnering to help people with addiction recovery

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The Pain Studies Lab will be partnering with Dr. Faranak Farzan and the John Volken Academy to design a virtual reality program to help people with addiction recovery. This program will be developed to assess participants’ progress in overcoming addiction.

The John Volken Academy is an addiction treatment program for young people ages 18-35 and is located in Surrey, BC. After patients leave the two-year residential program, they are often confronted with environments that could trigger addictive behavior or relapse.

An immersive VR system could be used in two ways:

• First, bio- and neuro-sensors connected to the VR system could transform the VR system into an assessment tool that helps doctors determine if patients are prone to relapse, and could help identify triggers that may lead to relapse.

• Second, the VR system could function as part of a treatment (intervention) plan that arms patients with experiences that help prepare them to confront such triggers in an immersive and realistic simulation. In both cases, the VR will help researchers better understand aspects of the brain works in a participants’ vulnerable state.

It would make sense to have some sort of intervention or assessment to see how they are doing, and if we can expose them to an old scenario that would have made them vulnerable to using before, how will they react?

Dr. Faranak Farzan

We know that VR is an exceptional tool for treating many kinds of psychological disorders, from phobias to PTSD. Recent advances in neuroscience means we can create even more effective VR systems that may help with our current opioid crisis.

Dr. Diane Gromala

Study Team:

  • Dr. Faranak Farzan
  • Dr. Diane Gromala
  • Dr. Sylvain Moreno

 

  • Dr. Gregory J. Christie
  • Serkan Pekcetin

 

  • Kathryn Cruz
  • Sungmin Park
Partners:

  • Simon Fraser University, School of Mechatronics System Engineering
  • Simon Fraser University, School of Interactive Arts & Technology
  • John Volken Academy

Dimple Gupta contributes to new Pain BC Program

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Dimple Gupta joined Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology as a graduate student in Summer 2014. Dimple is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (in California, United States) and a Registered Social Worker (in British Columbia, Canada), specializing in mental health social services program design and delivery, psychotherapy and health communications. She holds a Masters degree in Social Work from San Jose State University and and brings over 10 years of experience with direct patient care, program implementation, development, compliance, and public relations experience with Silicon Valley health services agencies and the government sector in India. Her research interests include technology in organizational development, human computer interaction, and developing computational technology based treatment interventions to treat chronic pain and mental health world-wide.

Mahsoo Salimi joined Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology as a graduate student in Fall 2014. Mahsoo is an architect and holds a Masters degree in Architecture from University of Colorado. She has worked at Terreform ONE under the supervision of Dr. Mitchel Joachim and Maria Aiolova and she was also a visiting scholar at Prof. Nikolaus Correll Lab at the University of Colorado (Computer Science Department). Her current research interests include Responsive and Interactive Interfaces in Architecture, Biomimetics, Human Computer Interaction, Immersion and Tangible Media, Robotics, Smart Materials and Synthetic Biology.

SFUs Digital Health Hub

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Through SFUs partnerships with Fraser Health and other health organizations, the SFUs Digital Health Hub solves real health problems with digital solutions. The group is headed by Maryam Sadeghi, the CEO of MetaOptima Technology Inc. She completed her PhD at SFU in Computing Science and earned numerous awards for her work. She developed an application for helping detect skin cancer.

Innovation Boulevard

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Innovation Boulevard is a new network of health related entities that strives to improve health care. Their vision lies primarily in improving four areas of health care:

  1. Improving health care outcomes for patients.
  2. Implementing intelligent solutions for the health care system.
  3. Attracting talented clinicians and researchers.
  4. Growing companies in health care technology and services sectors.

Innovation Boulevard is located in between SFU Surrey and Surrey Memorial Hospital, a perfect union of theory and practice.

See more at: http://www.surrey.ca/business-economic-development/13158.aspx#sthash.RMJRYMpW.dpuf

Diane Gromala made GRAND Director of Health Research

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GRAND is a research network and commercialization engine whose goal is to address complex issues in digital media and transform multidisciplinary research into user-centred solutions. GRAND explores the use and application of digital media in a variety of settings including entertainment, healthcare, education, environmental sustainability, and public policy.

GRAND is a federally-funded Network of Centres of Excellence supporting 34 research projects divided into 5 cross-pollinating themes involving researchers at 25 universities across Canada with more than 60 industry, government, and nonprofit partners.

Pain Lab researchers to be part of ISEA STEMArts curriculum

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Tyler Fox and Carlos Castellanos have been invited to be in the ISEA STEMArts curriculum, featuring DPrime Research (the artist-organization to which they belong) and their two alternative computing projects, Biolesce (exploring bioluminescent algae as a display in physical computing) and Biopoeisis (a chemically-based analog computer that explores concepts of conditioning, networks and emergent phenomena). STEMArts curriculum attempts to dissolve boundaries by using art as a way to explore and learn about science, engineering, technology and math.

DPrime Research specializes in cultural production informed by the intersection of technology, research and the arts. Our approach is exemplified by the enhancement of collaboration, dialogue and knowledge sharing between local communities, academic research and cultural institutions, with the goal of showcasing alternatives to dominant social and technological models.

Proof-of-Process exhibit/workshop

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Pain Lab researchers Tyler Fox and Carlos Castellanos, along with former lab researcher Steven Barnes and SIAT student Diego Maranan, will be presenting an exhibit and workshop at Gallery Gachet in Vancouver called Proof-of-Process.

The exhibit takes place June 5-10 at the gallery, which is located in Gastown, 88 East Cordova Street.

Proof-of-Process consists of a series of a hybrid exhibitions, workshops and symposia where participants, along with artists-researchers, can interact with and collaborate on, the development of science and technology-based artworks and research projects in various stages of development all within a publicly accessible laboratory and production workshop set-up in the gallery space. We seek to engender an atmosphere of critical engagement and experimentation where the experience of the work unfolds through its direct manipulation. Visitors are invited not only to view and interact with projects, they are also encouraged to directly manipulate components and actively change the configuration of systems. Unplug, rewire, and experiment.

For more information or to register visit the project website at http://dprime.org/projects/proof-of-process/

The Wild West of Chronic Pain: Collaborations among Artists, Scientists and Health Care Experts

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The Transforming Pain Research Group, led by Dr. Diane Gromala, will be showing off their stuff at the University of California (Los Angeles) Art | Sci Center + Lab on November 30. Others taking part include Andrea Zeffiro, Tyler Fox and Jay Vidharthi.

Here’s how the announcement on the Art | Sci Center website puts it:

The Wild West of Chronic Pain: Collaborations among Artists, Scientists and Health Care Experts

  • Why is a media technology immersive VR known as a non-pharmacological analgesic?
  • Can a robot reduce anxiety?
  • How might novel forms of social media combat the social isolation experienced by seniors who have chronic pain?
  • What do Sufi practices and phosphorescent creatures have to do with pain?

Members of the Transforming Pain Research Group comprise artists, musicians, computer scientists, engineers, designers, psychophysicists; and pain physicians. All are exploring the ways that new technologies may help the 1 in 5 people who suffer from chronic pain.

Referred to as the silent epidemic, this relatively new disease has no known cause and no cure. While health care researchers explore its etiology, experts from diverse disciplines are working on ways to help with managing chronic pain. See what a group of innovative researchers north of the border are doing.