Tony Traboulsee


Research Interests

magnetic resonance imaging
multiple sclerosis
multiple sclerosis
neuromyelitls optica (NMO)

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
I am interested in working with undergraduate students on research projects.

Research Methodology

Medical physics
Computing science
clinical trials


Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows

Image analysis related:

- Brain and spinal cord MRI image analysis of conventional and advanced MRI sequences related to multiple sclerosis

- Involvement in multicentre repository of advanced MRI data for machine learning and other applications

Clinical sciences in multiple sclerosis and rare diseases (NMOSD, MOGAD)

- clinical and MRI studies on progression and remyelination in MS>

- characterizing NMOSD and MOGAD in BC

Image analysis development related projects:

- Physics, math, computing science, electrical engineering, stats background preferred


Clinical sciences projects

- neuroscience, epidemiology, health sciences background preferred

I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).
I am interested in hiring Co-op students for research placements.

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These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.

Great Supervisor Week Mentions

Each year graduate students are encouraged to give kudos to their supervisors through social media and our website as part of #GreatSupervisorWeek. Below are students who mentioned this supervisor since the initiative was started in 2017.


I offer my heartfelt thanks to Drs. Shannon Kolind and Anthony Traboulsee, who have taught me more than I could ever have learned in a classroom. They have provided me with unconditional support and care, and encouraged critical thinking and professional growth. Even with their busy schedules, they regularly met with me to ensure that I was meeting my goals and had all necessary resources. I am very grateful for their mentorship, trust and guidance! #GreatSupervisor week at #UBC.

Lisa Eunyoung Lee (2018)


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Perspectives on the translational trajectory of novel biotechnologies for neurodegenerative disease (2018)

The translation of novel brain technologies from the bench to the bedside has been characterized by a tension between priorities to promote rapid access to experimental interventions and the utilitarian pursuit of their evaluation with rigorous and time-intensive research. Through three studies conducted within the scope of this dissertation, I focus on a central research question: What are the perspectives of stakeholders about the translation of novel biotechnologies for neurodegenerative disease?Harnessing the strength of pragmatic neuroethics, I address this research question using both qualitative and quantitative analyses. In the first study, I explore the perspectives of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) about the unproven but highly publicized chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) intervention and the impact of its controversial trajectory on stem cell research. I find that patients are disappointed about the divestment of funds from other areas of research to support CCSVI trials, but maintain enduring hopes for future neurotechnological advancements, including stem cell research. In the second study, I examine how the news media represent timeframes for research and development of stem cell interventions for MS and other neurodegenerative diseases. I find that news articles celebrate the benefits of stem cell research with little context of its caveats. In contrast to prior studies, however, I discover that they also conscientiously convey caution about stem cell tourism and describe a lengthy trajectory between research and clinical availability of therapeutics. In the third study, I explore the perspectives of patients with MS and clinicians responsible for their care about the pace of research and development for stem cell interventions. Here I describe the urgency that patients feel to access stem cell interventions and their desire to learn more about the research process. Clinicians suggest strategies for dialogue with their patients that can clarify translational timeframes and inform hopes. Overall, the findings bring together the voices of key stakeholders and support a commitment to socially minded translation of novel neurotechnologies for neurodegenerative disease.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Mechanisms of White Matter in Multiple Sclerosis and Neuromyelitis Optica (2015)

Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and multiple sclerosis (MS) both result in acute injury (i.e. attacks or relapses) to the central nervous system with focal demyelination and axonal loss that varies in severity along a spectrum. A variety of non-invasive structural imaging and functional tools can be used to investigate mechanisms of white matter injury and secondary axonal injury in MS and NMO. These include advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of myelin water fraction; optical coherence tomography (OCT) for retinal nerve fibre layer thickness and total macular volume; and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to determine cortical excitability and integrity of cortical spinal pathways.First, the relationship between a functional measure using TMS and a structural measure of myelin in the cortico-spinal tract was examined. Structural changes were found in the descending motor output pathway white matter in NMO along with abnormal TMS measures, suggesting that there is greater spinal cord involvement and more extensive axonal loss found in NMO compared to MS.Next, OCT was used as a measure of the anterior visual pathway and myelin water imaging of the posterior visual pathway; the effects of damage to one part of the visual system on the other was studied. Retrograde degeneration to the retina and anterograde degeneration to the optic radiations from the optic nerve was observed in both MS and NMO subjects with optic neuritis history. A correlation between the measures indicating that damage to one part may cause damage to another part of the visual pathway. Finally, damage was observed in optic pathway in MS patients without optic neuritis history suggesting that there is damage in the absence of lesions in the optic nerve.Finally, myelin water imaging was used to investigate if the disease burden of lesions regulate the level of damage to the normal appearing white matter (NAWM) tracts. The lack of correlation between disease burden of lesions and NAWM myelin water imaging in MS suggested that damage to the NAWM was mediated by processes independent of lesions.These techniques can be used to study and better understand demyelinating diseases such as MS and NMO.

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Pseudoatrophy of the brain in multiple sclerosis : the effect of therapy on T1 measures of brain water content (2010)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) measures of T₁ relaxation provide a sensitive and reproducible measure of water content in vivo. In the present study T₁ histograms were used to monitor changes in the brain water content of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients initiating Disease Modifying Therapies (DMT). The initiation of DMT, which target inflammation, is associated with a decrease in brain volume (BV) greater than would be expected by natural history alone. Reductions in BV may reflect worsening disease in untreated patients; however for patients treated with DMT, reductions in BV early in the treatment course may represent a clinical improvement due to initial anti-inflammatory effects of therapy and the resulting decrease in edema. The initial change in BV upon starting DMT is termed pseudoatrophy, a reversible decrease in BV due to a loss of water from the brain parenchyma. Patients with clinically definite MS planning on initiating DMT were recruited and scanned at two time points prior to initiating therapy and two time points after initiating therapy to determine the change in water content of the brain.

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