Nancy Ford

Associate Professor

Research Interests

micro-computed tomography
physiological gating
contrast agents
models of respiratory disease
image-based measurements
dental imaging
x-ray imaging

Relevant Degree Programs

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

micro-computed tomography
dental cone beam computed tomography


Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
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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Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
80405153 (2018)

No abstract available.

Phantom dosimetry of i-CAT CBCT and i-CAT panoramic radiographs in pediatric patients (2014)

Objectives: To obtain head dimensions from patients who received dental CBCT at BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH), to apply this information to design and construct small child and adolescent head phantoms, and to measure and compare the absorbed radiation doses from CBCT and panoramic radiographs using small child, adolescent and adult head phantoms.Materials and Methods: Patients who received dental CBCT at BCCH were surveyed. Head dimensions from each subject’s image were measured to develop adolescent and small child head phantoms. The most commonly used dental CBCT imaging protocols were examined. Absorbed doses were measured for small child, adolescent and adult head phantoms with i-CAT CBCT and Planmeca panoramic radiograph machines. Results: In the patient survey, 32 patients met the inclusion criteria. The most common indications for CBCT referral were for orthodontic treatment, followed by craniofacial abnormality and cleft lip and palate. A small child phantom was developed to represent the child patients with craniofacial abnormality and an adolescent phantom was developed to represent healthy orthodontic patients. Absorbed radiation doses varied depending on machine, imaging protocol, size of phantom and location of the ion chamber in the phantoms. For CBCT images, the highest radiation was measured in the small child phantom while the lowest radiation was measured in the adult phantom. For panoramic radiographs, the i-CAT CBCT panoramic option was compared to the Planmeca panoramic radiograph machine. For both machines, the small child phantom measured the highest while the adult phantom measured the lowest radiation. For the adolescent phantom, lower values were measured with the Planmeca machine while lower values were measured with i-CAT CBCT panoramic option for the small child phantom.Conclusion: Two groups of pediatric patients were referred for dental CBCT at BCCH: young patients with craniofacial abnormality and healthy adolescent patients for orthodontic assessment. A consistent trend was observed for both CBCT and panoramic radiographs: the highest dose was measured in the smallest phantom while the lowest dose was measured in the largest phantom. Radiation in pediatric population is more detrimental than in adult population and it is important to child size the dose and protocol.

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Quantitative performance characterization of image quality and radiation dose for dental CBCT machine (CS9300) (2014)

Purpose: To characterize the performance of cone beam CT (CBCT) used in dentistry, investigating quantitatively the image quality and radiation dose during dental CBCT over different settings for partial rotation of the x-ray tube. Methods: Image quality and dose measurements were done on a variable field of view (FOV) dental CBCT (Carestream 9300). X-ray parameters for clinical settings were adjustable for 2-10 mA, 60-90 kVp, and two optional voxel size values, with fixed time for each protocol and FOV. The phantoms were positioned in the FOV to imitate clinical positioning. Image quality was assessed by scanning a cylindrical poly-methyl methacrylate (PMMA) image quality phantom (SEDENTEXCT IQ), and the images were analyzed using ImageJ to calculate image quality parameters such as noise, uniformity, contrast to noise ratio (CNR), and spatial resolution. A protocol proposed by SEDENTEXCT, dose index 1 (DI1), was applied to dose measurements obtained using a thimble ionization chamber and cylindrical PMMA dose index phantom (SEDENTEXCT DI). Dose distributions were obtained using Gafchromic film. Results: The image noise was 6-12.5% which, when normalized to the difference of mean voxel value of PMMA and air, was comparable between different FOVs. Uniformity was 93.5-99.7% across the images. CNR was 0.5-4.2, 0.2-4.6, 3.7-11.7, 4.3-17.8, and 6.3-14.3 for LDPE, POM, PTFE, air, and aluminum, respectively. The measured FWHM and spatial resolution were larger than the voxel size. FWHM were 0.49-0.65 mm; spatial resolution was 194.81-467.68. Dose distributions were symmetric about the rotation angle’s bisector. For large and medium FOVs at 4 mA, 80-90 kVp, and 180-250 μm, DI1 values were in the range of 1.26-3.23 mGy. DI1 values were between 1.01-1.93 mGy for small FOV (5x5 cm²) at 4-5 mA,75-84 kVp, and 200 μm. Conclusion: Noise and spatial resolution decreased and the CNR increased by increasing kVp; the geometric distortion, AAV, FWHM were very similar or the same when increasing the kVp. When FOV size increased, image noise increased and CNR decreased. FWHM and spatial resolution have no correlation with the voxel size. DI1 values were increased by increasing tube current (mA), tube voltage (kVp), and/or FOV.

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