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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Andrea Kassner, PhD

Research Institute
Senior Scientist
Translational Medicine

University of Toronto
Full Professor
Department of Medical Imaging

Stroke Imaging Lab for Children (SILC)

Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 302686
Fax: 416-813-7362
Email: andrea.kassner@sickkids.ca
Alternate Contact: Cristina Millan
Alternate Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 308593
Alternate Email: cristina.millan@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:

Dr. Kassner's lab site

Brief Biography

Dr. Kassner received her PhD in 2002 from the University of Manchester, UK. Her thesis focused on tumour angiogenesis using dynamic susceptibility contrast-enhanced MRI. After working for Philips Medical Systems Europe for eight years as MR Clinical Scientist, she joined the Department of Medical Imaging at the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor in 2003. In 2006, Dr. Kassner was awarded a Canada Research Chair in Neuroimaging, which was followed by her appointment as a Scientist in the Translational Medicine program at The Hospital for Sick Children. She is now a Senior Scientist in the Translational Medicine program, Co-Director of the Stroke Imaging Lab for Children (SILC), as well as Full Professor in the Department of Medical Medical Imaging at the University of Toronto.

Research Interests

Dr. Kassner’s lab uses quantitative MRI to interrogate the complex interplay between the various physiological parameters that maintain brain function. In particular, her lab is interested in the haemodynamic, metabolic, and structural mechanisms of cerebrovascular diseases in children with sickle cell disease, stroke, cerebral angiopathies, diabetes, and sleep disorders. Dr. Kassner also investigates pre-clinical models of these diseases and investigates effective treatment strategies. Her lab collaborates with researchers and clinicians from multiple disciplines such as neurology, radiology, physiology, biophysics, engineering, hematology and respirology.

Current research areas include:

1. Analysis of cerebral blood flow (CBF) via arterial spin labelling (ASL) MRI and the generation of high resolution 3D perfusion maps.
2. Assessment of changes in cerebral vascular reactivity (CVR) via blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) MRI.
3. Determination of global and regional oxygen extract fraction (OEF), a crucial factor in cerebral oxygen metabolism that may be hindered in patients with cerebrovascular diseases.
4. The integrity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and it’s condition following stroke.
5. Establishing cortical thickness differences between children suffering from cerebrovascular disease and healthy age-matched controls.

External Funding

• Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) - Understanding brain energy metabolism and cerebral blood flow using hyperpolarized Xenon MRI approaches
• Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) - MRI Assessment of Cerebrovascular Injury in Obese Children with Obstructive Sleep Apnea
• Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) - Sickle cell disease as a disease of hypoxia: new directions for predicting stroke risk in the context of hydroxyurea
• Brain Canada and NeuroDevNet - Investigating the Blood Brain Barrier Permeability in an Experimental Model of Juvenile Stroke Using Advanced MR Imaging
• Stroke Imaging Lab for Children (SILC)


1. Kapustin D, Leung J, Odame I, Williams S, Shroff M, Kassner A (2019). Hydroxycarbamide treatment in children with Sickle Cell Anaemia is associated with more intact white matter integrity: a quantitative MRI study. Br J Haematol. [Epub ahead of print].

2. Croal PL, Leung J, Phillips CL, Serafin MG, Kassner A (2019). Quantification of pathophysiological alterations in venous oxygen saturation: A comparison of global MR susceptometry techniques. J Magn Reson Imaging. 58:18-23.

3. Domi T, Honarvar F, Kassner A (2018). Evaluation of Blood–Brain Barrier Permeability and Integrity in Juvenile Rodents: Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced (DCE), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Evans Blue Extravasation. Blood-Brain Barrier Neuromethods, 299-314.

4. Dlamini N, Shah-Basak P, Leung J, Kirkham F, Shroff M, Kassner A, Robertson A, Dirks P, Westmacott R, deVeber G, Logan, W. (2018). Breath-Hold Blood Oxygen Level–Dependent MRI: A Tool for the Assessment of Cerebrovascular Reserve in Children with Moyamoya Disease. AJNR. 39(9):1717-23.

5. Croal PL, Leung J, Kosinski P, Shroff M, Odame I, Kassner A. (2017). Assessment of cerebral blood flow with magnetic resonance imaging in children with sickle cell disease: A quantitative comparison with transcranial Doppler ultrasonography. Brain Behav. 7(11).

6. Eftekhari E, Hojjat S, Vitorino R, Carroll TJ, Cantrell CG, Lee L, Taylor MW, Morrow SA, Benhabib H, Aviv RI, Kassner, A. (2017). Normal appearing white matter permeability: A marker of inflammation and information processing speed deficit among relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis patients. Neuroradiol. J. 59(8):771-80.

7. Dlamini N, Yau I, Westmacott R, Shroff M, Armstrong D, Logan W, Mikulis D, deVeber G, Kassner A (2017). Cerebrovascular Reactivity and Intellectual Outcome in Childhood Stroke with Transient Cerebral Arteriopathy. Pediatr Neurol. 69:71-78. 

8. Domi T, Vossough A, Stence NV, Felling RJ, Leung J, Krishnan P, Watson CG, Grant PE, Kassner A (2017). The Potential for Advanced Magnetic Resonance Neuroimaging Techniques in Pediatric Stroke Research. Pediatr Neurol. 69:24-36. 

9. Merali Z, Huang K, Mikulis D, Silver F, Kassner A (2017). Evolution of blood-brain-barrier permeability after acute ischemic stroke. PLoS One. 16;12(2):e0171558.

10. Kosinski P, Croal P, Leung J, Williams S, Odame I, Hare G, Shroff M, Kassner A (2017). The severity of anaemia depletes cerebrovascular dilatory reserve in children with sickle cell disease: a quantitative MRI study. Br J Haematol. 176(2):280-287.

11. Leung J, Duffin J, Fisher JA, Kassner A (2016). MRI-based cerebrovascular reactivity using transfer function analysis reveals temporal group differences between patients with sickle cell disease and healthy controls. NeuroImage Clin. 12:624-30.

12. Cahill LS, Gazdzinski LM, Tsui AK, Zhou YQ, Portnoy S, Liu E, Mazer CD, Hare GM, Kassner A, Sled JG (2016). Functional and anatomical evidence of cerebral tissue hypoxia in young sickle cell anemia mice. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 37(3):994-1005.

13. Leung J, Kosinski PD, Croal PL, Kassner A. (2016). Developmental trajectories of cerebrovascular reactivity in healthy children and adolescents assessed with BOLD-MRI. J Physiol. 594(10):2681-9.

14. Kim AJ, Leung J, Lerch JP, Kassner A. (2016). Reduced cerebrovascular reserve is regionally associated with cortical thickness reductions in children with sickle cell disease. Brain Research. 1642:263-9.

15. Leung J, Kim JA, Kassner A. (2016). Reproducibility of cerebrovascular reactivity measures in children using BOLD MRI. J Magn Reson Imaging. 43(5):1191-5.

16. Merali Z, Leung J, Wong T, Kassner A. (2015). Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI and CT provide comparable measurement of blood-brain-barrier permeability in a rodent stroke model. Magn Reson Imaging. 33(8): 1007-12.

17. Kassner A, Merali Z. (2015). Assessment of blood-brain barrier disruption in stroke. Stroke. 46(11): 3310-5.