Dr. Aaron Fenster

Program Director, Imaging Program

Dr. Fenster - working on imaging equipmentDr. Aaron Fenster is driven by the opportunity to use technological innovations to meet the challenges of cancer diagnosis and therapy needs. The broad goal of his research program is to invent, develop and translate image-guided therapy systems for minimally invasive procedures to treat prostate, breast, gynaecologic and liver cancer. These procedures require accurate guidance of needles to a tumour and ablating it with heat or radiation. Innovations from his lab meet this challenge and involve the use of three dimensional ultrasound (3D US), mechatronic systems, advanced image processing and guidance software.

Minimally invasive therapy procedures using guidance of needles to targets in the human body are challenged by inaccuracy and variability, resulting in therapy-caused complications and sub-optimal outcomes. Working with a team of engineers, physicists and physician collaborators, Fenster has addressed these challenges by pioneering 3D US technology and inventing novel mechatronic guidance systems and software for complete therapy solutions. These solutions have been translated into clinical use and to commercial companies.

Fenster’s research at OICR will produce more accurate and precise therapy techniques, thereby reducing therapy-caused complications and improving outcomes for patients. They will be translated through clinical testing with clinician collaborators to the clinical community and commercial companies for global distribution.

Current affiliations

  • Program Director, Imaging Program, OICR;
  • Centre Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization;
  • Chair, Division of Imaging Sciences, Department of Medical Imaging, Western University;
  • Associate Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute;
  • Professor Department of Biomedical Engineering, Western University;
  • Professor, Department of Oncology, Western University;
  • Professor, Department of Medical Imaging, Western University;
  • Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics, Western University;
  • Director and Scientist, Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute.

Research interests

  • Image-guided intervention;
  • Robotic systems;
  • Image processing and analysis.

Select publications

Bax J, Smith D, Bartha L, Montreuil J, Sherebrin S, Gardi L, Edirisinghe C, Fenster A.
A compact mechatronic system for 3D ultrasound guided prostate interventions.
Med Phys. 38(2): 1055-69, Feb 2011

Cool DW, Zhang X, Romagnoli C, Izawa JI, Romano WM, Fenster A.
Evaluation of MRI-TRUS Fusion Versus Cognitive Registration Accuracy for MRI-Targeted, TRUS-Guided Prostate Biopsy.
AJR American Journal Roentgenol. 204(1): 83-91, Jan. 2015.
PMID: 25539241.

Cepek J, Lindner U, Ghai S, Louis AS, Davidson SRH, Gertner M, Hlasny E, Sussman MS, Fenster A, Trachtenerg J.
Mechatronic System for In-Bore MRI-Guided Insertion of Needles to the Prostate: An in vivo Needle Guidance Accuracy Study.
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 42(1): 48-55, July 2015. doi: 10.1002/jmri.24742.
PMID: 25195664.

De Silva T, Cool DW, Romagnoli C, Fenster A, Ward AD.
Evaluating the utility of intraprocedural 3D TRUS image information in guiding registration for displacement compensation during prostate biopsy.
Medical Physics. 41(8): 082901, Aug. 2014. doi: 10.1118/1.4885959.
PMID: 25086558.

Qiu W, Yuan J, Ukwatta E, Sun Y, Rajchl M, Fenster A.
Prostate segmentation: An efficient convex optimization approach with axial symmetry using 3-D TRUS and MR images. IEEE
Trans Med Imaging. 33(4): 947-960, April 2014. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2014.2300694.
PMID: 24710163.


  • 3D ultrasound guided prostate biopsy system;
  • 3D ultrasound guided prostate therapy system;
  • 3D ultrasound guided liver tumour ablation system;
  • 3D ultrasound guided breast brachytherapy system;
  • 3D ultrasound guided gynaecologic brachytherapy system.


  • 3D ultrasound acquisition and reconstruction;
  • 3D image visualization system;
  • Guidance software for needle insertion into tissue;
  • Image-based motion compensation;
  • Needle segmentation;
  • Prostate segmentation in ultrasound and MR images;
  • MR to 3D ultrasound prostate registration;
  • Motor control for 3D ultrasound scanning.


  • Premier’s Discovery Award for Innovation and Leadership,
    Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation;
  • Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers;
  • Canada Research Chair, Tier 1, Canadian Foundation for Innovation;
  • Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research, Western University;
  • Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists Gold Medal Award;
  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics;
  • Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences;
  • Fellow, Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE);
  • ICMP named Fenster as one of the 50 international Medical Physicists who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of Medical Physics over the past 50 years;
  • Dean’s Awards of Excellence for Faculty – Team Award, The Biomedical Imaging Research Centre (BIRC);
  • Annual Award for Academic Excellence in Research, Department of Medical Imaging, Western University;
  • Western University 2016 Vanguard Award for issued patent.

Previous experience and education

  • Program Director, Imaging Translation Program, OICR;
  • Co-Program Director, Smarter Imaging Program, OICR;
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto;
  • PhD, Medical Biophysics, Supervisor: Dr. H.E. Johns, University of Toronto.

Opportunities to collaborate

  • Image-guided interventions using ultrasound, MR, CT or x-ray imaging for prostate, breast, liver gynaecologic and any other cancers;
  • Robotic and mechatronic systems used in image-guided interventions;
  • Segmentation and registration algorithms of organs, tumours or needle;
  • Multi-image modality registration;
  • Prostate, breast, and gynaecologic brachytherapy;
  • MR-guided thermal focal ablation of prostate tumours.

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