Garnette Sutherland

Garnette Roy Sutherland




Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Clinical Neurosciences

Full Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute


Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute

Contact information

Web presence

Phone number

Office: 403.944.4403
Lab: 403.210.8557


Office: HRIC1C60

Preferred method of communication

Admin Assistant

Alison Shepherd


Office: 403.210.8468


Educational Background

B.S. Chemistry, University of Manitoba, 1974

Doctor of Medicine Medicine, University of Manitoba, 1978


Dr. Garnette Sutherland completed his residency in Neurosurgery at the University of Western Ontario. His first appointment was at the University of Manitoba, in both the Departments of Surgery and Pharmacology. There, in addition to his clinical work, he established an experimental laboratory, one of the first of its kind, for the study of neurological disease using MR imaging and spectroscopy. In 1993, Sutherland was appointed the head of Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Calgary. In collaboration with NRC-Canada, he developed the world's first intraoperative MRI system based on a moveable l.5T magnet. With MDA, Sutherland also developed neuroArm, an image-guided MR-compatible robotic system. In 2004, Dr. Sutherland received the Manning Award of Distinction for this work, in 2007, the Alberta Science and Technology Leadership Foundation award and in 2008, the City of Calgary Signature Award. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal 2012 and in 2013, the American Astronautical Society and NASA for the earth applications of space technology. He received the CIHR-CMAJ Top Achievements in Health Research Award in 2013 for his scientific accomplishments. He has given over 260 national and international lectures and published 190 manuscripts, 15 patents and 29 book excerpts. In 2011, Sutherland was appointed to the Order of Canada for his lifetime achievement in healthcare innovation and in 2014, was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame for neuroArm. In July 2015, Dr. Sutherland was awarded with the NASA Highest Technology Achievement Medal for his work on neuroArm.


Areas of Research

Area of Focus
  • Brain Tumours
  • Skull Base
  • Robotics-technology
  • Cerebrovascular disease
Summary of Research

Dr. Sutherland continues to advance medical robotics with a translational focus, with his current academic interest spanning advanced haptics in medical robotics, molecular imaging with targeted contrast agents in traumatic brain injury and brain tumours, molecular characterization and vibration based profiling of brain tumours, sensorized smart surgical tools technology and virtual reality in surgical simulation. Our research has resulted in the development of an intraoperative MRI system based on a movable magnet. Here in Calgary, the initial prototype 1.5T system was used to evaluate neurosurgery in over 950 patients. Based on this success, the system was upgraded to 3.0T. Over 100 patients have been studied using this novel technology. The technology formed the foundation of a spin off company, IMRIS Inc ( The company now has over 30 sites, including Boston Mass General, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Yale University, Johns Hopkins University and the main military hospital in Beijing, China. Through these installations, the research program has become internationally based and used in over 3000 cases worldwide. Related to the intraoperative imaging program, the research group went on to design, manufacture and integrate an image-guided MR-compatible robotic system called neuroArm. ( The technology is currently being evaluated in the iMRI operating theatre. The robotics research program includes an Advanced Engineering and Prototyping Laboratory, Surgical Performance-Haptics Laboratory, a Telementoring and Debriefing Room, and an Experimental OR for the development of neuroArm II. In collaboration with NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics, the research group has been developing multi-channel RF coils for 3T integration. Over the past five years, the research group have collaborated on a CIHR Team Grant that has resulted in the development of bi-modal cell-specific nanoparticles. The particles will be used to enhance various imaging aspects of the iMRI and robotics programs.  Based on observations that ceramics, in particular zirconia, do not result in MRI susceptibility artifact, ceramic aneurysm clips have been developed. This research required collaboration with industrial partners located in British Columbia.


  • Significant portrayal in media, 2016
  • award, NASA. 2015
  • commendation, 2015
  • Appointed Professor of Neurosurgery, The Fourth Hospital of Harbin Medical University, University of Calgary. 2014
  • award, 2014
  • Nomination for Cushing's Award for Technical Excellence and Innovation in Neurosurgery 2015, 2014
  • American Astronomical Society Award, 2013
  • award, Governor General of Canada. 2013
  • CIHR-CMAJ Top Achievements in Health Research, 2013
  • award, Government of Canada. 2012
  • Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2012
  • Order of Canada, 2012
  • award, 2011
  • Life Science Alley Luminary Award, 2011
  • award, 2009
  • Signature Award, City of Calgary, 2008
  • award, 2007
  • FPTT Excellence in Technology Transfer Award, 2007
  • Outstanding Leadership in Alberta Technology, Alberta Science and Technology Awards Foundation. 2007
  • Canadian Healthcare Manager's Who's Who Awards, 2005
  • Joseph Doupe Lecturer, University of Manitoba. 2004
  • Manning Award of Distinctiion, 2004
  • Manning Award of Distinction, 2004
  • Induction into the Space technology Hall of Fame, 2000
  • Adjunct Professor, Medical University of Vienna, 1994