Cardiac Imaging Resources Core Laboratory Facility (CIRCL)

The Cardiac Imaging Resources Core Lab (CIRCL) was established in conjunction with the Canadian Atherosclerosis Imaging Network (CAIN), supported by Canada Foundation for Innovation and Canadian Institutes of Health Research funding support. The core boasts state-of-the-art multimodality clinical and preclinical image analysis tools and data transfer infrastructure.

The core utilizes a robust de-identification process to ensure all patient identifiers are removed from images and screen captures thus mitigating the risks associated with the transfer of patient-identifying health information. Imaging data (scans) are securely transferred via secure ftp and stored on UOHI servers according to GCP and TCPS requirements ensuring patient privacy and confidentiality. Review and comparison of current methods available for de-identification has shown that CIRCL provides an automated and efficient image de-identification process, more reliable than individuals scanning images and manually redacting PII.

The core lab offers the infrastructure and resources to support training of graduate, post graduate, post-doctoral and medical fellows. It enables its users to perform advanced image analysis, participate in multi-centre imaging research, and provide imaging core lab services to research projects of all sizes. CIRCL and its collaborators provide a full spectrum of consultation and technical services for successful project management from conception to completion.


  • Shared equipment and software for multi-modality imaging (Room H-S170A, H-S170B, H-S335)
  • Image de-identification, image data transfer, management, and archiving
  • Image analysis 
  • Imaging and interpretation standardization
  • Imaging protocol study design
  • Software development and prototyping
  • Training and education

Quick facts

  • Over $1M invested from CAIN-CFI, UOHI, Image-HF, MDS-Nordion, and other sources
  • Over 60TB of secure and regularly backed-up data storage
  • High-performance computing (HPC) capabilities (MATLAB, etc.)
  • More than a dozen modern computer work stations
  • Large, high-quality graphical displays
  • User-friendly and PHI-secure data transfer and anonymisation protocols
  • Dozens of unique imaging and statistical analysis software packages
  • Supported imaging modalities: DIDOM images (such as PET, µPET, SPECT, µSPECT, CT, µCT, ECHO, µECHO, MRI, etc.) and select other formats such as may be encountered with, e.g. histology
  • Over 60,000 lines of code written
  • Local support from the on-site CIRCL manager
  • An extensive and growing library of hard-copy monographs and e-books, freely available for internal use.


CIRCL and its participating researchers play a range of roles including:

  • Lead site – Main site administering a research project including funding, study design, study management, data analysis, and publication.
  • Core lab – A specialized lab, able to perform advanced analysis, quality assurance, and standardization of image acquisition and interpretation.
  • Imaging site – A site that acquires data and performs interpretation as part of a multi-center trial.

Funding Support