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Julien Cohen-Adad
Phd (Paris/Montreal), MSc (Rennes), Eng (Paris)

Research interests and affiliations

Research interests

My lab is developing advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques for quantitative assessment of the brain and spinal cord structure. These developments include hardware (coils), MRI sequences (relaxometry, diffusion tensor imaging, magnetization transfer, functional MRI) and software (multimodal registration, segmentation, motion correction, distortion correction). There is a strong focus on translating research developments into clinics, aiming to improve the diagnosis and prognosis in patients suffering from neurological diseases and traumas. 

The environment is highly multi-disciplinary. We interact with biomedical engineers, physicists, radiologists, neurologists and neurophysiologists. Plus, our lab collaborates with the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Harvard, therefore some projects will involve travelling to Boston. Projects include:

  • Developing methods for spinal cord MRI in multiple sclerosis (collaboration with Harvard),
  • Studying features of the brain using ultra-high field MRI (collaboration with Harvard),
  • Development of deep learning methods for analysis of medical images
  • Development of open source software for medical imaging applications
  • Building of MRI antenna
Expertise type(s) (NSERC subjects)
  • 1901 Biomedical technology
  • 3102 Nuclear physics


Recent publications
Journal article
Badji, A., de la Colina, A.N., Karakuzu, A., Duval, T., Desjardins-Crepeau, L., Joubert, S., Bherer, L., Lamarre-Cliche, M., Stikov, N., Girouard, H. & Cohen-Adad, J. (2019). Arterial stiffness and white matter integrity in the elderly: a diffusion tensor and magnetization transfer imaging study. Neuroimage, 186, 577-585. Retrieved from
Journal article
Gros, C., De Leener, B., Badji, A., Maranzano, J., Eden, D., Dupont, S.M., Talbott, J., Zhuoquiong, R., Liu, Y., Granberg, T., Ouellette, R., Tachibana, Y., Hori, M., Kamiya, K., Chougar, L., Stawiarz, L., Hillert, J., Bannier, E., Kerbrat, A., Edan, G., Labauge, P., Callot, V., Pelletier, J., Audoin, B., Rasoanandrianina, H., Brisset, J.-C., Valsasina, P., Rocca, M.A., Filippi, M., Bakshi, R., Tauhid, S., Prados, F., Yiannakas, M., Kearney, H., Ciccarelli, O., Smith, S., Treaba, C.A., Mainero, C., Lefeuvre, J., Reich, D.S., Nair, G., Auclair, V., McLaren, D.G., Martin, A.R., Fehlings, M.G., Vahdat, S., Khatibi, A., Doyon, J., Shepherd, T., Charlson, E., Narayanan, S. & Cohen-Adad, J. (2019). Automatic segmentation of the spinal cord and intramedullary multiple sclerosis lesions with convolutional neural networks. NeuroImage, 184, 901-915. Retrieved from
Journal article
Duval, T., Saliani, A., Nami, H., Nanci, A., Stikov, N., Leblond, H. & Cohen-Adad, J. (2019). Axons morphometry in the human spinal cord. NeuroImage, 185, 119-128. Retrieved from


Dr. Cohen-Adad is an MR physicist with over 12 years of experience in advanced MRI methods for quantitative assessment of the brain and spinal cord structure and function. He is an associate professor at Polytechnique Montreal, adjunct professor of neuroscience at the University of Montreal and associate director of the Neuroimaging Functional Unit (Univ. Montreal). Along with his colleague Prof. Nikola Stikov, he is directing the NeuroPoly Lab (, which includes about 20 graduate students and research associates. Dr. Cohen-Adad published 110+ articles (3500+ citations) and, as a leader in the field, he has organized multiple workshops at international conferences (e.g. Spinal Cord MRI Workshops: Milan ’14, Toronto 15’, Singapore 16’, Honolulu 17’, Paris 18’). He is a frequent guest lecturer on advanced MRI methods (60+ invited talks, not counting conference abstracts) and he regularly serves as consultant for CROs (e.g. Biospective Inc.) and academics (Harvard, U. Toronto, UCL, UCSF, etc.) for setting up MRI acquisition and image processing protocols. Regarding editorial experience, he initiated and led the edition of the first book on “quantitative MRI of the spinal cord” (Elsevier, 36 authors). In 2015 he received a Canada Research Chair (in Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and was also awarded the competitive Foundation Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


  • GBM6125
  • GBM6904/7904
  • GBM8378

Supervision at Polytechnique


  • Ph.D. Thesis (2)

    • De Leener, B. (2017). Development of an MRI template and analysis pipeline for the spinal cord and application in patients with spinal cord injury (Ph.D. Thesis, École Polytechnique de Montréal). Retrieved from
    • Duval, T. (2017). Quantification de la microstructure de la moelle épinière humaine par IRM et application chez des patients avec sclérose en plaques (Ph.D. Thesis, École Polytechnique de Montréal). Retrieved from
  • Master's Thesis (9)

    • Gros, C. (2018). Automatic Segmentation of Intramedullary Multiple Sclerosis Lesions (Master's Thesis, École Polytechnique de Montréal). Retrieved from
    • Zaimi, A. (2018). Automatic axon and myelin segmentation of microscopy images and morphometrics extraction (Master's Thesis, École Polytechnique de Montréal). Retrieved from
    • Germain, G. (2017). Une antenne hybride RF/shimming pour l'IRM de la moelle épinière (Master's Thesis, École Polytechnique de Montréal). Retrieved from
    • Saliani, A. (2017). Construction d'un atlas de la microstructure de la matière blanche de la moelle épinière chez le rat à partir d'acquisitions histologiques (Master's Thesis, École Polytechnique de Montréal). Retrieved from
    • Vuong, M.T. (2017). Comparison of Myelin Imaging Techniques in Ex Vivo Spinal Cord (Master's Thesis, École Polytechnique de Montréal). Retrieved from
    • Lévy, S. (2016). Caractérisation de la microstructure des voies spinales humaines par IRM multiparamétrique (Master's Thesis, École Polytechnique de Montréal). Retrieved from
    • Mangeat, G. (2016). Study of Human Cortical Microstructure Using Magnetization Transfer and T2* Mapping with Application in Multiple Sclerosis (Master's Thesis, École Polytechnique de Montréal). Retrieved from
    • Foias, A. (2015). Design and Construction of a Highly Sensitive Coil for MRI of the Spinal Cord (Master's Thesis, École Polytechnique de Montréal). Retrieved from
    • De Leener, B. (2014). Segmentation automatique de la moelle épinière sur des images de résonance magnétique par propagation de modèles déformables (Master's Thesis, École Polytechnique de Montréal). Retrieved from

Press review about Julien Cohen-Adad

February 8, 2016, Le Devoir, Les capacités d'apprentissage du système nerveux Image obtenue par résonance magnétique des faisceaux de fibres nerveuses (ou axones) qui descendent dans la moelle épinière et dont les corps cellulaires sont situés dans le cortex cérébral. ( Photo: Laboratoire du professeur Julien Cohen-Adad, École Polytechnique de Montréal).