Dog Star Technologies Visits Berkeley, CA

Dog Star Technologies Visits Berkeley, CA

This past week Mark Spivak, Greg Berns, and Andrew Brooks of Dog Star Technologies visited the University of California, Berkeley to conduct fMRI scans of 7 dogs that recently entered the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) adult training program. The 7 scans that occurred over the weekend of Jan 31- Feb 1 were the first of 50 total scans the group will analyze over a 2-year period.

The scans are a key part of a 7-figure contract between Dog Star and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The project for which Dog Star is contracted aims to find fMRI biomarkers and other correlates that accurately identify the working potential and suitability of service dog candidates.

Since service dogs provide valuable benefits to military veterans who return to civilian life wounded physically and/or psychologically, the Department of Defense has great interest in improving the identification and training of such dogs and providing financial economies of scale in the process. Consequently, tax dollars will go further by providing service dogs to a greater number of veterans.

Moreover, nonprofit service dog entities, such as CCI, will benefit from Dog Star’s research, as they will more efficiently allocate donor monies by exclusively training dogs that fMRI analysis has shown have the highest potential for success.

Dog Star Technologies is the primary contractor in the endeavor. Subcontractors include Emory University, GA Tech Research Corporation, the University of California, Berkeley, and CCI.

2015-01-31 Li Ka Shing Building- Reduced Size
The Li Ka Shing Building for Biomedical and Health Sciences where the team conducted the scans.
2015-01-31 Andrew and Ben in Control Room
Dog Star’s Andrew Brooks and UC Berkeley MRI Facility Manager Dr. Ben Inglis working out some IT issues. Ben Inglis and Rick Redfern, the Henry H. Wheeler Brain Imaging Center’s Research and Development Engineer, were magnificent in assisting the Dog Star and CCI Staff.















2015-01-31 Control Room
A view from the control room into the MRI.
2015-01-31 Harley in Scanner-2
CCI Trainer Erin Rich warming up Harley before his live scan. Erin and Kerinne Levy, CCI’s Research Coordinator, were invaluable to the weekend’s success.














2015-01-31 Scanner entry- Reduced size
The dog’s view of the scanner entrance.
2015-02-01- Computer Screen- UCB
A control room monitor during one of Harley’s functional scans.













Harley, Puzzle, Mia, Kiki
The CCI dogs scanned on SA Jan 31: Puzzle (on top) and Kiki, Harley, and Mia (sitting from left to right)
Campanile-Sather Tower-2
Sather Tower (“the campanile”) on the UC Berkeley campus.













Campanile Bells
The bells of The Campanile taken from the observation deck of Sather Tower.
View of Golden Gate from the Campanile
A view of the Golden Gate Bridge taken from the deck of Sather Tower. From atop Sather Tower one can see the Berkeley and Oakland Hills, all of the East Bay, most of San Francisco, and all the key Bay Area bridges. Interestingly, although Mark attended graduate school at UC Berkeley in the late 80’s, he never ventured to the top of Sather Tower until last weekend.











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