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Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging Connectivity Course: Structural and Functional Brain Connectivity via MRI and fMRI

Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging Connectivity Course:

Structural and Functional Brain Connectivity via MRI and fMRI

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA

Robert L. Savoy, Ph.D., Director of fMRI Education

Bruce R. Rosen, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the MGH/MIT/HMS Martinos Center

June 3-7, 2013

Program Code: 2013Jun03 

The Martinos Center introduced a new five-day program on functional and structural connectivity using MRI in December 2012. The next editions will be similar, with more time for hands-on exploration of the associated software tools.

Issues associated with "connectivity" within the human brain are of increasing importance, as reflected in the large number of abstracts, research articles, and even entire journals devoted to this area, as well as the increased emphasis on lesions in connections as being a source of many neuro-psychiatric disorders. MRI has proven to be a valuable tool for examining connectivity both in terms of the coordinated activities of neural networks (using BOLD-based fMRI data collected during rest and during tasks) and also in terms of the structural anatomy of white matter pathways of the brain (using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), Diffusion Spectrum Imaging (DSI), and Tractography to analyze and visualize the resulting data). Participants will learn about the technical challenges in acquisition, data processing and visualization of brain networks via functional MRI data. Participants will also receive a firm grounding in the power and limitations associated with using diffusion-sensitive MRI to detect and organize the anatomical structure of white matter tracts in the living human brain.

The primary goal of this program is to give researchers and clinicians a good "running start" for their investigations using these tools. In that sense, it serves a purpose analogous to that of the long-running Martinos Center's Functional MRI Visiting Fellowship Program (fMRIVFP), except that the domain will be structural and functional connectivity of myelinated fiber tracts within the living human brain. The "active component" of the program will be the use of software tools to promote quality assurance in the data, detect outliers and other problematic attributes of the data, optimize data acquisition, and flexibly visualize the data in the service of asking and answering specific questions. Participants will be expected (though not required) to bring a suitable laptop computer for engaging in the "hands-on" exercises of the program. There will also be a section on the “connectome MRI” machine that uses exceptionally strong gradients to enhance data acquisition of strutural and functional images.

Faculty: The core faculty is drawn from the staff of the Athinoula A. Martinos Center (of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and affiliated faculty from Harvard University, McLean Hospital and other local institutions. Guest lecturers will include representives of the NIH, Child Mind Institute of New York and others.

When & Where: This 5-day program will run Monday-Friday. It will be held at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in Charlestown, Massachusetts, a part of the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Posted on 12/04/2013

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