Connectivity Course: Structural and Functional Brain Connectivity via MRI and fMRI

OCTOBER 26-30, 2020 – Virtual course

Issues associated with “connectivity” within the human brain are growing in importance. This can be seen in the significant number of abstracts, research articles and even entire journals devoted to this area, as well as in the increased emphasis on lesions in connections as 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 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).

In this five-day program, participants will learn about the technical challenges in acquisition, data processing and visualization of brain networks via functional MRI data. They will also receive a firm grounding in the power and limitations of using diffusion-sensitive MRI to detect and organize the anatomical structure of white matter tracts in the living human brain.

The primary goal of the 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), with the exception 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 structural and functional images.

The core faculty for the program 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 include representatives of the NIH, the Child Mind Institute of New York and others.



Please include an informal statement describing your background (academic, clinical, research, industrial, other), your experience with functional neuroimaging, fMRI, and resting state connectivity analysis. This is also an opportunity to state what you most hope to get out of the program. This biosketch will be distributed to the faculty and to other course participants. It should be no more than two paragraphs in length. PLEASE: Make the biosketch informal. It is intended to introduce you to the other participants and staff, not to apply for a job.
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The fee for the program is $1500. A reduced rate of $1000 is available to graduate students with a letter of verification from their Department Chairman. NOTE: MD's and Phd's do not qualify for the graduate student rate and normally are expected to pay the full fee. However, if a post-doctoral applicant is paying out-of-pocket (rather than the more normal grant-funded or institutionally-funded payment) then a discounted rate of $1250 is available. We need to receive your tuition payment promptly after you register (if your institution will be paying on your behalf, we will need a contact person from you to ensure that payment is 'in process'), in fairness to other people who may end up on a waiting list. Please contact us should special arrangements need to be made regarding payment. Course fees are refundable up to 30 days prior to the session. A $200 fee will be deducted, should you cancel and request a refund between 30 days and 21 days (3 weeks) prior to the program start. After that, the tuition can be applied to a future program, or can be 50% refunded.
If you are paying by credit card, you'll be brought to a payment page after you click SUBMIT. If you are paying by check or fund number, after you hit SUBMIT, you are done and we will contact you for further information.