Our lab is engaged in a series of brain imaging projects around the common theme of quantitative brain mapping. We take advantage of the cutting edge 3-D computer imaging techniques to address long-standing neuroscientific questions.

We are developing new techniques for structural and functional brain mapping and apply these techniques to examine normal and pathological changes in brain anatomy. We have advanced our tissue classification methodologies and developed pipeline procedures to create probabilistic maps of normal neuroanatomy or neuropathology. At the same time, we have continued to develop the methodology to automatically measure the cortical thickness and studied the genetic influence on cortical sulcation.

We developed a technique to correct for partial volume effects in the extraction of the cortical surface and hence generate more accurate 3D surfaces. We also extended our statistical techniques for analysis of fMRI, cortical surfaces morphology and brain shape descriptors. We have demonstrated a novel new technique, which simplifies the functional mapping of cortical areas for visual cortex. This technique will be applied instudies of sensory and higher cognitive mechanisms.

We research and examine correlated changes in cortical thickness over time during normal development and aging as well as in specific brain disorders. Recent collaborative studies have shown a focal cortical thinning in entorhinal/perirhinal cortex in patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease which correlates with reduced performance on the MMSE memory task. We are now developing the techniques to identify correlated changes among brain regions, which might reflect a disease-specific degenerative pattern. This general methodology will be applied first in Alzheimer’s Disease but it will be applicable in other disorders as well as in normal development and normal aging.

International Scientific Collaborations:

Drs. John Mazziotta (UCLA), Arthur Toga (UCLA), Peter Fox (U. of Texas) Human Brain Mapping Consortium; Exchange of normative data and software for anatomical and functional neuroanatomical mapping of human brain.

Dr. Karl Zilles University of Dusseldorf, Anatomical brain mapping; Exchange of students, fellows, software.

Dr. Ryuta Kawashima Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer (IDAC), Sendai, Japan, Probabilistic neuroanatomy atlas; exchange of students, software and data.

Dr. Jong-Min Lee Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea, 3-D MRI-based quantitative analysis of human cerebral cortex; Exchange of sfotware, fellows.

Dr. Hilleke Hulshoff-Pol University of Utrecht, 3-D MRI-based quantitative analysis of psychiatric disorders; Exchange of software, fellows.

Dr. Judith Rapoport National Institute of Mental Health, 3-D MRI-based quantitative analysis of psychiatric disorders; Exchange of data, joint research.

Drs. Hans Breiter and Greg Gasic Harvard University Medical School, Genotype-phenotype multi-center study of drug addiction. Database network.