STORIES: Center for Brain Imaging Science
Researchers: Susumi Mori, Marilyn Albert, Michael Miller

The Center for Brain Imaging (CBIS ) is one of the important resources in the growth of the Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University. It provides a tremendous resource for neuroscience investigators who would benefit from incorporating imaging into their studies along with support from imaging specialists.

The CBIS incorporates and consolidates expertise from Hopkins’ various imaging-dedicated centers to create a university-wide resource in the understanding and use of imaging techniques for neuroscience research.

The translational goals of the CBIS are both immediate and long-term. Short-term the Center will make accessible very high-quality anatomical MRI, MR spectroscopy, functional MRI, and newer offshoots such as diffusion tensor imaging. The primary users are researchers with basic and clinical neuroscience studies in fields including neurology, psychiatry, developmental biology, psychology, genetics, pathology and biomedical engineering.

The Center’s ultimate long-term purpose upholds the traditional meaning of translation by improved imaging in Hopkins’ brain-oriented projects to hasten therapies for brain diseases.

The timing is right for the creation of the CBIS. First, there’s a bottleneck in the imaging field that interferes with the progress of biomedical research. This problem is not in the ability to acquire good data from imaging. Quality images are so easily generated that the volume overwhelms researchers and clinicians. The new bottleneck lies in not being able to quantify information from a glut of images or interpret it rapidly enough. It’s the access to good image analysis that must increase.

Once high-quality images are generated, the CBIS provides a bridge to analysis in several ways. Offering training – both individual and group – in the most widely used image analysis techniques. This educational arm of CBIS will make computers and training available on a daily basis. The demand for this training is high.

In addition, the CBIS centralizes services for image analysis, particularly for projects with high-quality anatomical images. While imaging analysis occurs now at Hopkins, CBIS’s efforts will ultimately add workstations, improve the ease and quality of analysis and foster wider use of high-quality imaging.

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