Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Auburn University
“I was a lifelong chain smoker. Nothing in the world could stop me from smoking. Then, one day I had brain injury and my Insula was damaged. When I woke up, it felt like the urge to smoke had suddenly disappeared. It was as if a switch had been turned off. I could not believe what I was experiencing”
- By an anonymous ex chain smoker
PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
On behalf of the OHBM Diversity & Inclusivity Committee
The last two years have brought new challenges for the members of our global OHBM community. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted and exacerbated existing inequities in having access to healthcare, including vaccines. During this time, we have also witnessed persistent racial and/or ethnocultural discrimination, which continues to affect members of our Society around the globe. Finally, while our recent survey indicated that many of our members have reported positive changes that support Diversity and Inclusivity at OHBM in the past two years, there is still a major lack of geographical representation within our Council and at our annual meeting. We, the OHBM Diversity & Inclusivity Committee, will continue to shine a light on these issues by discussing existing barriers and proposing solutions at the OHBM meeting Diversity Symposium and Roundtable events. We also continue to engage the “scientists of the future” around the world in our 2nd annual multilingual Kids Live Review (virtual) events.
Authored on behalf of SEA-SIG, with figures from SEA-SIG’s forthcoming Symposium and publication
One of the great things about science is that it brings people together from around the world. These international connections allow people to share information and perspectives, driving knowledge forward. They also give us opportunities to meet new, interesting people and in doing so perhaps understand the world a little better. Unfortunately though, the possibility for people to come together physically from long distances also has some downsides for this planet that we all share.
As we know, Earth is facing a climate crisis. Human-induced changes in the climate are already showing their effect and are only set to get worse in the coming years. One driver of this crisis has been greenhouse gas pollution from air transport, representing around 4% of total such emissions. Even though a relatively small part of this total, we all contribute to it when we fly to connect with other scientists.
Postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. OHBM Communications Committee chair.
With the annual meeting coming up, it’s getting very busy around OHBM. If you’re wondering what some of our committees and special interest groups (SIGs) have been and are up to, read on!
Leadership of OHBM is the responsibility of a duly elected 15 member Council supported and extended by numerous committees, chapters, special interest groups (SIGs), and a professional Executive Office staff team. Have you ever wondered who the people running OHBM are and how they got there?
Alfie Wearn and Yohan Yee
It’s May already, and that means one thing: OHBM 2022 is less than two months away. After two years of virtual-only conferencing, we are ready and excited to return to an in-person meeting! We are extremely excited to augment the “in-person” meeting -- for the first time -- with an online hybrid experience that supports the many individuals who will participate remotely.
Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, FMRIB, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford
Pre-registration has the potential to change how neuroscience research is performed. Its benefits may be hotly debated, but if you’re reading this post you’re probably at least curious about when pre-registration may be a good idea. Here, I’m going to share 10 tips that I wish I had known at the beginning of my journey into pre-registration. I won’t go into depth about the benefits of pre-registration and the various debates about it, which have been covered elsewhere.
For all the talk about pre-registration in the research community, pre-registered studies are still relatively rare. A preprint by Hardwicke et al. estimates that 5% of psychology studies are pre-registered, and the percentage is probably even lower in neuroimaging (although see this preprint for a more optimistic outlook).
The low uptake of pre-registration in neuroimaging may be partially because it can feel daunting to pre-register a study for the first time, especially in a field where previous examples are hard to come by. In the spirit of open science, in this post I will share some tips and tricks from the perspective of an early-career researcher who finished their first pre-registered study while knowing little about pre-registration, and open science in general.
I’ve summarised these tips and tricks in 10 points:
Presented on behalf of the OHBM Diversity and Inclusivity Committee
The OHBM Diversity and Inclusivity Committee (DIC) strives to engage in open dialogue with the community in order to better serve its diverse membership. We are committed to continually educating ourselves regarding issues that impact all members, with a focus on ensuring an inclusive experience for everyone at OHBM sponsored activities. In January 2021, the DIC collected feedback from the OHBM membership in a survey entitled: “Survey of Member Views on Inclusivity at OHBM”. This survey was designed to collect quantitative metrics and qualitative responses regarding feelings of “belongingness” in our membership. Free response questions were included to identify areas of concern for OHBM to work on improving. Finally, the survey also collected demographics and other identification characteristics of our membership.
Here we present a summary of survey responses and provide suggestions for addressing the concerns raised.
This is an ongoing conversation – please leave comments below.
Looking forward to this year’s OHBM annual meeting, but not sure what to expect from a conference in 2022? While OHBM2022 will have both a hybrid and virtual experience, meeting in-person in Glasgow will offer unique opportunities to (re-)connect with brain-mapping colleagues. The Student-Postdoc Special Interest Group (SP-SIG) has some tips and tricks for making the most of the in-person experience! Check out their post below, originally shared on the SP-SIG blog.
This year, the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) is planning an in person, hybrid Annual Meeting from Sunday, June 19th to Thursday, June 23rd at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, Scotland. Virtual keynotes and poster sessions will occur from June 7–8th, 2022. Scientific conferences are an integral part of most scientific disciplines, providing scientists of all career stages the opportunity to share new research. They allow attendees to deepen their understanding of a topic, to meet new people, and to gain fresh perspectives in different disciplines. Multiple days of uninterrupted learning and sharing of ideas with others in the neuroimaging community might sound like a dream come true to some. It may be quite daunting for others, as we emerge from two years of remote life, with limited social stimulation. Furthermore, for many, this will be the first in-person conference of their scientific careers. Here, we hope to share some tips and guidelines for maximizing your experience at the conference.
The OHBM Standards and Best Practices (SBP) committee aims to advance the work of our community by helping to develop and promote best scientific practices within the field. Committee co-chairs Jack Van Horn and Peter Bandettini sat down with Ilona Lipp and Claude Bajada to learn more about the history of and ongoing efforts in the committee.
Here we briefly exchange ideas on how OHBM can help in maximizing the quality of science by introducing people to the best practice recommendations—for instance, through the Committee on Best Practices in Data Analysis and Sharing (COBIDAS), which was initiated by the OHBM Council in June 2014.
This year, OHBM’s annual meeting will be held in Glasgow, in Bonnie Scotland! This 28th annual meeting, from the 19th to 23rd of June, features a packed scientific programme where you’ll discover the latest in neuroimaging developments from around the world. At the same time, there’ll be a whole host of events to facilitate networking, to show you the delights of the Scottish Lowlands, and to quench that thirst for physical conferences that many of us have developed over the past years*.
The conference is geared for researchers at all career stages. The core of the meeting remains the keynote speakers and symposia. This year you can hear from our Talairach awardee, Prof Andres Lozano, about his truly phenomenal work combining imaging with deep brain stimulation. Find out about the brain basis of social decision making from Dr Yina Ma, machine learning models and pattern recognition in neuroimaging from Prof Janaina Mourao-Miranda, and about how oscillatory brain activity enables cognition from Prof Ole Jensen, amongst others. Take part in Sunday’s educational events, where you can learn from world-leading experts about quantitative MRI, neuroanatomy, physiologic fMRI, time varying functional connectivity, or develop a core understanding in a number of fields.
Join in with the open science activities. The annual OHBM hackathon takes place in Glasgow from the 16th to 18th June. The open science room, now a central feature of the annual meeting, has activities planned throughout - symposia, table topics (with group discussions and Q&As) and emergent sessions. Find out how researchers from developing countries have tackled open science practices and what they’ve learned, debunk myths about open code and learn about various career paths in academia and industry after the PhD. Dive into the many activities covering the sea of open science - how can you miss out on that?
Once you’re saturated with ideas for new experiments from the talks and posters, amble out to find that whilst Glasgow may not be as well known as Edinburgh, it offers a less crowded, more authentic Scottish experience (perhaps with your new collaborators from the poster hall):
Latin America (LATAM) is a region formed by countries and territories united by romance languages and a similarly complicated history of colonization by Spain, Portugal and France. LATAM spans from Mexico in North America to Central and South America, as well as countries in the Caribbean like Cuba. Most countries in LATAM are considered as developing: their academic and research funding is usually lower than developed countries, and 3 Tesla MRI scanners are usually found in hospitals and shared by researchers and clinicians, a situation that is always challenging. Some countries even have only a single 3T MRI scanner. That said, there have been great efforts by neuroimaging groups in the last 20 years to develop research and education. Researchers in LATAM who studied neuroimaging in the US, Canada or Europe, came back and have been training new students and developing their own research, usually building MRI labs from scratch. Now, there is a new generation of LATAM trained researchers pushing the field forward. Here, we consider how researchers from these countries have grown and developed neuroimaging research in the region.
Elizabeth DuPre (Lead editor):
While many of us hoped that 2021 would be back to “business as usual,” it instead offered a chance to re-evaluate our relationship to one another and to the larger systems we find ourselves in. The OHBM blog, too, often took a reflective tone, with posts on the ongoing work from the brain mapping community as well as the past, present, and future of how we communicate these efforts. We reviewed our second fully-virtual meeting and looked ahead to a new hybrid future, with a new OHBM2022 post series to highlight the behind-the-scenes work that makes the annual meeting possible. The OHBM podcast NeuroSalience offered thoughtful conversations with community leaders across brain mapping, providing a consistent bright spot in continued uncertainty. I hope that the new year brings you and yours health and happiness, and I look forward to continue highlighting our OHBM community!
Eduardo A. Garza-Villarreal:
I joined the OHBM ComCom in 2020 during the pandemic, a very difficult time for everyone, and especially challenging for us in the developing world. But things are improving with vaccination. I have a role as the leader of the laymedia team where we work on science communication for the general public. This year I worked on a keynote blogpost for OHBM 2021 keynote interview series and finished a post on Neuroimaging in Latin America where I highlighted the research from several groups across the region. I hope this new year brings more lay media articles to share with the world.
As we approach the deadline for OHBM2022 abstract and symposia submissions, we are eagerly preparing for our first hybrid meeting this June. The Virtual Integration Taskforce (VITF) has released a few teasers about their plans for what we hope to be the best ever virtual poster experience at OHBM or any conference. And the OHBM Council and Executive Office have just announced comprehensive COVID-19 protocols to make the in-person component a safe and enjoyable experience. In this installment of our OHBM2022 blog series, we peek behind the curtains to let you in on some of the exciting planned virtual and in-person activities for OHBM2022. After this sneak peek, you will want to submit an abstract of your work in progress as soon as possible. Just a quick reminder, one of the limitations of this year’s hybrid meeting format is that we will NOT extend deadlines for abstracts or symposium proposals. So submit now! (or rather, after you finished reading the blogpost).
By Ilona Lipp
2021 has been a busy year for OHBM. If you’re wondering what some of our committees and special interest groups (SIGs) have been and are up to, read on! We have contributions by the Aperture Oversight Committee, the Best Practices Committee, the Program Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board, the BrainArt SIG, the Sustainability and Environmental Action SIG and the Communications Committee.
More than a year and a half after the first COVID-19 restrictions were set in place, we are finally in a position where we can once again, tentatively, look forward to meeting and sharing our science face-to-face (albeit with those faces probably still masked). That said, not everyone is yet ready or able to get back to in-person gatherings, and if there is anything that the pandemic has taught us, it is the importance of staying flexible in uncertain situations. It is too early to know for sure what next year will bring, but with the abstract deadline fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what your next OHBM annual meeting will look like.
The upcoming OHBM2022 annual meeting will be a ‘best-of-both-worlds’ event, comprising a fully in-person programme with some hybrid features AND a fully virtual component for those not physically present. Through the previous two meetings, we have built up a wealth of experience on what does and doesn’t work in online spaces. Last year’s Technology Task Force created ‘Planet Brain’ - an interactive alien environment, with many features familiar to us from real-life conferences. Once the initial technical issues were ironed out, feedback for this format was mixed; it was very positive for many, but really unsatisfactory for others. We know that whatever platform is selected for 2022, the mission of bridging the virtual experience with an in-person event requires careful, thoughtful work.
Specially assigned to this mission is the newly formed OHBM 2022 Virtual Integration Taskforce (VITF), enlisting the help of volunteer leaders who will coordinate with the Program Committee in deciding how OHBM2022 meeting content will be distributed through our online and in-person spaces.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to dramatically impact daily life across the globe, though the efficacy of vaccines and public health measures has allowed many to resume “normal” activities (although often in modified form) in the past few months. In the academic research world, one aspect that has yet to return on a large scale is the in-person conference. Most of these meetings quickly transitioned to virtual formats early in the pandemic, but—as was demonstrated recently by the Society for Neuroscience’s hybrid-turned-virtual-only experience—the re-transition back to in-person meetings is not straightforward.
In this new blog series, the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) is aiming for total transparency regarding the 2022 Annual Meeting. While many details are being worked out and the need for flexibility remains high, the conference is currently being planned as an in-person meeting in June in Glasgow, Scotland. There will also be virtual components to the conference to complement the physical meeting, although the details are yet to be determined.
Aperture Neuro Celebrates One Year Anniversary with New Publishing Platform and First Published Research Object
Aperture Neuro (previously Aperture) is excited to announce its first published Research Object and the launch of a new open-source publishing platform, Kotahi (a Coko Community product).
It has been one year since Aperture Neuro, the new open-access publishing platform powered by the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, officially opened for submissions. In that time, 20 Research Objects have been submitted and reviewed, and four of those have already been accepted for publication. More Research Objects are currently being revised and reviewed and we look forward to announcing more published Research Objects in the near future.
With this launch, we wanted to highlight the first Aperture Neuro publication, share some of the exciting features of the new platform, review the types of Research Objects authors can submit, and discuss the ways OHBM members can support this exciting initiative.
By Peter Bandettini
Episode produced by Kevin Sitek and Rachael Stickland
S2 Ep5: Jack Gallant, Strong opinions about fMRI analysis
MRI is ultimately about separating a known but variable signal from highly variable noise. How one does this makes all the difference, and fMRI is particularly challenging since what is signal and what is noise is not always clear as they both vary in time and space. Jack is a huge proponent of fMRI encoding or, more generally, careful model building to probe the time series, and he thinks that more model-free approaches and paradigm-free methods are ultimately limited. The discussion gets technical as well as intense at times. The points he makes are important. While we agreed most of the time, there were some nuanced differences of opinion - mostly when it came to discussing alternative methods for probing fMRI data. Overall, it was a fun and hopefully useful discussion! What does come through is his passion for what he does. Given that we only barely got into my questions, we scheduled a follow-up conversation with him.
S2 Ep6: Jack Gallant, Deriving fundamentals of brain organization with fMRI
The first podcast with Jack delved so deeply into his approach to assessing fMRI data and his philosophy of doing good science that we really didn’t get a chance to talk about either his groundbreaking results or what questions they open up. In this episode, we cover both of these topics in-depth. First, we discuss his fascinating and potentially paradigm shifting results on widely-distributed, semantic maps in the brain that shift and warp depending on the task itself. These results, at least in my opinion, open up new avenues for insight into fundamentals of brain organization. The brain is not just a conglomeration of distinct and static modules, but a shifting landscape of representation, much of which may be shaped primarily by our experience in the world. How our attention shifts these landscapes is an open and potentially profound question. Here we also discuss prospects for layer fMRI as well as the challenges of clinical MRI. It was a rich and engaging discussion with one of the true luminaries in the field.
About the guest:
Jack Gallant, Ph.D. is a neuroscientist and engineer at heart who trained with David Van Essen at Wash U. He is currently a Chancellor’s Professor of Psychology and Class of 1940 Endowed Chair at UC Berkeley and is affiliated with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He is also affiliated with the graduate programs in Bioengineering, Biophysics, Neuroscience and Vision Science. His work spans from single unit recordings, to whole brain fMRI, embracing the whole of computational neuroscience, setting extremely high standards, technical rigor, creativity, and insight.
By Peter Bandettini
Episode produced by Rachael Stickland and Anastasia Brovkin
AFNI is a major processing package used by brain mapping groups all over the world. It is nearly as old as fMRI itself and has been steadily growing in functionality as the field has evolved. Here we discuss how it all started as well as a few of the challenges of fMRI processing that have arisen over the years. Importantly, we explore the philosophy underlying a key tenet of AFNI development: the ability for researchers to drill down and look directly at the data. This emphasis on flexibly and efficiently visualizing the data at all processing steps not only guards against problematic data and hidden artifacts but is also a catalyst for new analysis ideas. We discuss a bit of the future of analysis and the bottleneck for clinical implementations.
It’s happened again. Summer (in the Northern hemisphere) has left us, and now we’re left with just memories of the balmier days of 2021. And with that, it’s a good time to reflect on the events of summer—and in particular OHBM2021. This was the second virtual edition of the annual OHBM meeting, with the online-only format offering unique challenges and opportunities.
Considerable planning and effort from many teams of volunteers and OHBM staff members went into the development of the new platform—affectionately dubbed “Planet Brain” by past Chair Aina Puce. Leadership took the higher-risk path to work with a new-to-the-market and, critically, open-source vendor, Sparkle, in hopes of achieving a much more engaging virtual experience that captured more of the true OHBM meeting spirit. But how did you think it went? Here we summarize some results from the two surveys that were sent out, one to annual meeting attendees to gather information about their experience and another to OHBM members, whether they registered for the meeting or not, to find out their views on future meetings. We provide anonymized responses to the Annual Meeting Feedback survey, alternative visualizations, and an environment for their re-analysis at https://emdupre.github.io/ohbm2021-survey-feedback/
By Peter Bandettini
Episode produced by Nils Muhlert and Rachael Stickland
Peter talks to Nikola Stikov, a physicist, engineer and a strong proponent of quantitative and reproducible MRI for further clinical traction and impact. This involves promoting open science, creating shared analysis toolboxes, and fostering data and code sharing across researchers and vendors. As mature as MRI is, we are still just scratching the surface of what information it can provide. Nikola is a gifted and passionate communicator; this conversation touches on his research in using MRI to derive information about cell structure in the brain and the potential uses in understanding brain connectivity as well as pathology. Also discussed is Nikola’s many initiatives regarding open science, dissemination of results, publishing - and how outdated the PDF is, and science outreach.
Nikola Stikov, PhD. Nikola Stikov is a professor of Biomedical Engineering, a researcher at the Montreal Heart Institute, and co-director of NeuroPoly, the Neuroimaging Research Laboratory at Polytechnique Montreal. Dr. Stikov received his Ph.D. degree at Stanford University, working with John Pauly and Dwight Nishimura, then carried out his postdoctoral training with Dr. Bruce Pike at the Montreal Neurological Institute. In 2014, Dr. Stikov was elected Junior Fellow of the ISMRM.
His research spans the gamut of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging, from basic issues of standardization and accuracy, to biophysical modeling, microstructural imaging and clinical applications. His group is particularly interested in developing and validating novel biomarkers for non-invasive characterization of the brain and heart microstructure during development, disease and treatment, thus pushing the boundaries of the emerging field of in vivo histology.
Over the years, he has become active in open science and science communication, founding the MRM Highlights, OHBM Blog, and the Canadian Open Science Platform (CONP). He is also the founder of MRBalkan, a conference series associated with ISMRM that has been held on the Balkan Peninsula (Macedonia, Turkey, and Slovenia).
By Peter Bandettini
Episode produced by Anastasia Brovkin and Nils Muhlert
In this wide ranging discussion, Peter and Melanie Boly address everything related to her work on consciousness. They start with some of her early work on resting state as a modulator for detecting subtle stimuli and then get into a discussion on a working definition of consciousness and her work on understanding the neural correlates of consciousness. Melanie is a proponent of the idea that many, if not all, of the fundamental physical correlates of consciousness reside in the posterior part of the brain. Peter and Melanie also discuss Integrated Information Theory (IIT): how it helps us begin to understand consciousness. Lastly they consider her studies of sleep and how dreaming is not limited to REM sleep. This interesting discussion straddles theoretical work and practical clinical applications of brain imaging.
Melanie Boly, MD, PhD. Melanie Boly is a neurologist and neuroscientist who has worked for more than fifteen years in the field of altered states of consciousness such as vegetative state, sleep and anesthesia. She has worked with and has been mentored by such people as Stephen Laureys, Adrian Owen, Marcelo Massimini, and Karl Friston. Her research is directed at combining neuroimaging techniques such as PET, fMRI, TMS-EEG, and high-density EEG to a theoretical framework, known as the Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness, hoping to uncover the neural mechanisms associated with levels of consciousness as well as its contents in healthy subjects and neurological patients. She has over 150 publications and is Associate Editor of the journals Neuroimage, Frontiers in Consciousness Research, Frontiers in Brain Imaging Methods and Neuroscience of Consciousness. Currently, she is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin in the Neurology department, with a secondary appointment in Psychology. She received her MD in 2005 and her Ph.D. in 2009 both from the University of Liege, Belgium. From 2009-2014 she did post docs at the University of Liege, University College London, and then the University of Wisconsin, Madison. By all measures, Dr. Boly is a rising star in advancing our understanding of the neural correlates of altered states of consciousness. She also collaborates with many luminaries in consciousness research including Christof Koch and Giulio Tononi.
By Peter Bandettini and Rachael Stickland
Fresh new sounds welcome you back to season 2 of the Neurosalience podcast! In this episode Peter Bandettini talks to production lead Rachael Stickland. They summarize the types of podcasts released in Season 1, the experience of making the podcast so far, and episodes and themes coming up in Season 2. This episode production is by Nils Muhlert and Anastasia Brovkin.
Through their chat, Peter and Rachel answer the question: Who is involved in making this podcast? Peter Bandettini contacts guests, prepares for interviews, and carries out these interviews, as host of the podcast. This process is supported by a wider team of volunteers who also package the episodes for production: Anastasia Brovkin, Ekaterina Dobryakova, Katie Moran, Nils Muhlert, Kevin Sitek and Rachael Stickland. Roselyne Chauvin adapted the OHBM logo into the great podcast logo. All these people are members or contributors with the OHBM Communication Committee; there are also many other people in this committee that have supported the podcast, contributing ideas to help get it up and running and to keep it going. If you don’t know much about this committee see this recent blog post that tells you all about it in the form of a chat with past and current chairs and chair-elects. They even talk about how the idea for the podcast came about and their thoughts on it. If you have thoughts for future episodes, share them with us by emailing ohbmbrain AT gmail.com.