Your Guide to the fMRI25 Celebrations

January 4, 2017


Functional MRI, an advanced neuroimaging technique introduced with a pair of papers by Martinos Center investigators, turned 25 in November

The MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging has wrapped up its season-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of functional MRI. Here's a look at all of ways we commemorated this milestone.

- The celebrations kicked off with the launch of the fMRI25 website in early October. As well as providing an overview of the celebrations, the website offered an essay about the early history of fMRI: "The Life and Science of Jack Belliveau: An Oral History." Over the next two months other essays would be added, including "Behind the Cover: The Story of the Original fMRI Image," "Is Functional MRI the New X-Ray Vision?" and "On Introducing Noninvasive fMRI: A Conversation with Ken Kwong."

- On October 7, the Boston Museum of Science posted an episode of its Current Science & Technology podcast about the history of fMRI. This featured a fascinating conversation with Martinos Center director and fMRI pioneer Bruce Rosen about the past, present and future of the technique.

- November 1 was the day itself: the 25th anniversary of the Belliveau et al. Science paper that introduced fMRI to the world. We saw a flurry of activity on social media, and also posted an evocative essay by Jo Ann Fordham, the writer and editor for the Center at the time of the original experiments: "The Bespoken Image: History, The MGH-NMR Center, fMRI."

- Two weeks later, on November 15, Center investigator Jon Polimeni gave an excellent talk on the history of fMRI as part of the evening lecture series at the MGH Russell Museum. A video of the talk, "Watching the Mind at Work: 25 Years of fMRI," is available here.

- Dr. Rosen also spoke with MGH Hotline, the newsletter for the Massachusetts General Hospital community, about the history of the technique. Hotline posted a very nice article, “fMRI: 25 years later,” in early December.

- The keystone event—the fMRI25 symposium and receptiontook place on December 6. The symposium featured talks by pioneers of the technique as well as by leading experts in basic and cognitive neuroscience, clinical applications of fMRI, and more. Videos of all of the talks can be found here.

- Finally, on December 9, the Martinos Center hosted a reception marking the launch of the terrific fMRI exhibit put together by the team at the MGH Russell Museum. The exhibit will remain in the display cases on the first floor of Bldg. 149 in the Charlestown Navy Yard through the spring. Check it out. You won't want to miss it.