Faculty for Learning the CONN Toolbox


      Specific to the Cincinnati Workshop:  Dr. Whitfield-Gabrieli is the director at this program, which will focus on hands-on training in the use of the Conn software package.  In addition, to illustrate the efficacy of these tools, Dr. Whitfield-Gabrieli will be describing clinical applications based on the analysis of resting state fMRI data with Conn.

      Background with respect to the CONN software: Dr. Whitfield-Gabrieli co-developed commercial medical grade neuroimaging software used for analyzing high density EEG data in the 1980's.  In the 1990's she adopted some of the analytic approaches of EEG analysis into software for fMRI task-based data.  Specifically she developed tools for quality assurance (QA) art, region of interest analyses (ROI) and functional connectivity (FC) that were wrapped in a BIT (Brain Imaging Toolbox). These tools were widely used and resulted in publications from her own lab (e.g., Whitfield-Gabrieli et al., PNAS, 2009) and many other labs.   In recent years, the bulk of Dr. Whitfield-Gabrieli's research and development has been focussed on resting state fMRI data.  In that context, she started a fruitful collaboration with Dr. Alfonso Nieto-Castanon which has resulted in the Conn Toolbox (http://www.nitrc.org/projects/conn/) for analyzing resting state and task based functional connectivity as well as numerous methods and applications papers.  Alfonso (an undefeated Matlab champion - click here to see more)) has not only developed Conn but also developed region of interest analysis software (rex.m), enhanced the quality assurance software (art) and included both programs within the Conn distribution.

      Background with respect to teaching and training:  Dr. Whitfield-Gabrieli has been an active participant and designer of software and science training programs during the past 10 years, including quality assurance data for traditional task-based fMRI and, more recently and extensively, for the analysis and interpretation of resting state fMRI Data.  In this capacity she has been a principle speaker at numerous training workshops, both at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging (at both Martinos sites: the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and at off-campus workshops.

      General Scientific and Research Background and Current Interests:  Dr. Whitfield-Gabrieli is interested in how analyses of brain imaging data can shed light on the neural mechanisms subserving normal cognition and how disturbances of those mechanisms impair cognition in neurological and psychiatric diseases. Research applications of resting state functional MRI data include psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression; as well as developmental disorders such as dyslexia and ADHD. Her current research uses multimodal neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, DWI and EEG) to investigate the intrinsic functional and anatomical connectivity of the human brain with the ultimate goal of discovering biomarkers for improved diagnosis and prediction of therapeutic response



      Specific to the Cincinnati Workshop:  Dr. Nieto-Castañòn will be both a didactic lecturer and the primary hands-on trainer during the program in Cincinnati. He will be covering best practices in data processing and analyses of functional connectivity, as well as describing some of the latest tools for the analyses of connectomes and dynamic connectivity.

      Background with respect to the CONN software:  Dr. Nieto-Castañòn is the main software developer of CONN and is responsible for method development as well as creating improvements and extensions of the software. He has several decades of experience in Matlab and is an active member of the Matlab and data-scientist communities.

      Background with respect to teaching and training:  Dr. Nieto-Castañòn has been providing modeling and statistical support to research groups in neuroscience for the last 10 years. He participated in the recent Brain Connectivity Methods course held in Boston, and provides continuous support to CONN users through the NITRC forum.

      General Scientific and Research Background and Current Interests:  Dr. Nieto-Castañòn main interest is in the development of computational methods to help analyze and understand brain functioning. He participates in a wide array of projects including functional analyses and neural modeling of fine motor control in speech, development of brain computer interfaces for subjects with locked-in syndrome, research on psychopathology and developmental issues in bilingual children, functional localizers and multivoxel techniques investigating the selectivity of language-related areas, and research on neuromarkers for diagnostic and clinical applications.



      Specific to the Cincinnati Workshop:  Dr. Anteraper will be assisting with the hands-on portion of the workshop. She has served as the co-organizer of the pre-conference educational workshop in conjunction with the Fourth Biennial Conference on Resting State and Brain Connectivity, held in Cambridge Massachusetts in September of 2014.

      Background with respect to the CONN software:  Dr. Anteraper has provided several CONN demos in recent years, and is responsible for testing improvements to the software across various MATLAB platforms and SPM versions as necessary. She has used CONN in her own publications (e.g., Anteraper et al., Brain Connectivity, 2013, 2014) and continues to provide CONN support to researchers at the Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

      Background with respect to teaching and training:  Dr. Anteraper has a decade of experience in fMRI application support. She has organized several MRI applications training sessions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. More recently, she provided hands-on software support to researchers during the Connectivity Course held at the Massachusetts General Hospital in September of 2014.

      General Scientific and Research Background and Current Interests:  Dr. Anteraper is interested in novel neuroimaging applications of Simultaneous Multi-Slice (SMS) acquisition, capitalizing on the benefits offered by SMS methods, including superior temporal sampling and fMRI statistical power enhancements. As the co-organizer of the morning workshop on SMS during the Annual meeting of the Organization of Human Brain Mapping, June 2015, she is interested in specific SMS applications to resting state functional connectivity MRI.



        Specific to the Cincinnati Workshop:  Dr. Savoy has helped organize this program, and will be giving at least one overview lecture, orienting participants with respect to connectivity analysis using resting state fMRI data, and its general connection to task-based fMRI, clinical applications, and general research in cognitive neuroscience.  Dr. Savoy will be available for general discussion of such issues during the informal parts of the program.

      Background with respect to teaching and training:  Dr. Savoy has organized and run more than 100 week-long training programs related to fMRI, multimodality imaging, connectivity analysis, and associated software tools since 1994.  Dr. Whitfield-Gabrieli has been a critically important faculty member in many of those programs in recent years.

      General Scientific and Research Background and Current Interests:  Dr. Savoy has been involved with task-based fMRI research and teaching since the early 1990s.  His early fMRI research was largely devoted to the visual system and other sensory-motor systems.  Through the teaching, he became involved with a wide range of cognitive neuroscience investigations. Today, his primary activity is organizing workshops such as this one, but when intriguing research topics come along (dissociative identity disorder; sky-diving induced fear-pheromones; fMRI data during orgasm) he has not resisted the temptation to get back to research as well.