Aside from our large funded projects, NRG developers are always busy working on many smaller projects, enhancements, and activities. Some of these are stand alone activities, but many are small pieces of cutting-edge development which can contribute to or lay the groundwork for larger projects like the CNDA and the Human Connectome Project.
The Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) has been a center of research into the causes and treatments of Alzheimer’s disease for more than thirty years. As this field of research has adapted to emerging imaging technologies, NRG has supported the ADRC, making important enhancements to CNDA to support ADRC-specific research and workflows.
The multitude of MRI-based brain research projects around the globe is providing current and future researchers with a wealth of data to analyze. However, a major obstacle for these researchers is the ability to register brain imaging data from two different studies, or two different scanners, to a common atlas. The BALSA project is a new initiative to provide an online repository of brain atlases and spatial maps, to facilitate this research.
The Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network is an ongoing longitudinal study to study families with a rare version of Alzheimer’s Disease that is genetically inherited. The DIAN project collects a large protocol of clinical and imaging data and hosts that data on CNDA. NRG also facilitates custom reporting and annual updates to the study protocol.
Related: the DIAN Therapeutic Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) project was spawned from this original DIAN project.
Diffuse Optical Tomography
Research by Joseph Culver’s lab into the field of optical brain imaging has yielded very promising results. Unlike MRI and PET scans, diffuse optical tomography is able to map brain surface activity without exposing subjects to radiation or strong magnetic fields.
The Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS) at Washington University brings together researchers from a wide array of disciplines and representing several regional universities, in partnership with health care providers and industry to facilitate discoveries in clinical research. One of their primary goals is to speed the translation of research findings directly into clinical practice — influencing and improving prevention, diagnosis, and therapy for a host of medical conditions.
One active project is supporting the imaging informatic needs of the Human Imaging Core, a groundbreaking collection of whole body scans being managed by the Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR) here at Washington University.
Dr. Eric Lenze is conducting a multi-site study to look at the effectiveness of pairing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and exercise to fight depression in elder adults. The study will be one of the first in the CNDA to use multi-echo BOLD MRI to reduce the detrimental effects of motion in resting state data.
The Translational Imaging Portal (TIP) provides functional and transformative data processing capabilities from research environments for application in clinical uses. The NRG is supporting TIP-specific data entry and management workflows with custom pipelines and user interface components for a TIP-specific instance of XNAT.
The goal of the Washington University Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (WU IDDRC) is to promote cutting-edge Innovation to understand and treat intellectual and developmental disabilities. The NIAC is collaborating with the WU IDDRC to provide data management, imaging processing, and computing services to the pediatric research community at Wash U.