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Peter A Bandettini, Ph.D.

Section on Functional Imaging Methods

Director, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Core Facility (FMRIF)
Building 10 Room 1D80
10 Center Drive MSC1148
Bethesda MD 12345
Office: (301) 402-1333

Fax: (301) 402-1370

Dr. Bandettini received his B.S. from Marquette University in 1989 and his Ph.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1994, where he pioneered the development of magnetic resonance imaging of human brain function using blood oxygenation contrast. During his postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital with Bruce Rosen, he continued his investigation of methods to increase the interpretability, resolution, and applicability of functional MRI techniques. In 1999, he joined NIMH as an Investigator in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition and as the Director of the NIH Functional MRI core facility. In 2001, he was awarded the Scientific Director's Merit Award for his efforts in establishing the NIH FMRI core facility. In 2002, he was awarded the Wiley Young Investigator's at the annual Organization for Human Brain Mapping Meeting. His section on Functional Imaging Methods is currently developing MRI methods improve the spatial resolution, temporal resolution, sensitivity, interpretability, and applications of functional MRI. Recently his research has focused specifically on improving general methodology for fMRI applications at 7T, investigation of fMRI-based functional connectivity methodology and applications, and investigation of fMRI decoding methodology and applications.

Functional MRI is a technique that utilizes time series collection of rapidly-obtained magnetic resonance images sensitive to brain activation induced changes in blood flow, oxygenation, and volume. The utility of Functional MRI (fMRI) has been improving since it's inception in 1991. The limits of the technique reside in the imaging technology, methodology, and in the uncertainly and variability in cerebral hemodynamics and neurovascular coupling. To improve the depth, breadth, and sophistication of the questions being addressed and the comparisons being made, it is necessary to develop ways to better characterize the hemodynamic response and to determine how precisely it relates to neuronal activity. It is also necessary to develop the technology and methodology that utilizes this information for making more accurate and interpretable maps.

While progress is being made, fMRI is still not in common clinical use and is outside the domain of many critical neuroscience issues. A few of the limitations are as follows: Functional MRI cannot map transient activity on the order of milliseconds. It cannot map brain activity on a spatial scale smaller than about 2 mm2. Because of baseline drift, it cannot map very slow �state� changes. It cannot differentiate activity resulting from excitatory vs. inhibitory input. It cannot map baseline activity and metabolic state. It cannot temporally resolve cascaded communication between sequentially activated brain regions. Calibration procedures are relatively crude. It cannot draw inferences about individual activation maps as they relate to averaged population brain activation maps. Progress towards overcoming most if not all of these limitations can be made by a research strategy which is at the interface of applications and fundamental developments

The Unit on Functional Imaging Methods is a team of are a team of physicists, psychologists, engineers, neuroscientists, and computer scientists committed to developing fMRI to it's full potential through interrelated advancements in technology, methodology, interpretation, and applications.

Relationship betwen neuronal activity and fMRI signal changes

This figure describes the basic unknowns involved with Functional MRI. The goal is to infer neuronal activity by what is manifest in the fMRI signal changes. The problem is that neuronal activity is transferred through many intermediate steps which remain to be fully understood.

The relationship between neuronal activity and hemodynamic changes can be variable across space, functional regions, time, subjects, and subject population, and physiologic state. The relationship between hemodynamic changes and MRI signal changes is dependent on the imaging parameters and magnetic field strength. In addition noise and other fluctuations not related to neuronal activity can cause MR signal changes that lead to incorrect interpretation.

Lastly, we are currently exploring the feasability of detecting neuronal activity directly with MRI, bypassing hemodynamic changes. To address all these issues UFIM is incorporating results from the manipulations described in the periphery of the figure.

Staff Image
  • Rasmus Birn, Ph.D.
    Staff Scientist
    (301) 402-1350

  • Anthony Boemio, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    (301) 402-1379

  • Hauke Heekeren, M.D.
    Adjunct Investigator

  • David Knight, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    (301) 402-1359

  • Nikolaus Kriegeskorte, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    (301) 594-9195

  • Kay Kuhns, B.S.
    Program Specialist
    (301) 594-9191

  • Marta Maieron, Ph.D.
    Adjunct Investigator

  • Hanh Nguyen, B.S.
    Post baccalaureate Fellow
    (301) 402-7298

  • Natalia Petridou, M.S.

  • Douglass Ruff
    Post baccalaureate Fellow
    (301) 451-9582

  • Monica Smith, B.S.
    Post baccalaureate Fellow
    (301) 594-9197

  • August Tuan, B.S.
    Adjunct Investigator

  • Najah Waters, B.S.
    Post baccalaureate Fellow
    (301) 402-7299

  • 1) R. M. Birn, R. W. Cox, P. A. Bandettini (2004)
  • Functional MRI experimental designs and processing strategies for studying brain activation associated with overt responses.
  • NeuroImage, 23, 1046-1058
  • 2) D. C. Knight, H. T. Nguyen, P. A. Bandettini (2003)
  • Expression of conditional fear with and without awareness.
  • Proc. Nat'l. Acad. Sci. USA, 100, 15280-15283
  • 3) Z. S. Saad, K. M. Ropella, E. A. DeYoe, P. A. Bandettini (2003)
  • The spatial extent of the BOLD response
  • NeuroImage, 19, 132-144
  • 4) P.S.F. Bellgowan, Z. S. Saad, P. A. Bandettini (2003)
  • Understanding neural system dynamics through task modulation and measurement of functional MRI amplitude, latency, and width.
  • Proc. Nat'l. Acad. Sci. USA, 100, 1415-1419
  • 5) R. M. Birn, R. W. Cox, P. A. Bandettini (2002)
  • Detection versus estimation in event-related fMRI: choosing the optimal stimulus timing
  • NeuroImage, 15, 262-264
  • 6) J. Bodurka, P. A. Bandettini (2002)
  • Toward direct mapping of neuronal activity: MRI detection of ultra weak transient magnetic field changes
  • Magn. Reson. Med., 47, 1052-1058
  • 7) J. C. Patterson II, L. G. Ungerleider, and P. A Bandettini (2002)
  • Task - independent functional brain activity correlation with skin conductance changes: an fMRI study
  • NeuroImage, 17, 1787-1806
  • 8) R. M. Birn, Z. S. Saad, P. A. Bandettini (2001)
  • Spatial heterogeneity of the nonlinear dynamics in the fMRI BOLD response
  • NeuroImage, 14, 817-826
  • 9) P. A. Bandettini, L. G. Ungerleider (2001)
  • From neuron to BOLD: new connections.
  • Nature Neuroscience, 4, 864-866
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