U receives $6.9 million NIH grant to 
continue brain connectivity research

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s world-renowned Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) were awarded a $6.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue their efforts to map human brain connectivity as it relates to aging and development as part of the Lifespan Human Connectome Project.

The mapping techniques we created are truly transformative, allowing us to better understand how the brain is organized and connected.

– Kamil Ugurbil, Ph.D.

The grant includes $3.6 million to investigate the structural and functional changes that occur in the brain during typical aging and $3.3 million to map the development of brain structure and function from early childhood into adulthood. Both projects will use sophisticated, noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging scanning.

This funding is part of a larger grant awarded to a consortium composed of four institutions: the University of Minnesota, Washington University in St. Louis, University of California, Los Angeles, and Harvard University. The four institutions will use imaging techniques developed at the University of Minnesota to collect similar data to create a large, publicly available database.

The CMRR also participated in the Human Connectome Project (HCP), a large brain mapping research initiative funded by the NIH five years ago.

“The mapping techniques we created in the HCP are truly transformative, allowing us to better understand how the brain is organized and connected,” says CMRR director Kamil Ugurbil, Ph.D. “With these new techniques, we are now in a position to ask about how the brain develops and changes over time, and how it is altered in diseases.”  

Published on October 24, 2016

(Lead image: Courtesy of Essa Yacoub, Ph.D.)