Past Workshops

FIT’NG Events at Flux 2021

Full Day Workshop

FIT’NG All Ages: Advantages and Challenges of Longitudinal Fetal, Infant, and Toddler Neuroimaging (virtual)
Friday September 17; 9:00 am – 3:00 pm EST

Longitudinal MRI is essential for quantifying trajectories of brain change in typical development and in neurodevelopmental disorders. Rapid changes in brain anatomy and physiology during the prenatal, infant and toddler period necessitate longitudinal measurement but also present unique challenges for data acquisition, processing, and analysis. This satellite meeting will provide a forum for discussing these challenges and identifying possible solutions. Session 1 will focus on challenges relating to data collection (choice of sequence parameters and equipment, data acquisition procedures, and participant recruitment and retention) and data analysis (approaches to segmentation and parcellation, registration, and curve fitting). In Session 2, expert panelists will provide a ‘behind the scenes’ look at important decision points and strategies adopted in their own research designs, stimulating a live discussion of solutions to challenges inherent in longitudinal neuroimaging. Finally,  Session 3 will showcase new and exciting work utilizing longitudinal approaches discussed in preceding sessions.

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Meeting Organizers

FIT’NG (Fetal, Infant, Toddler Neuroimaging Group)

Sarah Shultz, PhD, Emory University / Marcus Autism Center, USA (co-chair)

Dustin Scheinost, PhD, Yale University School of Medicine, USA (co-chair)

Zeena Ammar, Emory University / Marcus Autism Center, USA

Cat Camacho, Washington University in St. Louis, USA

Aiden Ford, Emory University / Marcus Autism Center, USA

Roxane Licandro, Vienna University of Technology, Austria

Kelly Vaughn, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, USA

Invited Speakers

Jonathan O’Muircheartaigh, PhD

Cassie Hendrix, PhD

Cynthia Rogers, MD

Georg  Langs, PhD

Lilla Zöllei, PhD

Kathryn Mills, PhD

Catherine Limperopoulous, PhD

Lana Vasung, MD, PhD

Jana Hutter, PhD

Weili Lin, PhD

Mirella Dapretto, PhD

Nadine Gaab, PhD

Sean Deoni, PhD

Gregor Kasprian, MD

Richard Bethlehem, PhD

Abstracts

Session 1 – Getting Started:  What to consider When Developing a Longitudinal Study

Jonathan O’Muircheartaigh
Multi-site, cross-sectional & longitudinal MRI studies in early life

Rapid nonlinear volumetric and contrast changes occur over the first 2 years of post-natal life. These changes make both acquisition and analysis over this period challenging (at best), especially when also dealing with multiple sites and scanners. This talk will give a short overview of approaches designed to deal with these problems at study design and analysis stages.

 

Cassie Hendrix
Recommendations for obtaining usable MRI data from newborns, infants, and toddlers based on reports from 54 experts

Neuroimaging enriched longitudinal research is riddled with difficulties that are exacerbated by the dramatic changes in behavioral and brain development in the first months and years after birth. Using reports obtained from 54 experts in early life MRI, this data-driven presentation will address developmental shifts and challenges in common data acquisition practices, scanning success rates, and MRI sequences across infancy and toddlerhood.

 

Cynthia Rogers
Challenges of Longitudinal Infant Neuroimaging Research

This presentation will review challenges faced when conducting longitudinal neuroimaging studies that begin during infancy and potential solutions to minimize them.

 

Georg Langs
The in-utero development of brain structure and function

In this talk I will discuss how we can study the early structural and functional development of the human brain before birth. I will focus on approaches to capture this rapid and complex development in fetal MRI data, addressing segmentation and longitudinal modelling . We will look at their shared and different characteristics, and draw some thoughts about related observations in the study of brain evolution.

 

Lilla Zöllei
Spatial alignment of the postnatal infant brain

I will discuss challenges related to finding spatial correspondences among MRI images of postnatal brain MRI in the volumetric is spherical domain. Additionally, I will introduce advantages related to analyzing longitudinal data sets and utilizing such data in a robust, consistent, and principled way.

 

Kathryn Mills
What is brain maturation anyway? Brief dispatches and head scratches on longitudinally modeling brain development across adolescence

This presentation will describe approaches and considerations in characterizing group- and individual-level developmental trajectories of brain development. While practical applications and resources will be presented, you might leave with as many questions as answers.

 

Session 2 – Making it work: A behind the scenes look at navigating important decision points

 

Leading experts in fetal, infant, and toddler neuroimaging will engage in an informal discussion of challenges faced when designing longitudinal neuroimaging protocols. Panelists will discuss common issues and share the successful (or even unsuccessful!) strategies they have implemented, providing a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the development of longitudinal study designs, protocols, and analysis pipelines. The discussion will be moderated, followed by a Q & A period with audience members. Two panel discussions will occur in parallel, one on fetal/infant longitudinal imaging (featuring Catherine Limperopoulous

Lana Vasung, and Jana Hutter) and the other on infant/toddler imaging (featuring Weili Lin, Mirella Dapretto, Nadine Gaab).

 

Session 3 – Moving Forward: Advances from Longitudinal Designs 

Sean Deoni
Continuous longitudinal associations between maturing brain structure and function

Longitudinal studies of pediatric brain and cognitive development provide important insight into the development of brain regions and systems the underlie cognitive domains and functions. However, to-date, analysis of this longitudinal data has been performed using mixed models, sliding window, or time-varying cross-sectional methods. While informative, these forms of analysis do not fully capture the time-dynamic aspects of the data. Here we will present an alternative method, functional varying coefficient modeling, that provides a time-dynamic picture of evolving brain function and varying associations with cognitive functions and skills.

 

Gregor Kasprian 
Optimizing prenatal medicine by advanced fetal brain imaging

Fetal brain imaging generates data, which allow us to better understand human brain  development in health and disease. While many research activities in the field aim for the production of generalizable knowledge, the use of fetal neuroimaging methods to optimize individual outcomes is rather limited. In this lecture, current approaches to implement advanced fetal neuroimaging tools to improve prenatal care in individual subjects will be discussed.

 

Richard Bethlehem
Brain chart for the human lifespan

Over the past 25 years, neuroimaging has become a ubiquitous tool in basic research and clinical studies of the human brain. However, there are no reference standards against which to anchor measures of individual differences in brain morphology, in contrast to growth charts for traits such as height and weight. Here, I will present efforts to build an interactive online resource (www.brainchart.io) to quantify individual differences in brain structure from any current or future magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study, against models of expected age-related trends.

FIT’NG symposium
Infant Neuroimaging
Sunday September 19; 2:15pm – 3:45pm EST

Longitudinal MRI is essential for quantifying trajectories of brain change in typical development and in neurodevelopmental disorders. Rapid changes in brain anatomy and physiology during the prenatal, infant and toddler period necessitate longitudinal measurement but also present unique challenges for data acquisition, processing, and analysis. This satellite meeting will provide a forum for discussing these challenges and identifying possible solutions. Session 1 will focus on challenges relating to data collection (choice of sequence parameters and equipment, data acquisition procedures, and participant recruitment and retention) and data analysis (approaches to segmentation and parcellation, registration, and curve fitting). In Session 2, expert panelists will provide a ‘behind the scenes’ look at important decision points and strategies adopted in their own research designs, stimulating a live discussion of solutions to challenges inherent in longitudinal neuroimaging. Finally,  Session 3 will showcase new and exciting work utilizing longitudinal approaches discussed in preceding sessions.

Meeting Organizer

Lilla Zöllei, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School, USA

Invited Speakers

Sandy Jacobson, PhD, Wayne State University, USA

Fleur Wharton, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Joana Alves sa de Almeida, Geneva University Hospital

Josepheen Cruz, MD, PhD, Developing Brain Institute

Symposium at OHBM 2021

Emerging Research in Infant Neuroimaging: A FIT’NG Overview
June 21, 2021; Virtual

Infant neuroimaging studies have unique potential to elucidate early brain developmental trajectories and how different experiences may alter these trajectories. With large-scale initiatives, like the Developing Human Connectome Project, the Baby Connectome Project, and the HEALthy Brain and Child Development Study, more and more researchers are joining this exciting field. However, despite the potential of and interest in infant neuroimaging, the overall field is still nascent and relatively few infant neuroimaging talks have been presented at OHBM. Here, we offer four cutting-edge infant neuroimaging sessions exploring a wide range of topics. First, a systematic review presents an overview of different common space templates used in infant neuroimaging and how the lack of standards hurts infant neuroimaging. Next, we present two talks on individual differences in infant functional networks and connectomes. Finally, we present on how experienced discrimination of BIPOC pregnant women affects amygdala and hippocampus connectivity in their infants. By attending this symposium, researchers will gain a greater understanding of where the field of infant neuroimaging is heading.

Organizers

Dustin Scheinost, PhD, Yale University

Brittany Howell, PhD, Virginia Tech

Lilla Zöllei, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Alice Graham, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University

Presenters

Silvia Gini, University College London

Alexander Dufford, Yale University

Lucille Moore, Oregon Health & Science University

Marisa Spann, PhD, MPH, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

FIT’NG Workshop at the Flux 2020 Congress

FIT’NG Together with HBCD and ABCD: Important Considerations in the Age of Multisite Imaging Studies
September 9, 2020; Virtual

This workshop was particularly timely given the importance of understanding early brain development through fetal, infant, and toddler periods with neuroimaging (FIT’NG) and the corresponding establishment of NIH multi-institute and multi-site initiatives, such as the HEALthy Brain and Child Development (HBCD) Study. Scanning fetuses, infants, and toddlers is associated with unique challenges that limit the acquisition of quality images and reduce power needed to detect real, reproducible, and non-spurious findings. This pre-conference workshop was a collaborative effort of FIT’NG, HBCD, and the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, that focused on important design considerations at the single and multi-site study level. A hands-on workshop with the ABCD Study’s online Data Exploration and Analysis Portal (DEAP) included demonstrations and tutorials featuring tools and methodologies for analyzing data from large, multi-site neuroimaging studies. This workshop also provided a forum to facilitate communication and collaborative science amongst early childhood and adolescent neuroimaging scientists.

Organizers

Alice Graham, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University

Dustin Scheinost, PhD, Yale School of Medicine

Marisa Spann, PhD, MPH, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Lilla Zöllei, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Michelle Freund, PhD, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Elizabeth Hoffman, PhD, National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Featured Topics & Goals

Topics:

  1. A series of brief talks and breakout discussions related to current trends in FIT neuroimaging.
  2. FIT’NG into HBCD – all you want to know about HBCD. How can early career scientists find a voice (and funding!) in the context of large-scale efforts such as HBCD and ABCD?
  3. A tailored open dialogue with NIH program officers (from multiple institutes) for FIT’NG scientists.
  4. Tools and methodologies for analyzing data from large, multi-site studies (ABCD’s Data Exploration and Analysis Portal).

 

Goals for Attendees:

  1. Provide up-to-date advances in the early childhood neuroimaging field related to data processing and analyses procedures of large datasets, and information regarding how to access existing large datasets.
  2. Critical thinking about both the challenges and potential solutions for the evolving field of early childhood neuroimaging, as well as potential funding challenges and solutions unique to this field.
  3. Encourage collaborations for future studies or manuscripts, as well as resource sharing amongst FIT’NG scientists.

FIT’NG Workshop at the Flux 2019 Congress

FIT’NG In: Establishing Best Practices for Infant Neuroimaging
August 29, 2019; New York City, NY, USA

There are unique challenges with the use of MRI during early brain development in humans.  The workshop provided a forum to discuss these challenges and approaches to improving MRI data collection, processing, and analyses with infants.  The aim was to facilitate communication and collaborative science amongst the community of scientists using MRI to study infant brain development.  This workshop was particularly timely given the recent announcement of the HEALthy Brain and Child Development Study, a large-scale NIH initiative to examine brain development from infancy through early childhood.

Organizers

Alice Graham, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University

Dustin Scheinost, PhD, Yale School of Medicine

Marisa Spann, PhD, MPH, Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Lilla Zöllei, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Presenters

Brittany Howell, PhD, Virginia Tech

Rebecca Knickmeyer-Santelli, PhD, Michigan State University

Emma Robinson, PhD, King’s College London

Dustin Scheinost, PhD, Yale School of Medicine

Christopher Smyser, MD, Washington University in St. Louis

Cameron Ellis, PhD Candidate, Yale University

Sooyeon Sung, PhD, University of Minnesota

Featured Topics

The workshop presented talks related to three important areas in infant and toddler neuroimaging: 1) scan and data collection procedures, 2) data processing and analyses procedures, and 3) unique discoveries and applications of infant neuroimaging studies.

  • Scan and Data Collection Procedures: Obtaining high quality neuroimaging data with infants is extremely challenging and represents a barrier to progress in developmental neuroscience. This portion of the program focused on current best practices for obtaining neuroimaging data with infants during natural sleep. The presentation brought together and synthesized information gleaned from different leading researchers regarding the setup and procedures used to scan infants. The emphasis was on information that was not easily accessible without having contact with these researchers (i.e. tricks of the trade).
  • Data Processing and Analyses Procedures: The development of automated tools for brain morphometric analysis in infants has lagged significantly behind analogous tools for adults. Similarly, common standards used in adult functional MRI analyses (such as template space, functional parcellations, MNI coordinates, and canonical hemodynamic response functions) do not exist for infants. This portion of the program focused on a summary of technical challenges that developers face, an introduction to tools that are currently available to the scientific community, and a discussion of needed standards and capabilities that are still missing.
  • Unique Discoveries and Applications of Infant Neuroimaging Studies: Given the challenges associated with collecting and processing infant neuroimaging data, it is important to ask what insights this work has provided. What has it helped us understand about trajectories of brain development?  And how does the early environment influence brain development?  Presentations highlighted the utility of this methodology and provided real world examples of studies in which the right data collection and processing has occurred and allowed for answering important scientific questions.