International Assessment of Emerging and Converging Technologies (NBIC 2)
WTEC ASSESSMENT OF INTERNATIONAL R&D IN NEUROIMAGING Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Office of Naval Research of the United States Government



A panel of U.S. experts on the neuroscience and neuroimaging will present their preliminary findings from study tours of top European and Asian labs in a workshop to be held at the National Science Foundation on May 23, 2014 from 8:30am to 3:00 pm.


To visit the workshop page, click here.

To register for the workshop click here.

To register for the webcast click here.


This study is an WTEC international assessment of research on the computational aspects of biomedical imaging for a broad range of neurological disabilities.

While the sciences have made tremendous progress in uncovering the physical etiology of various disorders, the brain and nervous system remain incredibly complex systems. The study is reviewing research around the world on how mathematical and computational research methods can be applied to the raw data received from medical imaging to search for complex patterns of neural activation and other biological markers.

This study on neuroimaging R&D builds on WTEC international studies of R&D on mobility for people with disabilities, on brain-computer interfaces, and on R&D for human-robot interactions focusing on rehabilitation robotics.



The objectives of this assessment are to:

• Guide U.S. research investments;
• Look for good ideas abroad (technology transfer);
• Look for opportunities for cooperation and collaboration;
• Compare U.S. R&D programs and status with those abroad.

A panel of U.S. experts, nominated by sponsoring agencies and recruited by WTEC, is conducting the study using the WTEC methodology to carry out peer reviews of research abroad, visiting the sites of the research institutions and researchers who are noted for the most advanced work in Europe and/or Asia. The results are being presented in a webcast, public workshop on May 23, 2014, following the panel’s return from abroad. An academic-quality final report will serve to disseminate the results widely.

The chair of the study is Dr. Lilianne Mujica-Parodi of SUNY Stony Brook. Dr. Mujica-Parodi's laboratory, the Laboratory for Computational Neurodiagnostics, uses neural signals obtained non-invasively through imaging by functional MRI, near-infrared spectroscopy, and electroencephalography. The complexity of those neural time-series is quantified using a variety of computational techniques adapted from physics, such as power spectrum scale invariance, detrended fluctuation analysis, Hurst and Lyaponov exponents, and approximate entropy. Deviations from the critical degree of chaos can be used diagnostically in conjunction with classification algorithms, to identify risk for illness even before a system has degenerated sufficiently to show onset of symptoms. Application of graph theory and other connectivity techniques can permit identification of the circuit-wide basis for this dysregulation, which in turn will be used for developing treatment targeted to these specific circuits. Other members of the panel are listed on the right side of this page; please click on the links for more information.
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The target field involves the use of computational and statistical methods as applied to data from the neural imaging technologies used by psychologists, psychiatrists, neuroscientists, and others to diagnose and study psychiatric and neurological disabilities. Areas of interest include:

• Statistical parametric mapping
• Complex systems
• Use of MRI, fMRI, CAT, PET, ECG, EEG, SCR, voxel-based morphometry, endocrine sampling, and near-infrared spectroscopy to detect neural signatures of psychiatric and behavioral disorders
• Other emerging computational neurodiagnostic methods
Finally, beyond the above technical issues, the study also addresses the following non-technical issues:

• Mechanisms for enhancing interdisciplinary cooperation in the field;
• Opportunities for shortening the lead time for deployment of new technologies emerging from the laboratory; and
• Long range research, educational, and infrastructure issues that need to be addressed to promote better progress in the field.



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The schedule for the study was determined at the kickoff meeting by mutual agreement of the sponsors, the WTEC staff, and the panel members. A typical schedule and associated deliverables is shown below.

a. kickoff meeting -- approximately two months after project initiation (API) (delivery of draft scope of panel work and panelist data) 
b. foreign site visits completed -- approximately five months API 
c. draft site reports from the site visits - approximately six months API or within six weeks after the last site visits
d. final workshop -- approximately seven months API or within two months after the last site visits (hard copies of presentation material delivered and posted on Web shortly thereafter)
e. draft analytical report -- approximately ten months API or three months after the workshop 
f. final report -- approximately twelve months API or two months after the draft report is sent to the site visit hosts for review

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WTEC operates under a peer-reviewed cooperative agreement from the National Science Foundation for international R&D assessments used for strategic planning. Multiple-agency sponsorship is efficiently facilitated by interagency funds transfer to NSF. For this particular study, additional sponsors include the National Institutes of Health and the Office of Naval Research.



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Contact Information

  1. Duane Shelton, WTEC,, 717-615-2304

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  • Lilianne Mujica-Parodi, ph.d.

    SUNY Stony Brook

  • Peter A. Bandettini, PH.D.


  • Tom Cortese, ph.d.

    National Center for Supercomputing Applications
  • Gary Glover, ph.d.

    Stanford U.

  • Bin He, ph.d.

    U. of Minnesota

  • Tor wager, ph.d.

    U. of Colorado

  • Lawrence Wald, ph.d.

    Harvard U.