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Introducing a Ground-Breaking New Institute at Boys Town National Research Hospital


Siemens Prisma MRI and next-generation MEG

Monday, March 29, 2021

​​Boys Town National Research Hospital® is revolutionizing child and teen brain research at the new Institute for Human Neuroscience, which opened in March 2021. The Institute is in a brand-new 15,000+ square foot research facility specifically built for this group of researchers and their state-of-the-art equipment. As one of the most cutting-edge neuroscience research facilities in the nation, it includes a high-performance research-grade Siemens Prisma MRI and two next-generation MEG (magnetoencephalography) systems.

Tony Wilson, Ph.D., tapped to lead the new Institute, has also been named the Patrick E. Brookhouser Endowed Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience at Boys Town National Research Hospital. 

“One of the main reasons we came to Boys Town was the opportunity to build an incredible institute in an amazing environment. As the only site in the world with two next-generation MEG Neo systems, we'll have twice the capacity for major discoveries in pediatric neuroscience and neurotherapeutics and be able to impact the lives of children and families directly," said Wilson.

Wilson brings a team of almost 50 research scientists and staff who will work to understand how the brain changes as kids move through puberty and into young adulthood. The group will also study the impact of traumatic experiences on brain development and the brain changes associated with the emergence of psychiatric conditions like anxiety disorders, depression or schizophrenia.

The Institute of Human Neuroscience aligns directly with Boys Town's mission and growth of its Pediatric Neuroscience program. The emphasis will be on pediatric brain health and contribute directly to improved outcomes in children receiving care from our neurologists, neurosurgeons and behavioral health teams. 

For example, MEG is FDA-approved for use in identifying the focus of epileptic seizures. It creates the opportunity for neuroscience researchers to pinpoint the origin of such seizures, which can then be removed through surgery to maximize positive outcomes.

When the Institute is fully operational it will house nine to 10 different laboratories and 100 to 120 researchers, all under one roof. Each lab will focus on different sub-areas of human neuroscience using MRI, MEG and other state-of-the-art methods. Each laboratory will function independently, studying ​different disorders, different populations and different therapeutics.

“We're so excited to work in such a collaborative environment," noted Wilson. “We think it's going to give rise to a lot of​ great science that wouldn't have otherwise occurred."

“At Boys Town National Research Hospital our mission is to change the way America cares for children and families – and to do that, we've brought together the nation's best scientists to develop new and better treatments and intervention methods," said Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., Director of Boys Town Research. “Dr. Wilson and his team bring that expertise in neuroscience. What is learned in the lab will directly apply to our clinical care so that more children and families can benefit from this life-changing research."