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Multimodal Clinical Neuroimaging Laboratory (MCNL)


Currently there exists a number of neuroimaging modalities and each of these modalities provides a unique perspective on brain function. Additionally, each of these neuroimaging modalities has advantages and disadvantages, and there is no single modality which is independently and completely comprehensive. Presently, it has become standard practice to collect and analyze data using multiple neuroimaging modalities. The MCNL is a clinically focused laboratory with a research vision utilizing multimodal neuroimaging techniques to better understand the underlying risk-factors and mechanisms of region-specific (small-scale), network-specific, and whole-brain reorganization associated with poor mental health. The MCNL primarily works with healthy (control group) and distressed adolescents with severe mental and behavioral health problems following exposure to early traumatic events.

​Our program's priority research areas mainly include the use of:

  • Multimodal (e.g., task and resting-state functional MRI, structural MRI, diffusion MRI, functional NIRS) neuroimaging techniques to understand the basic and complex neural mechanisms underlying the emergence of mood and emotional dysregulation (e.g., depression, anxiety, aggression, impulsivity, and suicidal ideation), substance abuse, child maltreatment, and sleep disorders.
  • Advanced white matter tractography (e.g., isotropic, fractional, and quantitative diffusion), cortical/subcortical measures (e.g., cortical thickness, cortical surface area, cortical/subcortical volume, and cortical gyrification), and directed functional/effective brain connectivity measures (e.g., using Granger Causality and Dynamic Causal Modeling) to explore the compactness and integrity of white-matter fiber bundles, brain morphometry, and small and large-scale brain connectivity measures.
  • Standard whole-brain (region and network-wise) functional and structural parcellations to identify the biomarkers of interest.
  • Cutting-edge machine learning techniques to identify functional and structural biomarkers underlying the emergence of mood and emotional dysregulation.

Current Collaborators

  • James Blair, Ph.D. (Boys Town National Research Hospital)
  • Karina S. Blair, Ph.D. (Boys Town National Research Hospital)
  • Matthew Dobbertin, D.O. (Boys Town National Research Hospital)
  • Patrick Tyler, Ph.D. (Boys Town National Research Hospital)
  • Soonjo Hwang, MD (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
  • Mukesh Dhamala, Ph.D. (Georgia State University)
  • William DS Killgore, Ph.D. (University of Arizona)
  • Adeel Razi, Ph.D. (Monash University)
  • Indranath Chatterjee, Ph.D. (Tongmyong University)

Past Collaborators

  • Andrew J. Butler, Ph.D. (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
  • Joseph Masdeu, M.D., Ph.D. (Houston Methodist Research Hospital)
  • Christof Karmonik, Ph.D. (Houston Methodist Research Hospital)
  • Karl Friston, Ph.D. (University College London)
  • Peyman Mirtaheri, Ph.D. (Oslo Metropolitan University)