Announcing Brain Box and The Open Neuroimaging Lab

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We’re thrilled to announce The Open Neuroimaging Laboratory and BrainBox, a new project made possible by the Open Science Prize!

The brain is not a singular organ. It’s made of many different parts, with internal sub-structures like the hippocampus and gray and white matter. The way in which its regions are interconnected determines our ability to perceive, to feel and to think. Their variations are also associated with brain disorders. We’re just beginning to understand this in detail. One way to map changes in these brain regions is to image the brain through methods such as MRI. But generating MRI images is not enough — the images must be annotated/analyzed by experts in order to decipher precise structural details. Some software exist to help but a tremendous amount of expert time is required to verify and fix software mistakes. And every day as more public datasets are generated, the gap between raw image data and annotated datasets widens. This is why we are creating the Open Neuroimaging Lab and BrainBox! The Lab will help train scientists and engage the public using game-like apps.

Example applications:

    • Mapping the brains of people with autism to understand how conditions change brain structure
    • Locating tumors or lesions from brains (e.g., in multiple sclerosis)
    • Relate human and non-human brains by observing how brains differ across species helps us to improve data quality through crowdsourced curation and use such data for improving automation

This is only the beginning. We’re excited to push open science forward, bringing collaborative neuroimaging tools to researchers and neuroscience fans around the world. BrainBox is already being used by researchers. Let us know if you’re interested in participating!

How it works

The Open Neuroimaging Laboratory is an online platform for collaborative, crowdsourced analysis.  It centers around collective analysis tools for researchers that are supplemented by crowdsourced analyses by citizen scientists using BrainBox. 

The ONL will be easy and to fast access, encouraging sharing of data. It will have the ability to create and curate catalogues of shared data, enabling real-time social interactions among researchers. BrainBox, a browser-based application, allows individuals to work together remotely, on a wide array of devices, without having to download complete datasets or install software.

Overall ONL and BrainBox will increase the value of data, making indexes available as they are used, resulting in databases that are easier to find and work with. It stores annotation and analysis results for reuse. 

Brain images come from different animal species, different clinical populations, and unique individuals.

More about the Open Science Prize Competition Phase I and a big shoutout to the BrainBox team:

  • Satrajit Ghosh (MIT)
  • Roberto Toro (Institut Pasteur, EU PI)
  • Katja Heuer (Max Planck Institute)
  • Arno Klein
  • Wired Differently squad
    • Amy Robinson Sterling (Executive Director, USA PI)
    • Alex Norton (Interaction Designer)
    • Chris Jordan and Will Silversmith (Developers)

Six teams have been selected to advance their product ideas into prototypes to compete for $230,000 in the Open Science Prize, a global science competition to make both the outputs from science and the research process broadly accessible to the public. The finalists, announced at the 7 th Health Datapalooza Conference in Washington, D.C., were selected out of 96 multinational, interdisciplinary teams representing 450 innovators from 45 countries. These are the first finalists for this recently launched global prize competition, a collaboration between the National Institutes of Health and the Wellcome Trust with additional funding provided by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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