This website documents the AFQ projects:
Aims of these projects
Human brain white matter contains the long-range connections between different brain regions. Diffusion MRI (dMRI) is a powerful imaging technology that provides non-invasive in vivo measurements of these connections. These measurements have provided compelling evidence that the biophysical properties of these connections account for individual variation in many important cognitive skills, and they predict clinical symptoms across a variety of psychiatric and neurological disorders (reviewed in [^1] and [^2]).
One of the major challenges in analyzing dMRI data is that the details of the 3D structure of white matter anatomy varies between individuals. Tractometry is a methodology that solves this problem by identifying specific connections in each individual's brain, using known anatomical structures as the coordinate system to compare measurements across subjects. We are implementing open-source software for tractometry and to extract the biophysical properties of major brain connections. Based on this tractometry framework, we are also implementing novel methods for statistical learning and visualization of the features of white matter anatomy that lead to individual differences in the behavioral measurements. We will facilitate further exploration of these results and their integration with other datasets through web-based visualization tools. Taken together these projects provide a comprehensive data science toolbox for end-to-end analysis of dMRI data: the delineation of trajectories of white matter tracts within individual brains, integration of measurements across individuals, inferences about the role of connections in individual variability of their cognitive abilities and behavior, and exploration of the results through interactive visualizations. This is particularly important as the research community is developing large datasets.
[^1]: A. Rokem, H. Takemura, A. Bock, K.S. Scherf, M. Behrmann, B. A. Wandell, H. Fine, I. Bridge, and F. Pestilli. The visual white matter: The application of diffusion MRI and fiber tractography to vision science. Journal of Vision, 17(4):1–30, 2017. URL: https://jov.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2603187.
[^2]: Brian A Wandell. Clarifying human white matter. Annual review of neuroscience, 39:103–128, 2016. URL: https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-neuro-070815-013815.