Art@HBM, Neurocartographies : conclusion

December 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Time flies and it’s already been six months since the wonderful experience of human brain mapping, Québec 2011. It has been an amazing conference in many respects, and certainly a very exciting time for the NeuroBureau. There are many, many more exciting projects to come, yet, before heading towards new adventures, we would like to thank everyone who made the art@HBM expostion possible. The enthusiasm and fantastic feedback we received from all of the artists has been a powerful driving force. They have contributed a unique set of art pieces which have inspired hundreds of neuroscientists in Québec City. Many neurobureaucrates helped in the organization of the show, and have thus demonstrated (if needed be) the power of neurocollaboration. The local organizing comittee of HBM has also been extremely supportive, and provided us with a remarkable space for the exposition. Finally,  the exposition has been sponsored by the Child Mind Institute, NY, with additional support from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Berlin), the Montreal Neurological Institute (Montréal), the Unité de Neuroimagerie Fonctionnelle, Centre de recherche de l’institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, the International Neuroimaging Data-Sharing Initiative (INDI) and the 1000 Functional Connectomes Project.  To all of you, take this note as a modest token of our gratitude.

As a happy ending, the catalogue of the expostion is now available for download, including a complete list of the artists and sponsors. Clare Kelly and Vladimir Fonov have taken wonderful pictures which we have shared online in three galleries: installation, pieces and people.  Here are a few shots to bring back great memories.

fabricMRI: Bill’s Brain (detail), by Marjorie Taylor

fMRI jumping brain, by Emilio Garcia

The Linguistic Brain, by Meaghan Evans

Ghost Dream Symposium (detail), by Nathalie Regard

We hope to see you all in Beijing, June 2012,

Pierre Bellec & The Neurobureau


Public release of preprocessed DTI data

October 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Thanks to the efforts of András Jakab (ETH Zurich and U. Debrecen, Hungary), the Neuro Bureau is pleased to announce the first of many public releases of preprocessed DTI data. This release contains DTI scalars and probabilistic tractography of all 180 subjects from the Beijing Enhanced sample that has been made publicly available on INDI thanks to the generosity of Yufeng Zang (Beijing Normal University). The data can be downloaded from, please refer to for details on the organization of the files and the preprocessing pipeline employed.

Owing to the success of the ADHD-200 preprocessed data release (~5400 downloads to date), The Neuro Bureau is planning the systematic public release of preprocessed forms of all of the INDI data. Stay tuned to for future data releases, as well as opportunities to participate in open neuroscience.

art@HBM: Introducing Giovanni Casu

June 18, 2011 § 2 Comments

“The “rooms” are invaded by figurative structures that represent the architecture of a state of mind , at a time(T), described as precisely as possible. This architecture is based on a dynamical system that represents the biological structures of the brain, working together to build self, consciousness, imagination etc.”

I wanted to start this small post on Giovanni Casu by quoting one (freely adapted) of his text accompanying a piece that he will contribute to art@HBM – neurocartographies. I am aware that not everybody has (yet) started to study resting-state, but for all the crazy people out there that do, this text must trigger strong and lasting echos. If you believe that to rest is to think about nothing, please sit, breathe, relax, and please, please, try to “think about nothing”  (…) See what I mean ?

The flow of spontaneous thoughts is a fascinating maelstrom that makes resting-state a puzzling, elusive field of study. To second Giovanni, I can confirm that some research groups are definitely trying to capture the structure of this flow using elaborate mathematical models of dynamical systems. The greatest challenge when investigating resting-state activity is to pinpoint what thoughts actually pass through our minds. To date, and despite all the imperfections and bias, we are bound to rely on introspection. So I can only be deeply grateful when artists like Giovanni step up and offer us such a vivid window into resting-state. This is both inspiring and exciting.

Giovanni  is an artist and curator based in Berlin. Through painting, he’s mixed figurative figures with more abstract, sometimes digital constructs.

His contribution to art@HBM is going to take us away from the brain for a little while to let us dive deep into the mind.

This may be the last art@HBM teaser, as I am going to attend the brain connectivity workshop next week and we’re only a couple of days away from HBM. See you all very soon !

Pierre Bellec & The Neurobureau

Art@HBM: introducing Nathalie Regard

June 14, 2011 § 4 Comments

It’s not fully confirmed yet, but let’s hope it will be very soon. Nathalie Regard should join us in HBM ! Enjoying the art is one thing, but enjoying the unique company of the artist is going to throw us in a whole different dimension.  This was the point after all … art meets HBM. Well, time will come, soon. Nathalie is based in Mexico and, as most of us, she’s going to come a long way to Québec city. But she is very excited to learn more about neuroscience and brain mapping, and we are thrilled that she will join us in person.

Nathalie has lead very ambitious art works in the past. You can have a look at her big scanning project for details, but here is the short version. Just imagine a pixelized image, something like a 100×100 grid … Now imagine that instead of taking a digital picture, you’ve painted every pixel. Whoa, that sounds like a lot of work, right ? That’s how it would look like …

Now, imagine you’re taking a huge picture of, say, a hangar. And “pixelize” it that way … just imagine …

Now let’s just add the artist in it to get a feel of how big that actually is:

I would have been absolutely delighted to tell you that Nathalie has made a “big scanning” of a brain. But actually, the piece she will bring to HBM may be even more exciting than that. I don’t want to spoil completely the surprise, but here are a couple of hints. First, it will involve brain imaging. Second, Nathalie has been keeping a journal of her dreams for the past fifteen years …

Now, you’re going to have to wait till HBM to see the outcome of this exploding coktail. Only a few teasers left before D-day, I can’t wait to be there …

Pierre Bellec & The Neurobureau

art@HBM: Introducing Elizabeth Jameson

June 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

We just received a piece from Elizabeth Jameson for Art@HBM. The piece is huge, and it is going to be a real challenge to set it up for the show. Needless to say, that’s the kind of challenge we like, and the real-size piece is simply stunning. Ms Jameson is a pioneer of artwork that deals with the convergence of medical technology, neuroscience and art. Utilizing state-of-the-art neuroimaging technologies, she displays parts of the brain in ways rarely before seen.


''Carousel'', Digital Collage of MRIs and Hand-Pulled Prints, 2' x 10'.


''Kaleidescope'', Digital Collage of Hand-Pulled Prints, 3' x 18'.

Diagnosed with MS in 1991, she found herself confronting stark MRI images of her brain that seemed equally frightening and mesmerizing.  In tackling this contradiction, she felt a strong urge to reinterpret these images — to use them to explore the wonder, mystery  and beauty of all brains, including those with a disease.

Ms. Jameson’s work is displayed in private collections in neuroscience centers and universities throughout the United States. Her work has also been featured  in the online magazine The Beautiful Brain.  More informations can be found at

Ms Jameson does work with a variety of materials. She has in particular produced some pieces derived from medical images and made out of silk. Have a look at the gorgeous details in the following pictures :

When the brain meets silk, part I

When the brain meets silk, part II

As you will see in that last picture, some of Ms Jameson’s works are really large:

We are very much looking forward having this work presented in full size at HBM. Stay tuned for the next teasers, the conference is drawing near !

Daniel Margulies, Pierre Bellec & The Neurobureau.

A Brave New World of Open Science

May 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

In 2009, Timothy Gowers, a renowned mathematician at Cambridge University, proposed a difficult and interesting mathematical problem, of which he did not have the answer. Unlike seeking the answer in the traditional manner (by whipping hordes of graduate students and post-doc fellows), he instead posted the question on his blog and asked for anyone and everyone’s input. He received useful input from individuals with backgrounds varying from high school math teachers to other established mathematical researchers. At the end of 37 days, he declared that the problem was solved and his experiment with Open Science, the Polymath Project, was a success.

Could this be the next giant leap in the evolution of scientific discovery, in which scientists use the fullest potential of the internet to collaborate? If so, an Open Science movement could effectively integrate teams of scientists from different laboratories across the world to cooperatively tackle scientific questions.

Imagine the benefits.

The time involved with such open studies could be dramatically decreased, as the workforce behind each idea increases beyond a single lab. In addition, the breadth of a single idea could be explored in infinite directions since each individual contributor can provide a slightly different flavor to the mix.

And to me, the most important aspect of Open Science, would be a less repetitive science. Have you ever been literature diving and found two or more papers from different groups that basically tell you the same thing? Sure, they are slightly different and they were published within a few months of each other, but could that time have been spent more efficiently through collaboration?

Open Science proposes to rip down the iron curtain that separates scientists and, ideally, will unite the community’s ideas and discoveries.

As you are probably feeling, this all sounds inspiring and awesome…in a perfect world void of traditional scientific practices. I couldn’t agree more!

The biggest obstacles that Open Science faces are competition and credit. Cooperation is great attribute for a community, but competition is the dark rider that motivates that single, amazing creation to emerge from deep within the individual. And when that idea finally materializes into something of worth, your name better be permanently attached to it. A selfish and sinister comment, but how far is it from the truth?

I want to believe in Open Science and do believe that it will have its place in the scientific community in various forms, but I don’t see it becoming the practiced norm.

Another question that comes to mind is if a change toward Open Science is possible, who will lead a transition of this magnitude? Young scientists still need to build their credentials in order to be noticed. Established scientists have nothing to lose, but they will have trouble sustaining an Open Science revolution if they cannot be an example of scientific achievement without traditional accomplishment.

The main mission of the Neuro Bureau is to instigate the cultural change required for Open Science and, specifically, Open Neuroscience to become commonplace. By sharing our data, tools, ideas and resources, we are proactively collaborating with the greater neuroscientific community.

Please comment on this blog about your beliefs in building a scientific community that could be sustained on Open Science beliefs and practices. Especially share any ideas that you may have that can possibly give strength to such a movement. In other words, go beyond the negative side effects of Open Science and invent a way in which they can be resolved.

For more information on what Open Science is, and can be, please check out this video:

Alex Poplawsky

NEURO-BUREAU: ADHD-200 Processed Data New Additions

May 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

We would like to announce some valuable new additions to the ADHD-200 preprocessed dataset:

In order to further reduce barriers to competing in the ADHD-200 global competition, the Neuro Bureau has reduced the functional neuroimaging data to region of interest (ROI) time courses.  ROIs were specified using the automated anatomical labeling atlas, the Eickhoff-Zilles atlas, the Harvard-Oxford atlas, the Talairach-Tournoux atlas as well as 200 and 400 region functional parcellations (Craddock et al. HBM, in press).  The resulting time courses are available as tab-delimited text files which can easily be imported into any statistical or mathematical software. Extracted time courses are available here.

For those of you that prefer voxel-based morphometry to functional connectivity, we would like to announce the release of the Burner pipeline data.  The results of this pipeline are modulated and normalized grey matter maps derived using SPM. The data is available here.

Although we are targeting the release dates of the preprocessed data for the ADHD-200 global competition, this data will remain available long after the competition has run its course.  We hope that you find the ADHD-200 preprocessed data useful.


Cameron Craddock and The Neuro Bureau