An introduction to cross-species comparative neuroimaging

Presented During:

Sunday, June 23, 2024: 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Room: ASEM Ballroom 201  

Poster No:


Submission Type:

Educational Course - Half Day (4 hours) 


Austin Benn1, Katja Heuer2, Ting Xu3, Katherine Bryant4, Stephen Sawiak5, Katherine Bryant6, Shaun Warrington7, Ting Xu3, Eduardo Garza-Villarreal8, Katja Heuer2


1CNRS Université Paris Cité, Paris, Île-de-France, 2Institut Pasteur, Paris, Paris, 3Child Mind Institute, New York, NY, 4Institute for Language,Communication and Brain Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille , Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, 5University of Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, 6Institute for Language,Communication and Brain Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, 7University of Nottingham, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, 8Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, N/A


Austin Benn  
CNRS Université Paris Cité
Paris, Île-de-France

Additional Organizer(s):

Katja Heuer  
Institut Pasteur
Paris, Paris
Ting Xu  
Child Mind Institute
New York, NY
Katherine BRYANT  
Institute for Language,Communication and Brain Aix-Marseille Université
Marseille , Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur


Stephen Sawiak  
University of Cambridge
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Katherine BRYANT  
Institute for Language,Communication and Brain Aix-Marseille Université
Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Shaun Warrington  
University of Nottingham
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
Ting Xu  
Child Mind Institute
New York, NY
Eduardo A. Garza-Villarreal, MD, PhD  
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Mexico City, N/A
Katja Heuer  
Institut Pasteur
Paris, Paris

Please describe the advantage of addressing the topic as an Educational Course:

Neuroimaging is unique in neuroscience as data can be acquired in-vivo in the same modality across species. Because of this, comparative neuroimaging can identify evolutionary conserved trends of cortical organization enabling us to better understand the evolution of the human brain, while further driving the translational impact of preclinical research in animals. In this half-day program on comparative neuroimaging and cortical evolution, we will demonstrate to the wider neuroimaging community how open source resources such as the Primate Data and Resource Exchange (PRIME-DRE/RE) have lowered the entry barrier to studying non-human brains. Still, even with these resources, tools in neuroimaging trickle down from humans to non-humans which makes non-standard settings for methods commonly used by the rest of the field, the norm of the comparative world. Knowing the right parameters for acquisition or analysis and the available frameworks to place the human brain on a common axis with other species can permit researchers to study cortical evolution or translate invasive findings from Non-Human Primates and rodents. However, doing so currently comes with a significant skill barrier which often prevents researchers from asking those very questions, stifling the introduction of new voices and ideas in comparative neuroimaging.

Through this interactive, and highly informative course covering everything from acquisition and open data sets to multi-modal cross-species analytic frameworks from rodents to Non-Human Primates, we will democratize the field of comparative neuroimaging by sharing the tips, tricks, and tools the comparative neuroimaging community has built to enable seamless neuroimaging across species. Doing so through the half day course we highlight speakers taking a diverse set of approaches and methods to tell the common story of brain evolution and cross-species translation.

Provide a brief paragraph (roughly 250 words) describing the timeliness and importance of the topic and the desired learning outcomes.

Cross-species studies often make cameos in the OHBM community to showcase the versatility of neuroimaging’s latest methods. But comparative neuroimaging is a dynamic and productive field where novel methods and frameworks are deployed to compare brains across not only phenotypes, but genotypes as well. A key objective of comparative neuroscience is to understand the brain as the anatomical substrate encoding the behaviors required for each species to exploit its ecological niche. This evolutionary framework has recently been embodied by a common space approach; whereby common organizational motifs are used to identify the outliers unique to a given species. This unifying framework places all species on a common axis of cortical evolution, enabling us to understand where brain organization has been conserved, and where unique morphology may have emerged to drive unique aspects of human cognition. Furthermore, this common axis provides a framework for the translation of invasive findings derived from preclinical work.

Until recently it has been difficult to use this framework as both acquiring non-human MRI data and analyzing it have been limited to research centers with specialized equipment and personnel. However, the comparative neuroimaging community has worked to remove these barriers via the creation of open-source data and resource repositories in the ongoing PRIME-DE and PRIME-RE projects. Thanks to these resources, now, more than ever, this course will democratize the field of comparative neuroimaging such that new voices and ideas may further our understanding of how evolution drives the underlying organization of the human brain.

List 2-3 specific learning objectives for the audience. Learning objectives are used for ACCME purposes.

-- Understand the significance of comparative neuroimaging and brain evolution and cross-species translation
-- Learn the best practices for acquiring, preprocessing, and analyzing non-human neuroimaging data
-- Utilize cutting-edge common space approaches for multimodal comparative studies across species
-- Navigate ethical considerations in animal research

Please identify your target audience (1-2 sentences).

Our target audience consists of members of the OHBM community who have an interest in studying, or adding the story of brain evolution to their studies, or have a need to translate invasive findings from preclinical research, but do not know where to start. Our aim is to show the wider OHBM community how recently developed resources make comparative neuroimaging not only accessible, but an area developing some of the most exciting analysis frameworks available today.

OHBM requires Educational Courses to incorporate audience engagement. What percentage of time will be allocated to ensure audience engagement occurs in your course?

Audience interaction will be a continual process throughout the course via an online polling platform, but will occupy roughly 25% of the courses allotted time. The audience will be able to use the polling platform to ask speakers questions during and after their talks. Additionally, we will provide a curated dataset with example analyses for hands-on analyses of methods taught.

List the specific activities you will integrate into your Educational Course to ensure audience engagement.

-- Each speaker will have 5-10 minutes to answer questions via the OHBM online platform
-- Audience polls throughout the talks
-- A curated resource hosted on NeuroLibre providing an interactive, executable end-to-end guide of the methods and frameworks covered, available to participants

Please provide justification on why your speaker selection meets OHBM's selection criteria concerning diversity of speakers. As stated in our Code of Conduct, we explicitly honor diversity with respect to multiple factors, including age, culture, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, political beliefs, profession, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Inclusion of speakers from traditionally under-represented groups/nations is particularly encouraged.

If no, please provide justification.
Our course includes speakers from diverse demographics and geography, including speakers from Mexico, the UK, France, and USA with a balance between female and male speakers (3 F, 3 M) and a majority of early-career researchers.

Please provide justification on why your proposal meets OHBM's selection criteria concerning diversity of scientific perspectives or topics. Examples include: various software packages, alternative analytic perspectives, or different elements of a broad approach.

Our cross-species neuroimaging course brings together developmental, evolutionary and translational perspectives. We discuss a range of data modalities, including anatomical, diffusion-weighted, and functional MRI, as well as a variety of pre- and processing steps using tools built on top of Freesurfer, FSL, ANTs, AFNI and custom pipelines.