LOC Symposium: Roadmap for Clinical Translation of Neuroimaging

Choong-Wan Woo Organizer
Sungkyunkwan University
Biomedical Engineering
Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do 
Korea, Republic of
Shinwon Park Co Organizer
Child Mind Institute
New York, NY 
United States
Monday, Jun 24: 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM
Room: Hall D 2 
The topic is of paramount importance and timeliness due to the rapid advancements in neuroimaging technologies and their potential to transform clinical neuroscience. Especially in the context of South Korea, the topic is timely given Korean researchers’ notable contributions to neuroimaging research and technology. This symposium seeks to elucidate how these advancements can be effectively translated into clinical applications, addressing challenges in diagnosis, treatment, and understanding of various neurological and psychiatric conditions. More specifically, our speakers will address issues related to the clinical translation of neuroimaging in diverse contexts, including aging, development, psychiatric conditions, and pain. The desired learning outcomes include:
- Enhanced understanding of the latest neuroimaging techniques and their potential in clinical settings
- Insight into the challenges and considerations in translating neuroimaging research into practice
- Recognition of the importance of interdisciplinary approaches in the development and application of neuroimaging biomarkers


- To comprehend the current state and future prospects of neuroimaging technologies in clinical applications, particularly in the diagnosis and management of brain disorders
- To identify the challenges in translating neuroimaging research findings into clinical practice
- To appreciate the importance of interdisciplinary and international collaboration in advancing the field of clinical neuroimaging 

Target Audience

The target audience includes a global community of neuroscientists, clinicians, radiologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, researchers in neuroimaging, and students, with a special invitation to Korean professionals and those who are interested in collaborations with Korean researchers to facilitate local engagement and international collaboration. 


1. Cortico-thalamo-cerebellar connection as a biological marker of schizophrenia using fMRI and DTI

Mental illness is still diagnosed and treated using phenomenological symptoms. Because phenomenological classifications do not accurately reflect the underlying pathophysiological brain abnormalities, the importance of biological markers using brain imaging is increasing. These imaging markers can be used for classification, treatment prediction, and personalized treatment in psychiatric disorders. However, clinical use of brain imaging is still limited in mental disorders, except for neurological diseases. The brain abnormalities in mental illness are very subtle, so the results are still inconsistent across the studies. Currently, we are studying whether cortico-thalamo-cerebellar connectivity by fMRI and DTI to explore the structural and functional connections that can be a biological marker of schizophrenia. In this talk, I will talk about the importance of biological markers in psychiatric disorders as a clinical use. Further, cortico-thalamo-cerebellar connectivity with fMRI and DTI will be discussed as a possible candidate for a marker to reflect the stage of schizophrenia, including high-risk for psychosis (genetic, clinical) and first-episode psychosis. 


Jun Soo Kwon, Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Natural Sciences Seoul, Seoul 
Korea, Republic of

2. Task-based fMRI and intracranial EEG correlates of age-related hippocampal memory decline and compensation

A decline in hippocampal function stands out as particularly important to the understanding of age-related cognitive impairment not only in pathological populations but also in healthy aging adults. In this talk, I will discuss the neural correlates of aging and age-related changes in hippocampal-dependent episodic memory which begin to surface in midlife and progress thereafter. I will demonstrate, using task-based fMRI, intracranial EEG, and scalp EEG data, that middle-aged adults begin to show significant variation in individual episodic memory and spatial navigation performance that can be explained with respect to age-related changes in cortico-hippocampal function. In particular, I will also provide evidence that individual cognitive performance in older but not younger participants can be explained by a combination of degeneration in the hippocampus and compensatory response in the prefrontal and parahippocampal cortex. By showing converging evidence from neuroimaging and electrophysiology, I hope to shed light on how the brain changes dynamically across aging, not only in its functional deterioration but also in its ability to adaptively adjust to maintain high cognitive performance. 


Sang Ah Lee, Seoul National University
Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Gwanak-gu, Seoul 
Korea, Republic of

3. Promises and challenges in developing neuroimaging biomarkers of pain

Pain, a complex and subjective experience, poses significant challenges in its assessment and management, primarily due to its inherently subjective nature and the lack of objective measures. This talk presents an in-depth exploration of the promises and challenges associated with developing neuroimaging biomarkers of pain. Leveraging advances in neuroimaging and analysis techniques, such as fMRI and machine learning, it would be possible to provide objective, quantifiable measures of pain to help develop novel pain treatments and individualized pain assessment. However, this field faces notable challenges, including variability among individuals and sample heterogeneity in modeling pain. The talk concludes with a vision for the future of pain assessment and management, highlighting the pivotal role of neuroimaging biomarkers in enhancing our comprehension and treatment of pain. 


Choong-Wan Woo, Sungkyunkwan University
Biomedical Engineering
Suwon-si, Gyeonggi-do 
Korea, Republic of

4. Delineating the role of thalamocortical connectivity in large-scale functional brain organization: Implications for understanding atypical neurodevelopmental conditions

This talk delves into the role of thalamocortical connectivity in the development of large-scale functional brain organization, with an emphasis on its implications for understanding neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. To identify and interpret atypical developmental trajectories, an understanding of neurotypical development may be a good starting point. Therefore, we first investigated how thalamocortical connectivity, which is established early in life and undergoes protracted development, significantly influences the brain's functional architecture in neurotypical development. By characterizing functional connectivity gradients in the thalamus and their cortical projections, we found a developmental progression in thalamocortical connectivity, marked by the increasing differentiation of internally- and externally-oriented functional networks, with a pivotal role played by the thalamo-salience connectivity during the transition from childhood to young adulthood. Utilizing generative network computational models, we demonstrated the thalamus' role in simulating cortical networks that closely resemble “real” empirical cortical networks. Furthermore, we determined its influence on the differentiation of internal and external functional networks by selectively perturbing specific thalamo-cortical connections. Leveraging these findings from neurotypical populations, we were able to better understand the neurobiological basis of the autism spectrum disorder, which is related to atypicality in both internal (i.e., high-order cognitive) and external (i.e., low-level sensory) functions. Our findings underscore the dynamic role of thalamocortical connectivity in shaping large-scale functional brain organization across development and how it can be translated into a better understanding of atypical developmental trajectories of clinical conditions. 


Shinwon Park, Child Mind Institute New York, NY 
United States