Exploring Sex and Gender Issues in Neuroimaging Research: Insights from Science to Society

Hyang Woon Lee, MD, PhD Organizer
Ewha Womans University
Korea, Republic of
Randy Gollub, MD, PhD Co Organizer
A.A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 
United States
The exploration of sex and gender differences in neuroimaging research has become an important and timely topic in the scientific community, although this topic has not yet received sufficient attention dedicated to education. Given the increasing awareness of how brain structure and function differ by sex and gender, researchers are now compelled to integrate these variables into their studies. The relevance of this issue is highlighted by recent mandates from funding agencies emphasizing the imperative inclusion of sociodemographic factors, particularly sex and gender, in biomedical research. Advances in human brain mapping demand a thorough understanding of how these variables impact neural processes to allow for more comprehensive and accurate interpretations. This not only aligns with a broader commitment to diversity and inclusivity in the OHBM, but also holds significant implications for enhancing diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for neurological and psychiatric disorders. The ongoing discussions on sex and gender in neuroimaging research are poised to yield valuable insights, catalyzing a shift toward more nuanced and gender-sensitive approaches. Desired learning outcomes from this exploration include:
1. An enhanced understanding of the meaning and implications of sex and gender in neuroimaging research,
2. Increased ability to critically evaluate research designs through a gendered point of view,
3. Proficiency in incorporating these variables into scientific discourse.
Ultimately, such knowledge is crucial for advancing neuroscientific understanding and fostering a more inclusive and effective approach to neuroimaging and/or neuroscience research.


1. Participants will understand of training and career trajectories of representative women leaders from different areas including academia, publication, and government agencies.
2. Participants will develop a comprehensive understanding of how diverse sociodemographic factors influence brain and behavior.
3. Participants will learn about inclusive research practices they can implement in their participant recruitment, data acquisition, and data analysis to facilitate the engagement and participation of more diverse populations in their neuroimaging research studies.

Target Audience

This symposium will address the importance of considering sociodemographic influences on the brain and behavior, making it of broad interest to a diverse set of human brain mapping researchers, including clinicians, neuroscientists, and psychologists. Any OHBM members who self-identifies as women, trainees who self-identify as women, and those of other genders who support the goals of the Women Faculty SIG are especially encouraged to attend this symposium. 





Magdalena Skipper, Nature publisher London, London 
United Kingdom

How Neurodegeneration Differs between Men and Women

It has long been known that the incidences of different neurodegenerative diseases differ by sex. However, the majority of past imaging literature on neurodegenerative do not explicitly study sex-related differences. In this talk, I will present some recent perspectives on the role of sex in risk for Alzheimer’s disease, in brain degeneration due to obesity and to normal aging. These findings highlight the need to better understand sex differences in the neurodegenerative process, and emphasize the importance of incorporating sex-dependence in current and future studies of mechanisms of neurodegeneration. 


Jean Chen, Baycrest Toronto, Ontario 

Integrating Sex/Gender-Based Analysis (SGBA) for the Promotion of Brain Research in Korea

In this talk, Dr. Lee will overview of Sex and Gender-Based Analysis (SGBA) in brain research, review the existing SGBA initiatives and guidelines in Korea's brain research community, policy Analysis for Integrating SGBA: From funding to dissemination, successful examples of SGBA integration in brain research from other countries, and collaboration and knowledge sharing among researchers and stakeholders to promote SGBA integration. 


Heisook Lee, PhD, GiSTER Seoul, Seoul 
Korea, Republic of

Introduction to the Women’s Brain Project: Unveiling Sex/Gender Disparities for Equitable Healthcare

Title: Introduction to the Women’s Brain Project: Unveiling Sex/Gender Disparities for Equitable Healthcare
Summary: Dr. Antonella Santuccione Chadha's talk delves into the world of neurological disorders and the overlooked gender influence. Neurological disorders, affecting one in three globally, disproportionately impact women. Representing a major health challenge, these conditions also strain economies, estimated at 10% of the world's GDP. Focusing on prevalent disorders like depression and Alzheimer's affecting women, the talk addresses historical biases in medical research, emphasizing the importance of recognizing gender-based distinctions in risk factors and treatments. Highlighting women as patients and caregivers, it stresses the inadequacy of the 'one-size-fits-all' approach and advocates for precision medicine tailored to diverse gender-specific needs.  


Antonella Santuccione-Chadha, PhD, The Women’s Brain Project (WBP) Zurich, Zurich