About the Brain Development Imaging Laboratories

BDIL was founded in 2001 and has since then been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health and other funding agencies. BDIL is dedicated to the study of brain development and its disorders, with specific focus on autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The primary techniques used by the lab are different types of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These include functional MRI (fMRI), functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI), diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) and tractography (DTI), and high-resolution anatomical imaging (aMRI).

Much of our recent and current work concerns abnormalities of brain network organization and connectivity in ASDs. These can be detected with fcMRI, which – roughly speaking – describes how well different parts of the brain “talk to each other”. Functional connectivity is supported by anatomical connectivity (bundles of axons that connect nerve cells in different brain regions). Anatomical connectivity can be studied using diffusion MRI (DWI and DTI). The brain also undergoes dramatic changes in gray and white matter during childhood and adolescence, which can be studied with anatomical MRI.

BDIL also applies additional MRI techniques, such as MR spectroscopy (which gives some insight into brain chemistry), and  – in collaboration with other groups – electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). We also use various behavioral, neuropsychological and diagnostic measures, to characterize our participants’ cognition and social and emotional functioning and study links between brain and behavior.

If you are interested participating in one of our studies, please do not hesitate to contact us!