Author: Elisa Medeiros

BIRC bids farewell to Director Fumiko Hoeft

Dr. Fumiko Hoeft officially ended her BIRC Director appointment on August 22, 2023. During her five year tenure, Fumiko worked hard to support the BIRC mission statement and had much success despite the unprecedented challenge of a world-wide pandemic. Her accomplishments are too great to list, but include transitioning the BIRC Speaker Series to a completely virtual format during the pandemic, providing the opportunity to present new science and research from renowned investigators to more than 100 registered virtual attendees on average. Fumiko created opportunities at BIRC for undergrads, grad students, and post docs to learn new imaging techniques, strengthen skills in data collection and analysis, and cheered them when they left for new opportunities. Always an advocate for education, Fumiko mentored many students, and even at her busiest, she would always make time to answer a question, write a letter of reference, and give a mental boost when needed. Fumiko recognizes that we all need an occasional break, and was always ready to organize and host a social gathering on behalf of BIRC.

Fumiko will now be concentrating all of her considerable energy on her position as Director of the UConn-Waterbury campus, and while BIRC will miss her leadership, we are thrilled she has the opportunity to lead an entire campus.

IBACS Fall 2023 Call for Seed Grant Applications

The Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS) is pleased to announce a new call for applications to its seed grant fund.  

The seed grant program is intended to fund research consistent with the IBACS mission. Large Seed Grant applications (>$10,000 but <$25,000) are time-limited to accommodate GA assignment; the Fall deadline is October 2nd, 2023 (due to the 1st falling on a weekend)Please submit letters of intent as soon as possible, but at least 2 weeks prior to  the seed grant application deadline (by 9/15/23), to allow time for review and feedback prior to submission of the full proposal.

A reminder that our Spring deadline will be April 1st, 2024Small Seed Grant applications (<$10,000) are accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted.

Seed funding is intended to support direct research costs such as supplies, participant fees, animal costs, and student support. Review criteria seek innovative, novel, and collaborative projects in the field of brain and cognitive sciences.  Postdocs can also apply, with a faculty mentor as co-PI. Undergraduates are directed to separate academic/summer funding. Full details on the seed grant program, including applications (letter of intent and full seed app) and allowable costs, please check our website. 

The Institute also invites applications for affiliate memberships 

Any questions should be directed to the Institute Coordinator, Crystal Mills at crystal.mills@uconn.edu or (860) 486-4937. 

Why Do We Make Everyone Change into Scrubs for Their MRI?

We get it; it can be annoying and time consuming to have a participant change out of their clothes into our scrubs when there is no apparent metal on their clothing, but looks can be deceiving. In honor of MRI Safety Week, I am sharing an article written in The Washington Post by Tobias Gilk that discusses the hidden MRI dangers in today’s clothing. 

Another reason we have everyone change their clothing (including clinical patients) is to maintain the cleanliness of the scanner and homogeneity of of the magnetic field, as well as reduce artifacts caused by items introduced into the bore. I can confidently say from experience, a dry cleaning tag staple creates a huge artifact and is incredibly difficult to locate.

If you ever have a question about MRI Safety, please email Elisa. Also, mrisafety.com, created by Dr. Frank Shellock, has a searchable list of everything from implants to hardware that is kept very up-to-date, and is a great resource for other safety questions as well.

Now Hiring: Director of the UConn Brain Imaging Research Center

Director of the UConn Brain Imaging Research Center

The University of Connecticut (UConn) invites applications for a full-time Director of a state-of-the-art neuroimaging core facility currently in UConn's Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC). The facility is located in 3,200 square feet of recently renovated space and houses a Siemens Prisma 3-Tesla scanner and additional instrumentation for simultaneous and standalone high-density EEG, TMS, and tES.

The successful candidate will be enthusiastic to run a full-service core and motivated to maintain a high-quality fee-for-service facility at the cutting edge of research.

The University of Connecticut has dynamic, highly-regarded research programs in cognition and cognitive neuroscience, language, speech, and reading, developmental psychopathology, health psychology, kinesiology, genetics/genome sciences, and others, including the Institutes for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBACS) and for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP).

This is a full-time, end-dated position with the possibility of renewal subject to performance and funding. The University offers a competitive salary, and outstanding benefits, including employee and dependent tuition reimbursement at UConn, and a highly desirable work environment. For additional information regarding benefits visit: https://hr.uconn.edu/benefits-beyond-pay/.

Please apply online at https://hr.uconn.edu/jobs, Staff Openings, Search #497648 to upload the following documents as a single PDF file: cover letter, curriculum vitae, research and scholarship statement, evidence of a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion statement, and contact information for three (3) professional references. Evaluation of applicants will begin on August 7, 2023. For more information regarding COR2E and BIRC, please visit our websites at core.uconn.edu and birc.uconn.edu.

For additional information, please see: https://hr.uconn.edu/jobs, Staff Openings, Search #497648 or contact: Andrew Moiseff, Search Chair, at Andrew.Moiseff@UConn.edu.

The University of Connecticut is an AA/EEO Employer.

Farewell to Dr. Roeland Hancock

Associate Director of BIRC and Psychological Sciences faculty Roeland Hancock has accepted the position of Director of the new Imaging Center at Yale’s Wu Tsai Institute.

Roeland came to UConn in 2017 after completing his postdoctoral fellowship. His accomplishments are numerous. He started the IBRAiN program, created the TMS training protocol and offered training in TMS and EEG, and taught the only course on neuroimaging methods on campus. Roeland led a team of IBRAiN students to co-author a Nature paper. Numerous graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty benefited from his support, including 14 dissertations. During his tenure, BIRC has not only contributed to grow and strengthen our scientific community, but also contributed to increasing the revenue of BIRC by 10x (of which research-related expenditure grew by 5x also), becoming the first service center to “break even” at UConn despite the pandemic and shut down. Needless to say, it is a huge loss to our psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience communities.

Roeland’s last day was June 23rd.

MRI Scheduling updates

How to Utilize the MRI Wait List option

If you are requesting a time that is not available to schedule because it is marked as Not Available or Pending Availability, or if the time is currently reserved by another investigator but you would like that slot if it becomes available, please use the MRI Wait List for Unavailable/off hour times. The Wait List should not be used as a placeholder if there are available slots. All Wait List requests will receive one of two emails informing the requestor of the status of the reservation: One is an automated email from the BIRC Scheduler informing you the reservation has been approved and has been moved to the MRI schedule; or one from Elisa informing you that we were unable to find coverage for your requested times. Once your reservation has been approved, you are responsible for all normal charges (please review our cancellation policies for single and block cancellations at https://birc.uconn.edu/researchers/rates-and-policies/

Short-notice cancellations

Effective immediately, if you have a reservation that cancels within 24 hours of the reservation start time but you are able to find another lab to take that slot, you will not be charged. (Please note you will "own" that spot until Elisa is notified about the change.) To help facilitate this process, we have created a listserv available to all schedulers to communicate any questions, availabilities, or requests. Please let Elisa know if you would like to be added to birc_mri_schedulers-l@listserv.uconn.edu

Please remember that it is the responsibility of the investigator or the person responsible for scheduling participants to monitor their own reservations. All schedulers will now receive an automated email from BIRC Scheduler confirming the MRI reservation as soon as it is approved.  All reservations made during available hours (slots are open and available to schedule, including weekends) will automatically be approved and can be confirmed with your participants prior to receiving the confirmation email.