Author: Elisa Medeiros

BIRC’s response to the Coronavirus Outbreak Update #7 3-18-20

I hope you all saw VPR’s and President’s announcements today of immediate research ramp down ( In-person research at BIRC remains suspended until 4/6 but is likely to be longer.

We will remain open virtually. So please do send us consultation requests or support with BIRC-related dissertations, manuscripts and grants.

We will find out more about our clinical operation tomorrow after the Town Hall and the CLAS staff meeting. The current plan is that we suspend until 4/6 except for 2 critical cases. UCHC has suspended elective surgery yesterday, and today decided to downsize some non-critical operations.

Staff will be on site twice a week to check in on the facilities.

As scientific talks become scarce with many being cancelled and as we all get used to our new lifestyle, we are considering offering some talks/workshops virtually. Please stay tuned.

As always, if you have questions, please let us know.

Looking back at our first update 10 days ago, it seems a world apart. During this difficult time, I hope we are able to appreciate what we have than what we are losing and find humor in our every day lives! The glass is always half full. If you need humor, I have plenty of material from home – contact me (Fumiko).

BIRC’s response to the Coronavirus Outbreak Update #6 3-16-20

With many states and counties advancing into lockdown (SF is stating lockdown of the whole city together with neighboring counties effective tonight – just announced! I believe it will come our way to CT sooner than we think/hope. I hope I am wrong), we have made some adjustments.

We technically remain open until the university announcement, but …

We have cancelled all research scans until 4/6 and will continue to discourage scanning unless you can convince us 🙂

While UCHC has decided to only cancel elective surgery at this point, and no outpatient services are cancelled, we have agreed to cancel/postpone all clinical scans as well. We will scan the remaining patients if there are critical needs but have suspended all clinical scans at least until 4/6 as well. We are currently not booking any new patients. Thanks for Leo Wolansky (UCHC Radiology Department Chair)’s understanding in the service of protecting our staff.
Hence no disinfection will be done as complete telecommuting has started.

If you have critical needs please contact me.

Stay safe and happy…

BIRC’s response to the Coronavirus Outbreak Update #5 3-16-20

A quick update to you all. 

We are currently technically open. But we do not have any research scans until the weekend (and they are non-EEG) and will likely close as soon as we get guidance from VPR. They are in discussions and will propose recommendations to the President this afternoon. We are urging the university to stop all non-critical/essential research that does not impact human health ASAP. We should have updates before any further research scans are done.

We are in discussions with UCHC Radiology to stop clinical MRI as well as they are non-priority scans.

We remain open virtually for any consultations or training that can be done remotely. We will suspend in person MRI safety training until further notice. LMK if this impacts your research plans.

Please do not come in to use the conference rooms or data room unless necessary. While we have staff telecommute, we will not be disinfecting the areas as we had originally planned and was doing last week. If you do need to come in to BIRC, please contact me.

Thank you,

BIRC’s response to the Coronavirus Outbreak Update #4 3-13-20

At this time BIRC will continue to be fully operational. Any scheduled research will not be impacted, and investigators can schedule additional research times as needed.

Please note that we will be complying with the University’s request to have staff and faculty telecommute when possible and may not be in the facility during normal business hours; however, please feel free to email any questions to Fumiko Hoeft, Roeland Hancock, or Elisa Medeiros.

BIRC’s response to the Coronavirus Outbreak Update #3 3-10-20

To encourage minimizing potentially sick participants and staff/students from coming in and concerns from COVID-19, we will waive last minute cancellation fees due to illness. We have received permission from CLAS and this will continue until the end of March. We will revisit at the end of March. Please notify Manager of MRI Services Elisa for such instances.

BIRC’s response to the Coronavirus Outbreak Update #2 3-7-20


Because many individuals from UConn and the surrounding communities utilize BIRC facilities, we are providing guidance on entering BIRC facilities and running participants. Also, please report a respiratory viral illness (Covid-19 or influenza) diagnosis to the Director of BIRC if you have been in the BIRC facilities within 14 days prior to the diagnosis.

FEVER (Temp >38°C/100.4°F), no other symptoms
Stay at home. Investigators and participants may participate in BIRC research activities only when there has been at least 24 hours of no fever without the use of antipyretics (i.e., fever‐ reducing medications, such as Tylenol®, Motrin®, etc.)

FEVER (Temp >38°C/100.4°F) WITH THESE SYMPTOMS: Cough, Sore throat, Nasal Congestion / Runny Nose, Myalgia (body aches)
Stay at home. Investigators and participants may participate in BIRC research activities only when there has been at least 24 hours of no fever without the use of antipyretics (i.e., fever‐ reducing medications, such as Tylenol®, Motrin®, etc.) AND symptoms have significantly improved

NO FEVER BUT WITH ONE OR MORE OF THESE SYMPTOMS: Cough, Sore throat, Nasal Congestion / Runny Nose, Myalgia (body aches)
You may enter BIRC facilities but please avoid close-contact research activities such as EEG/TMS,  and avoid being in closed areas with another investigator or participant for a prolonged period of time (e.g. psychological testing in a testing room) UNTIL 24 hours have passed since the start of symptoms AND symptoms have significantly improved

MRI Scanner Operation Training for Qualified Candidates

The Brain Imaging Research Center now offers qualified candidates the opportunity to learn how to operate the Siemens Prisma 3T MRI Scanner to perform brain research studies. This training will consist of three components:
Didactic – All candidates will be required to attend a two-hour class about MRI safety tailored to issues that can be encountered during data acquisition. This training will include: Preventing radiofrequency (RF) burns; working with Specific Absorption Rates (SAR); proper participant preparation; quench emergency procedures. Note: a basic knowledge of MRI physics is necessary for this class.
Instrumentation – All candidates will be required to attend a two-hour class to learn basic scanner operation, including: User platform orientation (Syngo VE11C); coil selection and handling; participant positioning; BOLD screen operation; Eye Link operation; response box selection and operation; image transfer to NiDB or XNAT; basictroubleshooting.
Scanner Operation – All candidates will be required to successfully complete a minimum of twenty research scan sessions that include fMRI (BOLD) imaging, structural sequences, and DTI (diffusion tensor imaging) with direct supervision by an MRI Technologist. Scanning studies currently active at BIRC may complete this requirement. Additional scan sessions may be required at the discretion of the supervising technologist.
After successful completion of the above training, the candidate will be allowed to scan his or her own studies without direct supervision. Note: An MRI technologist must be in the facility for all scan sessions.
Candidates must maintain their status by completing a minimum of one study per month. Failure to do so will require a minimum of two directly supervised scan sessions per missed month.
Training is expected to begin the week of October 28 2019, allowing the candidate to be prepared to scan his or her own study during the spring semester.
Qualified candidate prerequisites:
      • Post doc with a commitment to remain for a minimum of one year (must be endorsed by PI)
      • Graduate student who has completed their Masters degree and must be endorsed by PI
      • Formal knowledge of basic MRI physics
      • Completion of Level 1 and Level 2 Safety Training
      • CPR certified (must provide documentation prior to scanning humans)

Online classes available at

Interested candidates can apply for this training opportunity by providing the following information and documentation:
      • PI name, duration of contract, and written endorsement
      • Proof of formal basic MRI physics education
      • Any previous MRI experience
      • Study name, projected start date, and expected number of participants
Important dates:
      • Application submission: October 7-October 18 2019
      • Candidate acceptance notification: October 25 2019
      • Didactic and Instrumentation training: November 2019 (dates TBD)
      • Scanner Operation: November 2019 until completed
Please send the requested information to:

Elisa Medeiros, R.T.(R)(CT)(MR)
Manager, MRI Services
University of Connecticut
Brain Imaging Research Center
2 Alethia Drive Unit 1271
Storrs CT 06269-1271

Talk: Dr. James V. Haxby, Dartmouth College

James V. Haxby, PhD

Dartmouth College

Distinguished Speaker

Wednesday, February 20 2019 3:30-5:00PM Bousfield A106

Abstract: Multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) has revealed that information is encoded in finegrained patterns of cortical activity that can be measured with fMRI. Study of cortical functional connectivity also has revealed fine-grained topographies in the connectome that are closely related to these patterns of activity. The surface structure of functional cortical topographies, however, allows considerable variability across brains for encoding the same information. We introduced a new conceptual framework with computational algorithms that make it possible to model the shared information that is encoded in fine-grained functional topographies that vary across brains. This framework, “hyperalignment”, models shared information as a high-dimensional information space, rather than attempting to model a shared or canonical topographic structure in the physical space of cortical anatomy. Hyperalignment is based on computational algorithms that discover this space and calculate transformations that project individually-variable patterns of neural activity and connectivity into the common model information space.

Research Focus: My current research focuses on the development of computational methods for building models of representational spaces. We assume that distributed population responses encode information. Within a cortical field, a broad range of stimuli or cognitive states can be represented as different patterns of response. We use fMRI to measure these patterns of response and multivariate pattern (MVP) analysis to decode their meaning. We are currently developing methods that make it possible to decode an individual’s brain data using MVP classifiers that are based on other subjects’ data. We use a complex, natural stimulus to sample a broad range of brain representational states as a basis for building high-dimensional models of representational spaces within cortical fields. These models are based on response tuning functions that are common across subjects. Initially, we demonstrated the validity of such a model in ventral temporal cortex. We are working on building similar models in other visual areas and in auditory areas. We also plan to investigate representation of social cognition using this same conceptual framework.


Visitors from UCHC are encouraged to use the UCHC-Storrs shuttle service. Talks can also be joined remotely. Please contact us if you are interested in meeting with the speaker.