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.
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.
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.
The BIRC is pleased to announce the third annual BIRC Excellence Award, which highlights the achievements of a student, staff, faculty member, lab, or group who has made exceptional contributions towards advancing the goals of the BIRC as outlined in the Mission Statement:
- To facilitate scientific discovery and theoretical and methodological innovation
- To serve as an intellectual center for interdisciplinary basic and clinical research
- To prepare graduate students and post-doctoral fellows for careers in academia and related fields
- To provide undergraduate students with research experience and other educational opportunities
- To disseminate scientific knowledge to the broader university community, relevant professional communities, and the general public
The BIRC Excellence Award is awarded on an annual basis at the end of each Fall semester. Awardees are selected by BIRC staff and confirmed by the BIRC steering committee.
Congratulations to our 2022 BIRC Excellence Award honoree, Kelly Mahaffy, M.A! Kelly has a B.A. in English Literature from Truman State University, M.A. in English Literature from UConn, and is currently a PhD student in Developmental Psychology in Dr. Nicole Landi’s lab. Kelly training to run the MRI scanner to eventually provide additional scanning hours for all investigators, has led or supported MRI and EEG data collection for two pediatric studies at BIRC, trained undergraduate and graduate students in behavioral assessment and EEG, and widely disseminates her knowledge—be sure to check out her poster for great tips on running a successful pediatric MRI study next time you are at BIRC!
Come join UConn’s outstanding cognitive science community and the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, right next door to BIRC!
Click here for more information.