Fumiko Hoeft wins the Samuel Torrey Orton Award

Each year, the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) acknowledges the achievements of leading researchers and practitioners in the dyslexia field, as well as those of individuals with dyslexia who exhibit leadership and serve as role models in their communities. These award recipients have done so much to advance the mission of helping all those who struggle to read.

The Samuel Torrey Orton Award is the International Dyslexia Association’s highest honor. The Award recognizes a person or persons who have:

  • Made a vital contribution to our scientific understanding of dyslexia, or
  • Significantly enhanced and advanced our capacity to successfully intervene and assist people with dyslexia, or
  • Expanded national and international awareness of dyslexia, or
  • Demonstrated unusual competence and dedication in service to people with dyslexia

Congratulations, Fumiko! This is a well deserved honor.

(Information courtesy of International Dyslexia Association)

Updated fees for MRI Block Scheduling.

BIRC recognizes it can be difficult to book scanner time during busy months, and many investigators would like to book blocks of time (three or more consecutive hours) to run multiple participants. We support this practice, but we also need to ensure the scanner is available to be utilized by all investigators. We ask that, if you are using a block scheduling system, you please cancel any available slots with a minimum of 14 days’ notice to allow other investigators the opportunity to schedule participants.

The following cancellation fees for block scheduling will become effective February 1, 2022:
>14 days' notice: No charge
8-14 days' notice: 25% charge
24 hours-7 days' notice: %50 charge
< 24 hours' notice: 100% charge

Please see https://birc.uconn.edu/researchers/rates-and-policies/ for additional information.

Brianna Kinnie Receives 2021 BIRC Excellence Award

The BIRC is pleased to announce the second 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 2021 BIRC Excellence Award Recipient, Brianna Kinnie, B.S.! Brianna is a project coordinator supervised by Professor Fumiko Hoeft. Brianna coordinated recruitment and research activities for two R01 projects, contributed to undergraduate training, and provided coverage as a Technologist Assistant for clinical scanning, a significant source of revenue for BIRC.

COVID-19 Protocol Updates

Please refer to COVID-19 Guidance for BIRC Users for the most recent information.

BIRC COVID-19 protocols have been updated and simplified to align with University-wide guidance for Fall 2021. All individuals are required to follow campus guidelines at BIRC, including wearing a mask indoors and, if unvaccinated, maintaining 6 feet of distance from others when indoors. Researchers are encouraged to review the updated COVID-19 online EHS training.

While at BIRC, please observe the following procedures in addition to campus guidelines:

  • Disinfect touch surfaces after use.
  • Participants must continue to change into scrubs for MRI procedures.
  • Health screening: You must perform on yourself and your research participants 24H before arrival and upon arrival. Please bring your own form.
  • All individuals must properly wear face masks inside BIRC. Participants may remove their mask while inside the MRI. Researchers are responsible for providing face masks for themselves and participants.

Key changes from prior BIRC policy include:

  • Labs are no longer required to maintain COVID-19 safety protocols.
  • Researchers may now interact with masked participants without the use of gowns, face shields, or gloves.
  • Room capacity limits have been removed. For their own protection, unvaccinated individuals are requested to maintain 6 feet social distancing space from others.
  • The BIRC conference room may be reserved for meetings held in accordance with campus guidelines. All rooms and resources must be reserved prior to use.
  • The BIRC conference room may also be reserved for distanced indoor eating when necessary. If you will be eating in the conference room, minimize eating/drinking time and reserve an additional one hour beyond the occupancy period.
  • Please have participants enter BIRC using our main entrance. The employee entrance may still be used for participants on weekends. It is not necessary to sign in/out.

Fumiko Hoeft and Colleagues Receive NIH U24 Grant

Five new research networks totaling $3.13 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health will allow investigators to refine and test key concepts that advance the study of emotional well-being.

Fumiko Hoeft, Sandra Marshall, and Crystal Park, in collaboration with UConn InCHIP, UConn Neag School of Education, and UConn Research, have just received funding for their NIH U24 grant exploring the underlying mechanisms of mind-body interventions and measurement of Emotional Well Being. Utilizing imaging resources available at BIRC, this project will illuminate the role of emotional well-being in mind and body interventions as both an outcome itself and as a mechanism in improving mental and physical health outcomes. (Grant U24 AT011281-01; NICHD, OBSSR, and ODP are co-funding partners)

In addition to UConn, the list of research networks includes University of Alabama, University of Wisconsin-Madison, UCSF, and University of Rochester.

For more information, visit UConn Today

More information about the scope of this grant can be found on the NCCIH Research Blog




BIRC Main Entrance Reopening March 22

Beginning Monday March 22, we will reopen our main entrance during regular operating hours.

We do ask that you continue to meet your participants and bring them directly to your testing room; the reception area will remain closed. The free-standing sign-in log currently located at the employee entrance will be moved to the main entrance, and there will be a second sign-in log on the radiator at the employee entrance for people who do not use the QR code/Location Log system.

We will continue to use PPE, social distancing, and established disinfecting protocols.