fMRI Facility to Enhance Research Efforts on Brain Function
This summer researchers within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, as well as interested colleagues from other colleges across campus, will have access to their own brain imaging facility.
The brain imaging facility, to be located at Cooley Dickinson Hospital's University Drive health center, just a few blocks from campus, will be used for medical diagnostic purposes as well as for research. The kind of imaging that SBS faculty and students will conduct involves the use of an MRI machine, except that instead of creating static images of the structure of the brain (e.g., for localizing the area of damage of a stroke or tumor), they will be able to visualize what brain areas are physiologically activated when individuals engage in specific mental activities. Researchers worldwide use functional MRI (or simply fMRI) to better understand how the inner workings of the human brain enable people to perceive and attend to the world around them, to think and reason, and to feel emotions. With the opening of this new facility, UMass Amherst faculty will join this amazing quest to unravel some of the most basic questions about brain function and behavior.
The establishment of this fMRI facility was spearheaded by the interdepartmental Neuroscience and Behavior graduate program and the Department of Psychology, working in cooperation with Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Paul Kostecki, vice provost for research, has provided initial funding for the facility, which includes money for hardware and software purchases, as well as three years of "seed funds" for researchers to collect pilot data that will be used for future external grant proposals.
June 18, 2007