Local and global challenge
Maxime Descoteaux, PhD, director of the Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Laboratory (SCIL), focuses on neuro connectivity, including algorithm development, modeling, and the processing pipeline. He notes two major challenges for neural imaging: understanding white matter microstructure and understanding the large scale connections in the brain.
“At the local level, the challenge is to understand what the MR signal in a single voxel represents, especially in white matter. We have thousands of axons, blood vessels, and other types of cells such as glial cells, and all of this is averaged out in one MR signal, so there is a lot of room for local modeling to extract meaningful features from these signals,” Dr. Descoteaux notes. “The ultimate goal is to find new biomarkers for certain diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases, autism and psychiatric diseases.”
“At a more global level, one of the biggest challenges is mapping the human connectome. As we map the connections of the brain, it brings so much data that we need new algorithms to analyze that data.”