Transcriptomic Characterization of Cortical T1-w/T2-w MRI

Bioinformatics and Computational Neuroscience

Undergraduate Thesis Project

This work contributed the first genome-wide analysis of the transcriptomic correlates of the T1-w/T2-w ratio MR image. In other words, we investigated what kinds of genes are expressed in tissues that show up as bright on a specific type of MRI. To do this, we used open data from the Allen Human Brain Atlas.

The T1-w/T2-w ratio is used by connectomics researchers to determine the amount of myelin at each point in the cortex. We found some evidence that myelin was associated with the ratio image, but also found other associations, such as with marker genes for specific cell-types, genes encoding heavier proteins and genes related to mitochondrial activity.

This project gave me a strong appreciation for the work of biologists, and I learned valuable methods for data-driven neuroscience.

Research from this project was presented at the 2017 PRNI Workshop as well as the OHBM 2017 annual meeting, and published in the journal NeuroImage .

Contributions: Implementation, Analysis, Paper Writing. This work was done in collaboration with my undergraduate thesis supervisor, Prof. Leon French, as well as Prof. Spiro Pantazatos of Columbia University.