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fMRI Users Group Portal

A portal for the fMRI users community. This is a place for support questions, data storage, and user guides among other resources.

Pilot MRI Studies Call

The University of Chicago Neuroscience Institute is pleased to announce that funds will be available to support pilot MRI scans for new neuroscience projects. The purpose of these awards is to encourage the collection of pilot MRI data that will lead to new external funding.

Recipients of these pilot funds will be asked to present their proposed research to the MRIRC Users Group meeting soon after the grant is awarded.  Scans must be completed within one calendar year from the time of award. We strongly recommend that applicants obtain IRB approval before submitting the request for funds. If the allocated funds are not awarded, there will be a second call later in the year.


Award Process
4 awards will be given, each for up to 25 MRI scan hours at the MRIRC. Priority will be given to fMRI studies with a focus on brain activity and/or behavior, with an important component of the application being a plan for how the resulting data will be used to apply for external funding.  Projects will be reviewed by the committee and ad hoc reviewers with relevant expertise. 

Who can apply? 
Faculty who are members of the Neuroscience Institute. 
How to apply? 

Download the application
Awarded studies

Effect of Age on Brain Vascular Permeability

Principal Investigator: Issam A. Awad, MD PhD (Surgery)
Summary: The aging brain involves chronic vascular pathology, causing ischemic and hemorrhagic changes, and cognitive decline.

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Effort-Reward Decision-Making in Math Anxious Individuals

Principal Investigator: Sian Beilock, PhD (Psychology)
Summary: Many individuals report strong feelings of tension, apprehension, and fear of math. This emotional reaction, termed math anxiety, has long been associated with avoidance of math and poor math performance.

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Drug Effects on Neural Responses to Stimuli

Principal Investigator: Harriet de Wit, PhD (Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience)
Summary: The goal of this study is to examine the effects of a stimulant drug on brain activity while participants view images of varying sensory complexity.

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Aesthetic Sensitivity, Art Education, and Empathy

Principal Investigator: Jean Decety, PhD (Psychology)
Summary: This project employs fMRI to characterize the neurocognitive mechanisms underpinning aesthetic evaluation.

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The Effect of Nitrous Oxide on Front-Limbic Circuits in Aggressive Individuals


Principal Investigator: Sarah Keedy, PhD (Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience)
Summary: This is a pilot study to determine if inhalation of Nitrous Oxide (N2O; AKA “Laughing Gas”) will reduce fMRI Bold responses to exposure to angry emotional faces and/or increase fMRI Bold responses to viewing to socially ambiguous videos in cortico-limbic circuits.


Mental Imagery in a Foreign Language

Principal Investigator: Marc Berman, PhD (Psychology)
Summary: Mental imagery is a fundamental cognitive process often elicited via language.

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Effect of Electrical Stimulation on Brain Activity During Recollection Attempts

Principal Investigator: David Gallo, PhD (Psychology)
Summary: Electrical brain stimulation with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of human cognition, but the technique’s validity has been questioned.

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Neural Alterations Associated with Hallucination Propensity in Borderline Personality Disorder

Principal Investigator: Sarah Keedy, PhD (Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience)
Summary: This study aims to map this potential neurophysiological overlap of BOR with the major psychotic disorders schizophrenia, schizoaffective, and bipolar disorder. 

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The Neural Correlates of Learning Through Gesture


Principal Investigator: Susan Golding-Meadow, PhD (Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience)
Summary: This project investigates the neural processes that underlie learning with gesture. 

Functional Mechanisms Underlying Abnormalities of Fidgety Movements in Three Month Old Infants Following Perinatal Brain Hypoxia-Ischemia

Principal Investigator: Jeremy Marks, PhD MD (Pediatrics)
Summary: Perinatal brain hypoxia-ischemia in newborns results in a spectrum of neurodevelopmental outcomes, from no disability to intellectual disability and cerebral palsy.


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