Congratulations to Apoorva Ayyagari on completing her Masters Degree!

The Bright Lab celebrates Apoorva Ayyagari’s completion of her MS degree in Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern! After 2 excellent years as a core member of our lab, Apoorva successfully defended her MS thesis, titled “Understanding noise in spinal cord BOLD fMRI data with a breath-hold paradigm to investigate feasibility of studying vascular reactivity“. In this work, she rigorously assesses cardiac and respiratory noise, motion confounds, and co-linearity between different physiologic signals in spinal cord imaging data. Spinal cord fMRI data are notoriously challenging to work with due to all of these artifactual signals, and this thesis reflects excellent progress in understanding and modeling these factors. Apoorva’s many contributions in the lab will continue to benefit our ongoing projects in mapping cerebrovascular reactivity amplitude and latency, standardizing how physiologic data is collected during MRI scanning, preprocessing spinal cord fMRI data, and quantifying relationships between different sources of signal variance in these data. Although we are extremely sad to see her go, we wish Apoorva the very best as she starts her new job in human factors engineering in Evanston. Congrats Apoorva!

Dr. Rachael Stickland receives NUCATS pilot grant

Congratulations to postdoctoral fellow Dr. Rachael Stickland on her success in the NUCATS Pilot Grant program! Over the coming year, Dr. Stickland will be assessing a multi-parametric imaging protocol focused on cerebrovascular function, testing reliability in healthy participants then translating into patients. This project will use the RespirActâ„¢ to deliver carbon dioxide in a carefully controlled, breath-by-breath basis during concurrent MRI scanning to characterize the associated vasodilatory response. More information about NUCATS can be found on their website.

Molly Bright elected to the ISMRM Brain Function Study Group committee

PI Molly Bright has just been elected as secretary of the Current Issues in Brain Function Study Group of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. She will be introduced formally at the annual meeting in Montreal, and will have a 4-year tenure advancing through the committee positions until finishing as Chair in 2023.

All interested in imaging brain function are invited to attend the study group meeting in Montreal, which will be held on Tuesday, May 14th, 13:30-14:30. We’re looking forward to working closely with the committee and members of the study group!


Career Development Award for PI Molly Bright

We are excited to announce that Molly Bright has received an Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Engineering Research Career Development (K12) Award! The IREK12 program recruits and trains scholars with engineering and other quantitative backgrounds to become successful rehabilitation scientists in basic, translational and/or clinical research. The award will fund research in adapting fMRI methodology for use in pediatric brain injury, constructing and validating new models of the BOLD signal in individual children, and then applying these techniques to study atypical motor systems in pediatric-onset hemiplegia. For more information about the IREK12 program, see the consortium’s webpage.