Functional MRI of Important Brain Cortices Adjacent to Brain Tumors


Surgery remains the main treatment of brain tumors. The goal of brain tumor surgery is to maximize tumor resection without damaging important adjacent brain structures (called eloquent cortices), which include parts of the brain that control speech, movement, and vision. Inadvertent resection of one of these areas leads to devastating consequences such as paralysis or blindness. Functional MRI (fMRI) is a non-invasive method currently used to study many diverse brain functions. Neurosurgical navigational systems based on fMRI have been proposed as a reliable system that could display the relationship between the tumor and the adjacent eloquent cortex both pre- and intra-operatively in 3-D and in real-time. We test the accuracy of fMRI in brain tumor patients including technical limitations of fMRI as a method due to the presence of neovasculature. We also study cortical reorganization due to the growth of a brain tumor.

Project Type

Basic Science, Clinical Research, and Translational Research

Preferred Project Dates

  • June 15 – August 7
  • June 22 – August 14
Student's Role

The student will be able to assist with acquiring fMRI data during an MRI scan and will help analyzing the data. The student can also go into the operating room and observe the intra-operative (occasionally awake) cortical mapping that will be compared to the fMRI results. Prior students have all published first author papers (Radiology and American Journal of Neuroradiology) and have presented at major international meetings.

Extent of Research/Laboratory, Clinical, and Didactic Activities
  • Laboratory Research: 35%
  • Clinical Research: 35%
  • Clinical Activities (Time attending clinics, shadowing, and/or OR observation): 20%
  • Didactics (Lab, DMT meetings, and/or other weekly conferences): 10%

Summer Fellowship Online Application