Imaging Brain Function with Diffuse Optics: Current Opportunities and Future Directions


Imaging Brain Function with Diffuse Optics: Current Opportunities and Future Directions

Prof. Maria Franceschini, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m., February 26, 2021   |   Zoom

Contact Michele Tharp for Zoom link

Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) is an established neuroimaging methodology which enables neuroscientists to study brain activity and clinician to monitor adequate cerebral perfusion by non-invasively measuring hemodynamic changes in the cerebral cortex.

Prof. Maria Franceschini’s group and other groups have shown that by sending light with different features, they can extract more information than just changes in absorbance and improve fNIRS capabilities. Moreover, by operating DCS in the time domain (TD-DCS) they can double the sensitivity to the brain, and, for the first time using non-invasive diffuse optical methods, can achieve higher sensitivity to the brain than to superficial tissues.

Maria Franceschini
Prof. Maria Franceschini

In this presentation, she will summarize these and other recent technological advances technology developments which are going to enable routine use of NIRS for functional studies and clinical applications.

Maria Franceschini is a Professor at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. Her background is in physics, with specific training in optics. Throughout her entire scientific career, she has been working on the development of novel non-invasive optical imaging methods to achieve a deeper understanding of the brain and to impact the clinical management of patients. Her tools are allowing investigation of brain oxygen delivery and consumption in health and disease.

Prof. Franceschini has published over 90 original peer-reviewed publications in the field of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). She has been cited more than 14,000 times and has an H-index of 62. The strength of her research is her interdisciplinary approach, which encompasses electrical engineering, optics and lasers, theoretical modeling, and experimental work. The research includes preclinical studies in small animals and translation to humans from premature infants to older adults, with applications ranging from the bedside and operating rooms in hospitals to the gym, and on to rural villages in developing countries. She is an innovator and over the years she has invented several new optical technologies and methods and filed 15 patents. To facilitate dissemination and clinical translation of some of these new methods, she has founded a non-profit organization (Neuluce) and a start-up company (149 medical).

Prof. Franceschini has been recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the field of near-infrared spectroscopy and diffuse optical imaging. She is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), the American Academy of Radiology, and the Optical Society of America (OSA). She is the president-elect of the Society of functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (SfNIRS), a member of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Standards Committee, and a past standing member of the Emerging Imaging Technologies and Applications (EITA) NIH study section.

Contact Michele Tharp for Zoom link.