We use neuroimaging technologies to study the design of the human brain at different scales, from the gross shape of surface convolutions, to the size and distribution of neurons. Our laboratory developed technology to visualize and measure neuro-architectural elements that supports mental life and emotions. Studying how the human brain is organized and interconnected gives us insight into the mechanisms of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
The Brain Observatory conducts exclusively human-based research. This means that the success of our studies depends on the willing participation of people who believe that they can change the course of science and accelerate research on brain disease.
Our goal is to study as many human brains as possible so that we can reveal the biological basis of individuality - what makes us who we are, and identify those features that predispose certain individuals to neurological or neuropsychiatric disease. By linking these features (markers of disease) with lifestyle factors such as nutrition, exposure to pollution, and exercise we build the knowledge necessary to establish a new personalized, preventive medicine for the brain.
Because crucial biological mechanisms and disease processes occur at a scale that is not detectable by diagnostic imaging (MRI and CT), our studies are also conducted on actual tissue samples from donated brains. In order to support these studies and to accelerate collaborative research, The Brain Observatory curates a dedicated brain bank and local brain donation program.