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“Understanding the brain in all its complexity is impossible for any group to accomplish in isolation.”
-Arthur Toga, Director

We’ve built a diverse team of neurobiologists, mathematicians, and computer scientists, and a worldwide network of collaborators sharing data. Our goal is to increase the pace of discovery in neuroscience by better understanding how the brain works when it’s healthy and what goes wrong in disease.

Our facility houses two advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanners for data acquisition: a Magnetom Prisma 3T and a Magnetom Terra 7T.

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LONI’s onsite data center features state-of-the-art security technology and can store more than four petabytes of brain imaging data.

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Our Scientific Visualization Group creates elegant maps and animations to illustrate brain structure and function.

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Latest News


Currently, three institutions in the U.S. have begun using 7-tesla magnets for clinical applications, but mostly for neurological and musculoskeletal conditions. The challenge now is showing how much more 7-tesla MRI can contribute to patient care.


Paul Thompson and his team just launched the ENIGMA World Aging Center, which will use the consortium’s network and a $682,000 grant from the National Institute on Aging to perform a global study of brain aging. The collaboration will help pinpoint the factors that contribute to healthy aging versus those that increase our risk for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.


On October 24, the ultra-high-field 7T Terra magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner at the USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute (INI) of the Keck School of Medicine of USC received FDA approval for clinical use, opening up new avenues of care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other diseases that affect the brain.


The Virtual Brain Segmenter (VBS), a virtual reality tool for processing brain scan images, has been named a finalist for the 2018 Auggie Breakthrough Awards, which honor innovative academic-industry collaborations in virtual and augmented reality.

VBS was developed by INI’s Dominique Duncan, PhD, Tyler Ard, PhD, Arthur W. Toga, PhD and the industry group RareFaction Interactive to transform a tedious step in the scientific process into an immersive experience. After collecting MRI data, researchers typically correct errors in scan images by hand, but VBS allows them to speed up the process with a VR headset, joystick and larger-than-life images of the brain.

In an experimental trial, published in the Journal of Digital Imaging in July, participants finished a correction task 68 seconds faster using VBS compared with the traditional method, a highly significant time savings considering the task rarely took more than three minutes to complete.

Now, Dr. Duncan is traveling in Munich, Germany to represent INI at the Auggie Breakthrough Awards ceremony, where winners will be chosen in several categories, including Most Innovative Breakthrough, Most Impactful Breakthrough and Best in Show. Fellow finalists include representatives from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford, the Mayo Clinic and international collaborators from Finland, Australia and beyond. Projects span the health sciences, communications, education, resource management and gaming.

Read more about the finalists in the official press release

Learn more about VBS from USC News