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Approved research

Genetic effects on fine-grained brain regionalization

Principal Investigator: Dr Yue Cui
Approved Research ID: 62352
Approval date: June 16th 2020

Lay summary

The human brain is a regionally highly differentiated structure. Nowadays, brain divisions are mainly based on the features of brain anatomy, and the subregional boundaries are mostly consistent for some regions, suggesting the cortical patterning may be driven by an underlying genetic mechanism. Additionally, white matter tracts that connect various brain regions are also heritable, and the functional specialization of brain circuitry is still unknown. In this project, we aim to investigate the fine-grained intrinsic genetic patterns of the human brain as well as the genetic basis of white matter tracts using UK biobank brain imaging and genetic data. We will work on data of T1 and T2 brain MRI, diffusion and functional brain MRI across the full cohort. We expect to reveal individualized segmentation of brain regions and fiber tracts using multimodal brain imaging data, and explore how brain regionalization, structure and function is influenced by genetics. We will also investigate how brain structural and functional specializations link to human higher cognition and aging, and the shared genetic influenced between them. We estimate the duration of the project is 3 to 4 years. This project will provide evidence for the genetic basis of brain regionalization and circuitry on a finer scale, and provide guidance and validation for the delineation of the human brain atlas. We believe this is important for understanding brain structure and function, and could benefit clinical evaluation and treatment for brain diseases.