Brain Visualization

Human Brain Functional MRI and DTI Visualization


Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and functional MRI (fMRI) are two active research areas in neuroimaging. DTI is sensitive to the anisotropic diffusion of water exerted by its macromolecular environment and has been shown useful in characterizing structures of ordered tissues such as the brain white matter, myocardium, and cartilage. Functional MRI measures brain activations using the hemodynamic response. The combination of these two methods provides a new way to understand human brain from the anatomical neuronal fiber connectivity to functional activities between different brain regions.

Cross-sectional scan of a human brain with a slightly larger area colorized. Cross-sectional scan of a human brain with a small area colorized.

Human brain volume rendering and color coded region visualization.


In this study, virtual reality (VR) based MR DTI and fMRI visualization with high resolution anatomical image segmentation and registration, ROI definition and neuronal white matter fiber tractography visualization and fMRI activation map integration is proposed as well as a new function for remote stereoscopic 3D visualization. A virtual human brain model for neurobiological research and education has been built. Rationale and methods for producing and distributing stereoscopic videos are also discussed.

Human brain with color coded segmented regions. Human brain with color coded segmented regions and a region is removed.

Surface rendered deskull brain with color coded segmented regions.


A workflow which provides the option of stereoscopic viewing to the user had been adopted. In conclusion, an immersive visualization application for MR DTI, neuronal white matter fiber tractography and fMRI activation map visualization have been proposed and implemented. Visualization techniques include surface modeling, volume rendering, and streamlines or streamtubes. The application will have potential applications in basic research, education, and surgical planning. Continued development is needed to implement the tensor visualization, 3D stereoscopy and interactive visualization.

A hand holds a device which allows for selection of brain segments on the projected image of a human brain.

Ray selection of brain segments using a wand.

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Click the movie below to see the brain visualization in detail.

Click the movie below to see additional visualization of the brain optic nerve.

Faculty Collaborator:  Dr. Bin Chen

Brain Visualization

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