Neuroimaging Research


A better understanding of how the human brain works and how alterations in its normal functional mechanisms may lead to different brain disorders/diseases is among the most important research in the new century. The BRIAN Initiative recognizes this importance and calls for revolution in our understanding of the human brain. Innovative neuroimaging techniques and applications represent a unique strength due to their noninvasive nature and great translational prospects, and thus are key to the success of this initiative.

The Neuroimaging Research Program at the Cedars-Sinai Biomedical Imaging Research Institute (BIRI) is dedicated to building a solid brain research program to better understand the mechanisms underlying central nervous system development and diseases. Leveraging advanced neuroimaging techniques (e.g., PET and MRI) and novel analytical tools, we work closely with clinicians to improve our understanding of the brain’s development and functional mechanisms in both normal and at-risk/diseased populations. Our long-term mission is to derive imaging-based objective biomarkers to aid early diagnosis and better monitoring of various brain disorders/diseases, as well as to provide more effective guidance for potential intervention and treatment strategies.



With extensive experience in structural and functional brain MRI imaging and new strengths in PET metabolic imaging, we will work together with clinicians from different specialties to address pressing research topics associated with different brain disorders/diseases. Multidisciplinary teamwork between neuroimaging experts and clinicians is key to all our research topics. Our prioritized focus areas include:

  • Early brain development research
  • Cognitive impairment research
  • Epilepsy research
  • Other brain disorders and diseases with campus-wide interests

Moreover, with a system perspective we are also actively looking into the relationship between the brain and the heart, and the gut-brain axis, with the aim to search for novel targets in diagnosing and treating brain disorders/mental problems.

Diffusion tensor imaging technique on brain white-matter fiber tracts.

Brain development of functional networks in the first two years of life, using resting-state fMRI.

Collaborative Research

Directed by Wei Gao, PhD, the Neuroimaging Research Program works closely with other Cedars-Sinai departments as well as external researchers.

Internal Collaborations

External Collaborations

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Denver, Colorado