October 2023 - Zhen-Qi Liu

2023-10-19: Zhen-Qi Liu on Spatially heterogeneous structure-function coupling in haemodynamic and electromagnetic brain networks

I am Zhen-Qi Liu, currently in my third year of pursuing a PhD at NetNeuroLab (netneurolab.github.io), a dynamic research group led by Dr. Bratislav Misic at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Our recent research paper Spatially heterogeneous structure-function coupling in haemodynamic and electromagnetic brain networks published in NeuroImage explores the interplay between brain structure and function, employing a blend of dMRI, fMRI, and MEG data. We are excited to uncover distinct patterns that link brain structure to its operational dynamics, providing fresh insights into regional collaborations within the brain.

The intricate relationship between brain structure and function serves as a foundational concept in neuroscience. The field has accumulated a lot of insight about the macroscale organization of structure-function coupling using MRI, but little is known about the faster dynamics captured by modalities like MEG. Thanks to our recently graduated Dr. Golia Shafiei, we were able to integrate MEG data into the analysis. I have always been interested in connecting the dots by fully utilizing the wide range of modalities we currently have, so it’s natural to ask: how do the anatomical pathways of the brain contribute to the complex symphony of electromagnetic and haemodynamic dynamics?

An engaging narrative unfolded as I dived deeper into the inquiry. We observed that the connection between structure and function varies across different brain regions and frequency bands we examined, with stronger coupling in electromagnetic networks and slower & intermediate bands. Furthermore, this relationship systematically follows the archetypal sensorimotor-association hierarchy (higher in unimodal cortex, lower in transmodal cortex), as well as patterns of laminar differentiation, peaking in granular layer IV.

The greatest challenge in the process was integrating so many data modalites from multiple sources. It would be impossible to imagine back in the days, however, the collaborative atmosphere and many open-source resources cultivated at the MNI have made it possible now. Processing of the MEG data was undertaken by Dr. Golia Shafiei, using the Brainstorm software in consultation with Dr. Sylvain Baillet. Our cortical annotations and network metrics drew upon the Neuromaps and Netneurotools toolboxes, products of our lab's collective efforts.

As we delve into the intricate architecture and functional dynamics of the brain, these collaborative undertakings and innovative tools illuminate our path. The journey continues, promising to yield deeper insights into the interplay between brain structure and function.

You can read the full paper here.

The Misic lab at The Neuro


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