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Name of Collaboratory :


Biomedical Informatics Research Network: Brain Morphometry (Morphometry BIRN)


Logo :


URL :  

Collaboratory Status :

Completed   Start Date : 2001 End Date : 2004 Info Last Updated : Fri, Dec 3 2010 3:00am PST

Primary Collaboratory Function :

  Community Data Systems  

Secondary Collaboratory Functions :


Domain(s) :

  Neurosciences--> Brain Imaging--> Diseases of the Brain and Treatment of.  

Brief Description of the Collaboratory :


Aim: The aim of the Brain Morphology BIRN project is to create a nation-wide database that will advance the use of biomedical imaging for diagnoses and treatment of neuropsychiatric illness.

Method: The database will allow investigators to share both clinical data (including biomedical imaging data) and software (analysis and visualization tools). By sharing clinical data across multiple sites, the populations of patients investigated can be expanded thus improving the statistical accuracy of the results. By sharing the processing tools, all investigators will have access to the most advanced research tools.


Access to Instruments :


Access to Information Resources :

  Brain Morphometry BIRN has two types of human data in a distributed database:

1) Structural MRI data (volumes) and morphometric derived data (volumes, surfaces, labels)
2) Clinical metadata (e.g., subjects' gender, age, diagnose, clinical scores)

In addition, there are software tools that access these data allowing its visualization, processing, and querying.


Access to People as Resources :

  Morphometry BIRN reports the milestones to BIRN CC. They also report resources need and resources allocation to BIRN CC. There are also communications across sites for the working groups, which handle an array of project development tasks.

Funding Agency or Sponsor :

United States Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)

Notes on Funding Agencies/Sponsors:

Organizations with Funded Participants:
Organization name:
Approx # of participants:
Description of organization's role(s):
Johns Hopkins University
   Center for Imaging Science
ï Principal Investigator Michael Miller ï Co-Investigator Peter van Zijl
University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
   General Clinic Research Center (UC San Diego) (GCRC)
Principal Investigator Gregory Brown ï Co-Investigator Edward Holmes
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
   Laboratory of Neuro Imaging (LONI)
ï Principal Investigator Arthur Toga
Massachusetts General Hospital
   MGH/MIT/HMS Athinoula A. Marthinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
ï Principal Investigator Bruce Rosen ï Co-Investigator Anders Dale ï Co-Investigator Randy Golub ï Project Manager Jorge Jovicich
Duke University
   Duke University Medical Center
      Neuropsychiatric Imaging Research Laboratory (NIRL)
ï Principal Investigator Ranga Krishnan ï Co-Investigator James MacFall
Brigham and Womens Hospital
   Surgical Planning Laboratory
ï Principal Investigator Ron Kikinis ï Co-Investigator Dick Chandlee ï Co-Investigator Frenc Jolesz ï Co-Investigator Marek Kubicki ï Co-Investigator Martha Shenton ï Co-Investigator Sandy Well ï Co-Investigator Cindy Wible

Notes on Participants/Organizations:
69 individuals are listed in the contact list associated with Morphometry BIRN. From these, about 30 are active participants.


Communications Technology Used :

  Public and Secure Website & Video Conferencing via a MCU unit. They also utilize face-to-face meetings, email and phone.  

Technical Capabilities :

  Management of technical resources
Security, Access control/login facilities
Data mining, Simulation, modeling, visualization
Support for transition between synch and asynch
Notification of events or a need by someone, Awareness of people's activities
Asynchronous object sharing
Index/metadata, General search capability, Centrally controlled knowledge base
Asynchronous conversation
Synchronous object sharing
Instrument monitoring, Application sharing
Synchronous conversation
Audio, Video, Instant messaging/chat
  Key Articles :  

Ackerman, S. P. (2003). BIRN: Putting heads together in cyberspace NCRR Reporter, 27(4), 5-7.

Buetow, K. H. (2005). Cyberinfrastructure: Empowering a "third way" in biomedical research Science, 308(5723), 821-824.

Foster, I. (2005). Service-oriented science Science, 308(5723), 814-817.


Project-reported performance data :

  Latest statistics on SRB File Growth and Account Growth, Storage Breakdown by site and institution can be viewed at

As of June 2003, there are 200,971 files (images and other analyses) with 60 GB.
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