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Special Guest Lecture September 26, 2014, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm WPIC Auditorium

Special Guest Lecture

High Definition Fiber Tracking (HDFT) an MRI Biomarker for 
Brain Anatomical Connection Disorders in TBI, Neurosurgery & Autism

  Walter Schneider, PhD 

  Professor of Psychology, Neurosurgery,
  Radiology & Bioengineering
  Senior Scientist 
  Learning Research & Development Center

  University of Pittsburgh







Dr. Schneider's research interests include basic and actionable neuroscience in the areas of diagnostic diffusion imaging of white matter fiber tracts with High Definition Fiber Tracking (HDFT), fMRI of learning and attention, and training/recover of function. His recent work on HDFT identifies brain networks, quantifies tract integrity, and maps brain areas.  HDFT technology is now being used in neurosurgery for both presurgical planning and operating room real time surgical guidance.  It also is used in diagnostic assessment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) visualizing and quantifying fiber breaks where other MRI imaging methods could not. Dr. Schneider is using HDFT and fMRI to localize tasks that can be used in targeted cognitive therapy to regrow damaged tissue.

With extensive support from government agencies including DARPA, NIH, NSF, ONR, and the Army, Dr. Schneider has led projects in his role as Principal Investigator or a Co-Principal investigator on numerous studies.  A prolific writer, he is the author or co-author of over 200 publications including the fourth and ninth most cited papers in the history of the field of Psychology, and the first functional neuroimaging paper to appear in the journal Nature that helped to spark the modern era of brain imaging research. Dr. Schneider and his team have developed brain tractographic imaging for mapping brain Connectome, co-developed E-Prime software used by over 10,000 laboratories in 58 countries, and also developed the Integrated Functional Imaging Systems (IFIS) that has been installed by over 150 brain imaging centers around the world. Additionally, his team develops advanced technology for MRI based imaging, patient assessment, data visualization, mobile computing, artificial language natural language processing of patient clinical reports, and physical MRI phantom engineering.  In fact, technology developed by the Schneider laboratory was the basis of the Pittsburgh-based Psychology Software Tools Inc. spinoff company that now employs forty people in high technology jobs in Pittsburgh.  His technology is used in clinical neurosurgery and TBI assessments on over a hundred patient per year and has produced improved medical outcomes and helped patients to understand and better deal with their brain pathology and rehabilitation impact.

Dr. Schneider's numerous accomplishments and contributions to the scientific field have been recognized throughout his career.  He is the recipient of the 2010 Editor’s Choice Award for the best imaging methods paper from the journal NeuroImage and his work was highlighted by First Lady Michelle Obama as the most promising new technology for returning veterans with traumatic brain injuries.  Dr. Schneider's work has been featured on numerous news and scientific programs including 60 Minutes, the Discovery Channel, and Scientific American, among others.

Learning Objectives.  At the end of the lecture, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the differences between tradition DTI and High Definition Fiber Tracking (HDFT) of connection disorders. 
  2. Identify how HDFT can identify brain pathology in trauma (TBI), neuro-oncology, neurodegeneration (Alzheimer’s) and developmental (autism) pathologies. 
  3. Describe the potential of how a fifteen minute HDFT scan can enable virtual dissection and quantification of brain connectivity. 

Continuing Education Credit:  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM.  Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  Other health care professionals are awarded .15 continuing education units (CEUs), which are equal to 1.5 contact hours. In accordance with Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education requirements on disclosure, information about relationships of presenters with commercial interests (if any) will be included in materials which will be distributed at the time of the conference.  WPIC is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists.  WPIC maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.  This program is being offered for 1.5 continuing education credits. 

For more information regarding this lecture, please contact Jeanie Knox Houtsinger at