The F.M. Kirby Center for Functional Brain Imaging is dedicated to providing training in advanced brain imaging and basic MRI and MRS principles, brain physiology, and all other aspects of the application of magnetic resonance technologies to the study of brain function. 

We have several methods of training for researchers:

Training Sessions

Generally, training is accomplished through a series of individual and group sessions. This includes training on the MR system and its ancillary equipment, and special group events, including seminars, workshops, and journal club meetings. Emphasis is placed on the application of functional MRI technologies to areas of neuroscience research. Particular training focuses on the development and enhancement of skills needed to perform research studies and promote understanding of the advanced technologies available at the center. 

Our training staff consists of:

  • Full-Time MR Technologists 
    Certified technologists with extensive experience performing and training personnel to run experimental protocols on the Philips Magnet Systems are employed by the Center. These technologists are available to train newcomers on the MR Scanner Systems and to assist during research studies at the Center.
  • Staff Members Specializing in fMRI Paradigm Implementation and Analysis 
    A staff member is available to assist in designing, implementing, and analyzing fMRI image data sets. This person is available to train research staff and oversee post acquisition processing to ensure the highest quality results from the user's fMRI studies.
  • Research Faculty and Staff 
    Research faculty and staff members with extensive experience in the technical development and application of quantitative fMRI, MRSI, DTI, and the Center for Imaging Science (CIS) for Anatomical Mapping are actively involved with the Center. They create a dynamic network for integrating these four core fMRI technologies with current and prospective imaging protocols.


The Kirby Center has frequently hosted and participated in several collective lecture symposia. 

Previous symposia have included:

  • The Kirby Center Research Retreat 
    This day-long event showcases a sampling of the research that utilizes Kirby Center resources. A diverse selection of clinical collaborators, engineering faculty, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows are invited to give an overview of what their research has accomplished, and where they're going next.
  • The NeuroEngineering Training Initiative Clinical Symposia 
    At the beginning of each academic year, the NeuroEngineering Training Initiative (NETI) invites lecturers participating in medical or clinically-oriented research to give introductory "chalk talks" to incoming students. Our faculty have given several presentations at these symposia.
  • "How To Do fMRI": Minisymposium & Tutorial 
    This introductory event was hosted by the Kirby Center, and sponsored by the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Thirty-five people attended a series of lectures on functional MRI physics, paradigm design, and data analysis. Discussion panels were included to further consider issues related to paradigm. design and analysis.


The Kirby Center has hosted and participated in several training-based workshops. 

Previous workshops have included:

  • Pulse Programming on Philips Medical Systems 
    Each year, a few of our newer researchers attend courses in the Sequence Development Mode (SDM) and Pulse Programming Environment (PPE) of our MRI systems. These are located at the Philips headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Training on the 7T 
    Upon the unveiling of our 7T MRI system, experienced researchers from Vanderbilt University and Philips Medical Systems showed Kirby Center personnel several tips behind programming the scanner, utilizing tools that are compatible with the exam card format, and ideal settings on several scans. (April, 2009)
  • Gyroscan-NT Pulse Programming Course 
    This event was hosted by the Kirby Center, and sponsored by Philips Medical Systems. Ten attendees received instruction in advanced pulse programming on the Philips Scanner from experts from Philips Medical Systems, the Netherlands. (September, 1999)


The Kirby Center organizes a weekly seminar on Thursdays from 10:00am to 11:00am in the Talbot Library (Traylor 709, 720 Rutland Avenue, Johns Hopkins Medical Campus). Invited speakers consist of lecturers from other institutions, current graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and faculty and staff. Each speaker is asked to give an educational overview of his or her specific research area, with glimpses into their own research ideas. A schedule of our seminars can be found on the Calendar. If you would like to be put on the mailing list, please go to our Kirby Announce Google Group and "request to join." Please answer the questions so that we can screen out spammers. We will try to confirm your request within 48 hours.

Group Meetings and Journal Clubs

At our journal clubs and group meetings, researchers that share a specific scientific interest gather to discuss future ideas or scientific papers. The following groups meet regularly, but for specific details on meeting times and locations, please see our calendar.

  • Functional Connectivity Group Meeting
    • Time: Tuesdays at 9am
    • Location: Kirby Center Conference Room
    • Description: Discussions of current issues in ongoing research in functional connectivity at the Kirby Center. For more information, please contact Dr. James Pekar.
  • Imaging Journal Club
    • Time: Tuesdays at 11am
    • Location: 5th floor conference room, Broadway Building of the Kennedy Krieger Institute
    • Description: Dissecting papers that focus on current relevant or controversial issues in MRI. 


Many of our faculty members teach classes about MRI, from technology and techniques to the quantum mechanics behind magnetic resonance. Some examples are shown below:

  • Quantum Mechanics of NMR: EN.580.475
    • Professors: Dr. James Pekar, Dr. Michael McMahon
    • Class Department: Biomedical Engineering
    • Location: Johns Hopkins University, Homewood Campus
    • Description: Basics of NMR spectroscopy theory, data acquisition and processing. Topics include phenomenological/semiclassical description of NMR, introduction to quantum mechanics, quantum mechanics of NMR, density matrix, Cartesian spin operator formalism, homonuclear and heteronuclear pulse sequences for coupled spins, polarization, transfer and coherence transfer, coherence transfer formalism, phase cycling for coherence selection, pulse sequences for multidimensional NMR, phase-sensitive and magnitude detection, and coherence selection using pulsed magnetic field gradients. Prerequisites: basic physics and mathematics
  • Magnetic Resonance in Medicine: EN.520.673
    • Professors: Dr. Paul Bottomley, Dr. William Edelstein
    • Class Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering
    • Location: Johns Hopkins University, Homewood Campus
    • Description: Explores the basic physics behind magnetic resonance, with specific focus on classical explanations, imaging techniques and artifacts, and scientific papers that showcase the history of MRI.
  • Projects in Applied Medical Imaging: EN.580.476
    • Professor: Dr. Bennett Landman
    • Class Department: Biomedical Engineering
    • Location: Johns Hopkins University, Homewood Campus
    • Description: Challenging upper-level undergraduate course in medical imaging, uniting statistics, programming, and medical imaging in a project-oriented setting. Topics include model estimation, hypothesis testing, segmentation, and denoising. The course focuses on designing solutions to current challenges drawn from industry and research. Students will work in small teams to design and implement solutions to image analysis problems suggested by industry and academic partners. Final projects will become part of a permanent public software archive. Students should be prepared for an intense team experience developing with a professional Java environment.

Training Grants

The Kirby Center provides educational support for the many training grants and career development awards at area institutions. We have trained grant awardees from the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Maryland. 

Previous grants have included:

  • NIH/NIBIB: The NeuroEngineering Training Initiative (NETI) 
    Johns Hopkins University, Department of Biomedical Engineering 
    Principal Investigators: Dr. Nitish Thakor, Dr. Eric Young 
    The NeuroEngineering Training Initiative at Johns Hopkins seeks to balance engineering, mathematics, and computer science with molecular, cellular, and systems neurosciences. The program leverage the educational and research resources of both the engineering and medical schools. Funded by the Neuroengineering Training Grant from the NIH and NIBIB, NETI students initiate seminars, symposia, outreach, and collaborations. 
    Awardees: Issel Anne L. Lim, Alan J. Huang 
  • NIH/NINDS: Cortical and Subcortical Brain Mechanisms Underlying ADHD 
    Kennedy Krieger Research Institute, Department of Neurogenetics 
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Stewart H. Mostofsky 
    This is a three-year plan to develop the candidate into an independent investigator in the area of developmental behavioral neurology and includes a research study of the subcortical and cortical brain mechanisms that may underlie behaviors observed in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 
  • NIH/NIMH: Training in Perceptual and Cognitive Neuroscience 
    Johns Hopkins University Medical School, Department of Psychology 
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Howard Egeth 
    This is a graduate and postdoctoral training program. Dr. Yantis, a Core Faculty Member, is significantly involved in imaging studies at the Kirby Center. 
  • NIH/NIMH: Research Training Components 
    University of Maryland, Baltimore, Department of Psychiatry 
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Adrienne Lahti 
    The purpose of this grant is to train young physicians in research with psychiatric patients. 
  • NIH/NIMH: Research Track Residency Training Component 
    University of Maryland, Baltimore, Department of Psychiatry 
    Principal Investigatory: Dr. Gunvant K. Thaker 
    The major goal of this project is to recruit talented medical graduates into the Research Track Program, by providing extensive research training during the course of extended residency training. 


Some of the many conferences that we attend, submit work to, or give presentations include:

  • ISMRM: The International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
  • ENC: The Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference