Information for Students

Semester Courses

Short Courses

Seminar Series

Research Opportunities

Senior Thesis in Neuroimaging

Semester Courses

*Psychology 1052. The application of fMRI in cognitive neuroscience research
Catalog Number: 91794 Enrollment: Limited to 10.
Yaoda Xu
Half course (fall term). M., 10–12. EXAM GROUP: 3, 4
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is one of the most widely used methods in cognitive neuroscience research. In this course, students will learn the basics of fMRI research and gain hands-on experience in conducting fMRI experiments. In the first part of the course, students will have an overview of the fMRI methods, including how fMRI works, basic designs of fMRI experiments, fMRI data collection, analysis and interpretation, and current applications of fMRI in cognitive neuroscience research. In the second part of the course, students will design and conduct fMRI experiments and analyze fMRI data.
Note: Open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates with permission of instructor.

Short Courses 

Special Topics in Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Center for Brain Science
Mark Eldaief, Ross Mair, Stephanie McMains, Tammy Moran, Caroline West
Individual sessions - see calendar for full details

An alternative to the 2-day intensive short course. Many of the same topics will be covered in individual sessions. Additional lectures on advanced topics will also be offered.
Note: Priority to undergraduates. Others may attend if space permits.

Introduction to Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Center for Brain Science
Enrollment: Limited to 15.
Mark Eldaief, Ross Mair, Stephanie McMains, Tammy Moran, Caroline West
2-day intensive course. Spring 2015 - Dates TBA

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has become one of the most important techniques for studying the human brain in action. This two-day workshop is intended to introduce the basic principles of fMRI and to provide an opportunity for students to experience neuroimaging research first-hand in an informal setting. It is ideal for students considering pursuing advanced study or research assistantships within professors’ research laboratories.
Note: Open to undergraduates. Others may attend if space permits.

fMRI Visiting Fellowship Program
Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
Five day intensive course offering an introduction to the fundamentals of fMRI for those new to the field, including graduate and advanced undergraduate students, or anyone involved in fMRI research. Topics include basic MRI physics, biology and biophysics of the hemodynamic response, data analysis, stimulus presentation and response recording, and experimental design . A special emphasis of the course is the design, implementation, and execution of fMRI experiments by the participants. Offered twice annually.

Two-Week Multi-Modality Imaging Short Course
Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
This two-week intensive program is an extension of the fMRI Visiting Fellowship Program, above, and will cover, in addition to fMRI, a range of techniques currently in use in Functional Brain Imaging (MRI, FMRI, DTI, DSI, MRS, PET, EEG, MEG, NIRS, DOT, TMS, and a variety of molecular and computational approaches). Includes some discussion of more invasive techniques such as implanted electrodes and direct cortical stimulation. Unifying themes including mode of activation, physiological underpinnings and others will be discussed. Activities will include design of experiments, exposure to software tools, tours and demonstrations of the techniques in action, and keynote lectures on technique application. Offered annually.

NIRS-DOT Visiting Fellowship Program
Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
This two-day introductory course on Near-Infrared Spectroscopy and Diffuse Optical Tomography (NIRS-DOT) covers the fundamentals of this optical technique and offers hands-on experience in its application. The course is geared toward end users in application areas such as clinical monitoring and psychology research. Offered annually.

Seminar Series

Center for Brain Science Seminars
Center for Brain Science
Neuroscience talks by Harvard researchers and invited speakers from other institutions.
CBS Brownbag - Mondays at noon NW 243; CBS Neurolunch - Mondays at noon or Wednesdays at 1:00 NW 243; for a list of all seminars including special seminars go to

Cognition, Brain, & Behavior Research Seminar
Department of Psychology
Invited speakers from Harvard and around the country present research on relevant topics, occasionally involving neuroimaging. Thursdays at 12:00-1:30pm, William James Hall 765, 33 Kirkland St, Cambridge.

Brain Mapping
Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
Brain Mapping seminars are by and for researchers using neuroimaging to study human brain function, and for anyone interested in learning about neuroimaging. Presentations by Martinos Center researchers, collaborators, and outside speakers. Wednesdays at noon, MGH Building 149, room 2204, 13th St., Charlestown. Once a month the seminars are held on Wednesdays at 4pm in MIT building 46, McGovern seminar room.

Research Opportunities

Harvard Mind/Brain/Behavior Interfaculty Initiative
Research opportunities for Harvard undergraduates, some of which include neuroimaging

Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
Graduate and postgraduate paid and unpaid neuroimaging research opportunities.

Senior Thesis in Neuroimaging

The Center for Brain Science provides scan time at no charge for approved senior thesis projects using MRI. Every effort will be made to accomodate student thesis projects with the limited amount of scan time that is available.

To apply for a thesis award please submit the following information:

  • A copy of the approved thesis proposal in pdf format
  • Name of adviser and of any co-advisers
  • Number of subjects required
  • Estimate of the amount of time you will need in the scanner for each subject
  • Estimated timeframe for the start/end of the MRI project

Please send applications to Caroline West (wcwest [at] fas [dot] harvard [dot] edu).

2012-2013 Senior Theses

Brian Yang (Neurobiology)
The Neural Representation of Error-driven Learning: Anterior Insula Activity during Virtual Navigation
Matthew Yung  (Psychology)
 An Investigation of the Neural Mechanisms and Functional Outcomes of Theory-of-Mind in Couples

2011-2012 Senior Theses

Samia Arthur-Bentil (Neurobiology)
Evidence for Neural Plasticity in the Neurocognitive Training of Individuals At-Risk  for Developing Psychosis
Caitlin Carey  (Psychology)
 An fMRI Investigation of Automatic Simulation in Schizophrenia
Nadia Liyanage-Don  (Neurobiology)
 Abnormalities in Neural Structures of Attention and their Relation to Impaired Social Function in Schizophrenia

2010-2011 Senior Theses

Henrietta Afari (Psychology) 
The Neural Correlates of Aversive Feelings: Anterior Insula Responses to Route Obstructions during Virtual Navigation
Sophie Wharton (Psychology)
 Thou Shalt vs. Thou Shalt Not: The Neural Processes Underlying Decisions ot Help vs. Decisions to Avoid Doing Harm