When research meets nature’s beauty - it wouldn’t be unfair to summarize our second summer school with this tagline. Our great mentors very wisely chose the perfect peak summer weather to gather us all in Switzerland to equip us with further Neuroimaging training. This one week-long training took place at Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Lausanne from June 24th till June 28th and was jam-packed with workshops and talks given by some amazing speakers. Additionally, we were fortunate to have fifteen other graduate students who joined us to benefit from this amazing opportunity.
The schedule of the summer school was quite diverse but was broadly focused on four different neuroimaging themes; Human Fetal Brain Imaging, Diffusion MRI, Machine Learning & Brain Imaging Biomarkers and Statistics in Imaging. In addition to the meticulous details of the Imaging world, we also learned how important it is to communicate effectively, write persuasively and market our ideas smartly. The summer school was a complete package with all the credit going to Meri (Dr. Meritxell Bach Cuadra) who didn’t miss any opportunities to incorporate some awesome social activities.
The first day was dedicated to ‘Human Brain development and Fetal Imaging’. Mériam Koob from the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) started off with an overview of the stages of human fetal brain development. We learned how MRI is being used to diagnose and differentiate various fetal pathologies, the limitations of fetal imaging and what can be improved to make the diagnosis of fetal imaging better in the future.
The theme was further addressed by another speaker, Dr. Jessica Dubois from Inserm, Paris who talked about some of the current strategies that are being used for imaging postnatal brain changes in infants. The methods to model structural and functional brain development was further discussed by Dr. George Langs from the Computational Imaging Research Lab (CIR) at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria and Dr. Meritxell Bach Cuadra.
In the afternoon, we discovered the beauty and history of Lausanne during the guided walking tour and ended our first day at the Caffè Bellini with some delicious dinner and drinks.
The second day was reserved for Diffusion MRI enthusiasts. We started off with a talk given by Jean-Philippe Thiran from EPFL. We then diverted a bit and got into the details of MR Physics (by Patric Hagmaan, CHUV) and next discussed the reconstruction and Tractography details (by Marco Pizzolato and Gabriel Girard, EPFL).
Lastly, the day was concluded by Dr. Alessandra Griffa who discussed the fundamentals of the brain network analysis and wrapped up the session by sharing some exemplary connectomics obtained by merging different MR modalities like Diffusion and Functional MRI.
After two long and loaded days of MR theory and Applications, the third day was comparatively relaxing. In the morning, we discussed the statistical approaches applied in brain imaging and the talk was given by Romain-Daniel Goselin from CHUV. After that we had a poster session where all the attendees presented and discussed their research topics.
In the afternoon, we had our group social activity where we discovered a little of the Le Moléson – Gruyères area and had the pleasure of visiting de Cailler chocolate factory. The perfect hot summer day was finished with a dinner at Café de l’Evêché in Lausanne.
The fourth day was focused on Brain Imaging Biomarkers and Entrepreneurship. Davor Kosanic from EPFL gave a talk on how to market our ideas following which we had an interactive group session where every group came up with a real-world problem and offered an attractive marketable solution.
After lunch, Jonas Richiardi from CHUV and Siemens joined us and gave a talk on Brain Imaging Biomarkers and Machine Learning. The topic was continued after the break by Kevin Mader from Magic Leap, Zurich who shared with us his experience of starting a research business and becoming an entrepreneur.
The last day of the summer school was mostly dedicated to the soft skills. Samuel Lagier interactively presented the importance of having the right balance of objective data presentation but also having a subjective touch as a presenter to keep the audience involved. He himself kept the workshop very interactive and made sure that all participants were engaged in the activities. After lunch, our expert statistician, Romain-Daniel Gosselin explained the concepts of inference, the interpretation and (mis)understanding of P-values and reporting methodology for neuroimaging results. Lastly, Sebastien Tourbier from CHUV discussed different strategies to efficiently manage the neuroimaging data and shared with us some resources such as the Brain Imaging Data Organization (BIDS), Software containers and the Version Control Systems.
We are thankful to Dr. Jean-Philippe Thiran and Dr. Meritxell Bach Cuadra for arranging such an amazing summer school. The whole week was a great opportunity for us to expand our knowledge, meet new researchers, develop some potential collaborations and make beautiful memories. Kudos!
Moin Moin till we meet again next February in Eindhoven!
A beautiful sunset at Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) captured by our talented ESR Andrey Zhylka.