U-created image catches NIH director’s attention


On Aug. 1, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins showed off on his Director’s Blog a winning entry from a brain imaging contest—an image created by University of Utah bioengineering graduate student Andrew Janson. Janson is part of Christopher Butson’s lab Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute, an internationally recognized leader in visualization, scientific computing and image analysis. The image won first place in the still image category of the NIH’s “Show us your Brain!” contest.

Janson and Butson work on deep brain stimulation, which uses precisely placed electrodes in the brain to deliver therapeutic electrical pulses. The winning image, based on 3-D clinical scans of a person preparing for deep brain stimulation treatment, depicts an electrode in the thalamus and the electrical pulses traveling along neuronal fibers (wavy blue lines). Janson is working to develop a virtual brain stimulation surgery model to help researchers and surgeons target only the right neuronal fibers.