A project led by Dr. Daniel Martins

We can proudly say that we pioneered the integration of Neuroimaging with transcriptomics data from the Allen Brain Atlas. It was back in 2012 when we started to play with the mRNA data released by the Allen Brain Institute, but it took almost 2 years to validate a method for integrating the two1. One year later, Dr Richardi was able to push the boundaries showing the link between brain functional networks and brain gene expression2

Since then, the combination of brain imaging data with transcriptomic data has opened new avenues to explore among candidate molecular and cellular pathways underlying neuroimaging biomarkers of brain disease, treatment effects, etc. 

Nowadays, thank to the so-called Virtual Histology3 we can advance our understanding of different neuroimaging phenotypes, such as structural, functional or molecular alterations in different clinical cohorts.

References

1 Rizzo G, Veronese M et al. (2014) ‘The Predictive Power of Brain mRNA Mappings for in vivo Protein Density: A Positron Emission Tomography Correlation Study’, Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, 34(5), pp. 827–835. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2014.21.

2 Richiardi J, Altmann A, Milazzo AC, et al. (2015). Correlated gene expression supports synchronous activity in brain networks. Science. doi:10.1126/science.1255905

3 Martins, Daniel, et al. “Transcriptional and cellular signatures of cortical morphometric similarity remodelling in chronic pain.” bioRxiv (2021).