McLean Hospital Researcher Awarded NIH Grant to Map the Brain

November 09, 2004

Adriana Bobinchock
Public Affairs

Belmont, MA - Nicholas Lange, ScD, director of the Statistical Neuroimaging Laboratory at McLean Hospital, has received a renewal grant of more than $800,000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue his research in mapping the human brain.

     The grant will help Lange to develop new biostatistical methods for understanding brain circuitry, anatomy and cellular structure, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and microscopy. MRI is now being applied in a nationwide study of healthy pediatric brain development (ages 0-21 years), which Lange is helping to oversee at McLean and six other U.S. research sites. Lange is also conducting microscopic analyses of adult brain tissue with colleagues at McLean.

     Lange's work in creating a detailed map of the human brain is aimed at providing fellow scientists and the lay population with a better understanding of the origins and effects of healthy brain functioning, pervasive developmental disorders, childhood autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. "Our ultimate goal is to improve clinical care for these devastating conditions," he said.

     Lange's team consists of biostatisticians, knowledge engineers and neuroscientists, including McLean Hospital researchers Francine Benes, MD, PhD, Sabina Berretta, MD, and Stephan Heckers, MD, MSc. Other collaborators include Brent Coull, PhD, of Harvard School of Public Health, Keith Worsley, PhD, of McGill University, David Kennedy, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jay Giedd, MD, of the National Institute of Mental Health, and Paul Jackway, PhD, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Sydney, Australia.

     McLean Hospital is consistently ranked one of the country's leading psychiatric hospitals. It is the largest psychiatric clinical care, teaching and research facility of Harvard Medical School, an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of Partners HealthCare.

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