Brain Imaging Center Empowers Next Generation of Optical Imaging Technology

The artist cbabi bayoc stands in front of the mural with center director Adam T. Eggebrecht

The Human Optical Brain Imaging (HOBI) Center is set to supercharge optical imaging research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The expansive center — directed by Adam T. Eggebrecht, PhD, associate professor of radiology, and created with funding from Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (MIR) — contains five imaging suites, two waiting areas and a behavioral assessment space.

The new resource for MIR’s research community is dedicated to technology development for optical brain mapping along with health and disease applications across the human lifespan. Designed with a wide variety of study participants in mind, the HOBI Center focuses on comfortable engagement with children and adults with Parkinson’s disease, cochlear implants, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, cerebral palsy or congenital heart disease.

Capability-wise, the center has two suites optimized for wearable brain imaging and one suite with electromagnetic shielding — as used in MRI rooms — to allow for multimodal diffuse optical tomography (DOT) with electroencephalogram (EEG) studies of human brain function. These combined DOT-EEG studies will focus on a variety of projects, including natural sleep, which has historically been challenging to study using traditional MRI scanners, and natural behaviors in children, including those with autism.

Notable at the HOBI Center is a vibrant art installation that spans the walls of the center. Commissioned by local visual artist Cbabi Bayoc, the murals explore vital principles of inclusion, diversity, engagement and a strong connection with the community.