NIAC Services: Data Management


The Central Neuroimaging Data Archive (CNDA) is the hub of the NIAC’s services.  The CNDA is an imaging informatics platform, based on XNAT, that securely stores neuroimaging data and associated clinical, cognitive, and genetic data in an integrated, searchable, and web-accessible database. Data can be submitted to the CNDA directly from any of the University’s research scanners. Clinical images can be automatically anonymized and submitted to the CNDA via a web-based upload wizard. Access to data in the CNDA is granted on a per research protocol basis and is granted at the principal investigator’s discretion.

Uploading Data

Images acquired in the CCIR are automatically submitted to the CNDA according to this procedure.

Images acquired in the East Building must be manually submitted by following this procedure.

Clinical data stored on BJC PACS systems can be imported to CNDA on request with anonymization and remapping to remove PHI.

Managing Data Types

The CNDA provides seamless integration between imaging and non-imaging data, and enables sophisticated searching between data types.  We have a large and growing library of common clinical instruments already in the CNDA.If you don’t see an instrument that you use, let us know and we’ll work to add it.  For quick creation of custom data fields, you can dynamically add them to your CNDA projects (via XNAT documentation).

The CNDA is based on XNAT, which means users can take advantage of a number of XNAT tools to streamline access to their data:

XNAT Virtual File System (XNAT VFS) : XNAT VFS uses WebDAV technology to enable users to mount data in XNAT systems like the CNDA as local drives. Using XNAT VFS, you can access remote CNDA-hosted data files as if they are local files.

XNAT Gateway: XNAT Gateway serves as a bridge between DICOM workstations and the CNDA.  Users simply download and configure the Gateway client on their workstation (or another machine accessible to the workstation) and then point their workstation’s DICOM connection to the Gateway.  Using Gateway, the CNDA becomes a DICOM compliant research PACS (but with secure access and data encryption that you don’t get with a traditional PACS). Gateway has been tested with Osirix, Siemens Leonardo and a number of other common DICOM workstations.

XNAT Command Line Tools: This suite of command line tools can be used to search the CNDA and to retrieve data from it.  The tools are particularly useful when added to processing scripts to automatically grad data from the CNDA as part of the script.

DICOM Browser: DICOM Browser is a user friendly desktop application for displaying and editing DICOM metadata.  It also provides basic visualization capabilities and can send files to DICOM receivers, including the CNDA.

3D Slicer: 3D Slicer is a multi-platform, free open source application for visualization and image computing. Data in the CNDA can be accessed directly from 3D Slicer and post-processed images generated by Slicer can be uploaded back to the CNDA.

Fast Facts about NIAC Data Storage:

  • The CNDA is currently home to over 50,000 subjects and 100,000 imaging studies in more than 1,000 research studies.
  • The CNDA is backed up nightly onto an independent RAID Level 5 storage device.
  • All research scanners at Washington University are configured to send scans directly to the CNDA.