Brain Art Competition 2012

Best Illustration of the Human Connectome

Winner: John Van Horn


Best Abstract Brain Illustration

Winner: Michel Thiebaut de Schotten, Benedicte Batrancourt


Best Educational Brain Illustration

Winner: Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Lab (SCIL), Maxime Chamberland, David Fortin, Maxime Descoteaux

The website was also submitted to this category.


Best Humorous Brain Illustration

Winner: Paul Holloway


Best Video Illustration of the Brain

Winners: Martijn D. Steenwijk and, 3 de luxe


Spontaneous connectivity dynamics at rest

R. Matthew Hutchison

Dynamic correlations in the anesthetized monkey brain. Resting-state fMRI was collected at 7T. A sliding window correlation analysis (30s window) was used to reveal changing cortical correlation patterns over time with a seed region placed in the left frontal eye field.

The Brain at Rest

Martijn D. Steenwijk

By visualizing both diffusion tensor and resting-state functional MR data, this movie illustrates different concepts of image processing, connectivity and activity in a real human brain at rest. Background music was composed by assigning a musical instrument to the ten strongest functional patterns in the brain. The intensities of these patterns vary over time while the person is at rest in the scanner – these are “spontaneous” brain fluctuations that receive much attention in fMRI research now. By linking the intensity of each pattern to the pitch of its respective instrument a melody is generated, thereby making brain activity audible. The first part of the movie illustrates the source of the melody by showing functional patterns and their varying strengths. The second part shows the major fiber bundles which were obtained by running deterministic tractography from atlas seeds. In the third part, the seeds were replaced by spherical objects ‘running’ around the cortical surface. The last part combines structural connectivity with functional connectivity. Here, functional connectivity is visualized using volume rendering of the voxelwise functional correlation matrix. Together with its structural counterpart, this last part illustrates that structural and functional connectivity are quite different.

Dynamics of fMRI-based neurofeedback training: sensorimotor cortices responsible for finger movements

Tibor Auer

Left and right sensorimotor cortices (SMC) were identified on single subject level using a functional localizer task (green blobs). During four weeks of training (three sessions per week), the fMRI signal difference between the left and right SMC, elicited by motor imagery, was visually presented to the subjects in real time. Each session consisted of two runs of right-sided and left-sided imaginary movements each. For a successful subject, each run was analyzed using FSL and thresholded using iterative two-threshold analysis (Abstract number: 5312). Activation (red-yellow) and deactivation maps (blue-white) were overlaid on the subject’s cortical surface reconstructed using Freesurfer.

The videos demonstrate that, during the initial sessions the right-hand training recruits an ipsilateral deactivation, whereas the left-hand training elicits a higher contralateral activation. In the second half of the training sessions the ipsilateral deactivation vanishes and the strength of the contralateral activation reaches a plateau for both hands. (Abstract number: 6742)

Memory on the level of cells, 3 de luxe is a project of the German Society for Neuroscience (NWG), Hertie-Foundation and the centre for art and media technology (ZKM). It is a journalistic multimedia website to inform interested laypersons about the brain. Every six weeks we cover a new topic , like “emotion”, “memory” or “money and the brain” – with articles, audio files, multimedia slideshows or videos.

BOLD Response

Alex Turbyfield

This film depicts what occurs in the brain during the BOLD Response of an FMRI scan. It was made through a combination of 3d animation and composition.


Dan Lloyd

The textbook model of the brain imagines a task-driven organ that switches from task to task in lockstep with experimental conditions.  Vision a classic example, as a flashing checkerboard drove activity in occipital cortex in the earliest demonstrations of fMRI research potential.  But even as the visual cortex “lights up,” what is the rest of the brain doing?  This video displays more of the story.  One subject gazes at a fixation point while an annular checkerboard flashes right, then left, and as it flashes he taps thumb to fingers in succession on the same side as the checkerboard.  Here, in real time, a stationary checkerboard marks the onset and offset of the stimulus.  Independent Component Analysis extracts twenty temporally coherent networks, each with its own color, ranging from red to blue proportionately to its overall oscillating frequency.  For clarity, components most coordinated with the stimulus are yellow.  Visualization is enhanced with sonification, where pentatonic tones correspond to frequencies, and loudness to the intensity of activity.  Toward the middle, the video mixes an alternative data-driven  sonification method, where rhythm also indicates increasing activity, to provide some aesthetic variation.  In our brains, we find a symphony. (Data and ICA toolbox: )


Alfred Anwander and Robin M Heidemann

The brain consists of a complex 3D network of connecting axons. Ultra-high resolution Diffusion MRI reveals traces of the brain architecture by measuring the influence of the tissue structure on the mobility of water molecules. Following the traces in 3D highlights the amazing arrangement of the labyrinth of connections.

The video shows a series of coronal, sagittal and axial slices of a healthy human brain measured at 1mm isotropic resolution with a 7T MR scanner and reconstructed using fiber tractography and track-density imaging. The color correspond to the local tissue orientations (red: left-right, green: front-back, blue: top-down) and the intensity to the number of locally reconstructed traces.


In addition, we would like to thank our judges: Xinian Zuo, Roberto Toro, Anne-Marie van Cappellen van Walsum, Maarten Mennes, Carl Schoonover, Arno Klein, Aline Peter, F X Castellanos & Chloe Pinto, Catie Chang, Yu-Feng Zang, David Kennedy.

Sponsored by:
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