Frontiers in Neuroscience is delighted to announce that Dr. Vince Calhoun is taking over from Dr. Russell A Poldrack and Dr. Jean-Baptiste Poline as Specialty Chief Editor for the Brain Imaging Methods section. An electrical and biomedical engineer, Dr. Calhoun’s research mainly focuses on brain imaging applications to study mental illness. He is currently President of The Mind Research Network in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, and Distinguished Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of New Mexico.
As the section’s founding chief editors, Dr Poldrack and Dr, Poline were instrumental in building an outstanding editorial board and creating a strong community spirit between researchers from around the world.
Dr. Calhoun aims to build on this success and further expand into areas where brain imaging methods can make an impact on real-world problems.
“I am fascinated by the brain, and highly motivated to better understand it so we can learn more about how to help those who have brain disease,” says Dr. Calhoun. “Advanced brain imaging methods are critical to this given the extremely complicated data, lack of understanding of how the brain works, and lack of ability to collect data at the finest levels of spatial and temporal resolution.”
According to Dr. Calhoun, the brain imaging field struggles with an almost unlimitless number of methods that are difficult to compare with one another. The field must also confront the issue of how to address re-analysis of existing data in a rigorous and systematic manner.
“Even in cases where different methods are compared, many studies provide a favorable result for their approach and a shallow result for the ‘other’ method,” he says. “We need scientists who are willing to spend the time to carefully evaluate the underlying assumptions of various methods. In addition, an evaluation and acknowledgement of the complementary strengths and limitations of various approaches is important.”
Dr. Calhoun also believes that when it comes to publishing such studies, there can be too much emphasis from reviewers on doing something a particular way.
“Of course the review process must carefully vet the approach and claims being made,” he says. “But allowing authors to create a new approach may lead to new discoveries going forward.”
Another important aspect is that new discoveries and approaches should be freely available to everyone.
“Not everyone is associated with an institution that pays for journal access, and the fees are well beyond what most researchers can pay,” says Dr. Calhoun. “Scientific knowledge should be open to all.”
Dr. Calhoun began his career as an electrical engineer, but quickly became interested in the links between engineering and biology.
“I was fascinated with the physics underlying MRI. During my PhD, I started working with various image and signal processing approaches to try to understand and explain fMRI data,” he says. “Data driven approaches (such as ICA) were of particular interest to me as it was clear that the data was extremely complex.”
“I tend to focus on approaches that are more ‘humble’ in making assumptions about the underlying way the brain works, favoring data-driven approaches to extract patterns,” he adds. “Similarly, I prefer to try to use as much information as possible, through developing models that can analyze multimodal data jointly (i.e. data fusion) — including brain imaging modalities like structural MRI, functional MRI, diffusion MRI, EEG, MEG, (epi)genetics and clinical assessment data.”
Dr. Calhoun also has a strong interest in developing and facilitating tools that can increase access to data.
“I am also strongly focused individual subject measures, such as classification of disease or prediction of outcome measures,” he says. “Neuroinformatics tools for capturing, managing, analyzing, and sharing data enable us to aggregate data to create large samples for more definitive results.”
The Brain Imaging Methods section of Frontiers in Neuroscience welcomes high-quality article submissions and Research Topic proposals on the development, improvement, assessment and validation of methods for the acquisition, management, analysis or interpretation of neuroimaging data.