Development of functional imaging in the human brain (fMRI); the University of Minnesota experience

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments performed in the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), University of Minnesota, were planned between two colleagues who had worked together previously in Bell Laboratories in the late nineteen seventies, namely myself and Seiji Ogawa. These experiments were motivated by the Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) contrast developed by Seiji. We discussed and planned human studies to explore imaging human brain activity using the BOLD mechanism on the 4 Tesla human system that I was expecting to receive for CMRR. We started these experiments as soon as this 4 Tesla instrument became marginally operational. These were the very first studies performed on the 4 Tesla scanner in CMRR; had the scanner become functional earlier, they would have been started earlier as well. We were aware of the competing effort at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and we knew that they had been informed of our initiative in Minneapolis to develop fMRI. We had positive results certainly by August 1991 annual meeting of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (SMRM). I believe, however, that neither the MGH colleagues nor us, at the time, had enough data and/or conviction to publish these extraordinary observations; it took more or less another six months or so before the papers from these two groups were submitted for publication within five days of each other to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, after rejection by Nature in our case. Thus, fMRI was achieved independently and at about the same time at MGH, in an effort credited largely to Ken Kwong, and in CMRR, University of Minnesota in an effort led by myself and Seiji Ogawa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-619
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 15 2012


  • 4 Tesla
  • 4T
  • 7 Tesla
  • 7T
  • Brain imaging
  • FMRI
  • Functional mapping
  • High field
  • MRI
  • Neuroimaging
  • Ultrahigh field


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of functional imaging in the human brain (fMRI); the University of Minnesota experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this