Connectomics is the field of endeavour that aims to integrate data and knowledge about structure and function of the human brain at multiple levels of scale. The projected outcome of this endeavour has been coined the connectome by analogy of the genome.
Commissioned by the European Brain Council (ECB), the CDBE2010 study group estimated costs over 2010 related to brain disorders within the EU at a 800 billion euros, cf. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 21:10, pp. 718-779, 2011. This staggering figure indicates that the return on investment in connectomics is likely to be huge. According to the EBC brain research is, however, seriously underfunded compared to other major diseases.
Our challenge in the neuro theme is to contribute to the human connectome from the vantage point of imaging. Our modality of choice is magnetic resonance imaging, because of its versatility and unique capabilities. For instance, diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging is hitherto the only non-invasive in-vivo modality for probing white matter architecture. The interpretation of the resulting acquisition data, and thus clinical and biomedical exploitation, makes a fundamental, cross-divisional approach compulsary.