Join Us In Celebrating 25 Years Of fMRI

The Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital is thrilled to announce a series of events commemorating the 25th anniversary of the introduction of functional MRI (fMRI). The season-long celebration of the imaging technology, which has provided unprecedented insights into the workings of the brain, will culminate with the fMRI25 symposium and reception on Dec. 6.

In the November 1, 1991, issue of the journal Science, Jack Belliveau, a graduate student in the MGH-NMR Center (now the MGH Martinos Center), published the first paper showing the imaging of brain activity using MRI. The following June, Ken Kwong, a postdoctoral fellow in the Center, introduced a means to measure activity based on naturally occurring contrast in the brain—as opposed to the injected agents used in Belliveau’s work—thus opening the door to widespread use of the technique in humans. Together, the studies ushered in a new era of neuroscience, with functional MRI yielding new understandings of the underlying brain activity in areas including learning and memory, attention, emotions, and more.

fMRI25 will celebrate these remarkable achievements. In addition to organizing the symposium and reception, the Martinos Center has partnered with the MGH Russell Museum and the Boston Museum of Science to commemorate the anniversary of the two papers. This fall will also see the launch of an exhibit at MGH about the history of fMRI; a talk in the Russell Museum lecture series; and a Museum of Science podcast devoted to fMRI.

Further details will be posted on The site will also offer a series of articles and essays about the history of the technique, beginning with “The Life And Science Of Jack Belliveau: An Oral History,” which is online now. For the latest updates, you can follow fMRI25 on Facebook and Twitter.