Course Goals

  • Learn about a range of imaging modalities commonly used in clinical and translational research.
  • Understand how to evaluate whether or how well an imaging modality can be used in a given research study.

This online course is designed to give the researcher who might be new to imaging a better understanding of the current and future capabilities of common modalities for characterizing the brain, as well as information on relevant practical considerations. The technologies discussed in this course are:

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Magnetoencephalogram (MEG)
  • Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)
  • Quantitative near-infrared spectroscopy (qNIRS)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • Neuroanatomical MRI
    • Diffusion MRI of the brain
    • Functional MRI (resting state and task-based)
    • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the brain
    • Cerebrovascular monitoring

Imaging provides an important window into in vivo brain structure and function and is therefore an ideal tool for human brain research. When considering which imaging technique best answers a research question, it is important to think about fundamental mechanisms of interest and select the modality or combination of modalities that best captures them.

For each technology, experts will discuss and demonstrate the structure, operation, and workflow of the machine; data collection and analysis processes; multi-machine approaches; research considerations and decision criteria; and research applications. The course will focus on the use of each of these technologies for brain research rather than for clinical application.

Session dates

July 7 – September 29, 2021

Time commitment

Online coursework and assignments averaging 2-4 hours per week over 12 weeks

Application due

June 23, 2021 at 5:00pm ET 


Current or future investigators with an interest in using imaging technology in research


No prior experience with imaging is expected or required.


  • Free for Harvard-affiliated institutions
  • CTSA member: $1275.00
    (Note: this is a 25% discount off the standard fee.)
  • Non-CTSA member: $1700.00
  • Cancellation and Refund Policy [PDF]
  • Course fees can be modified for participants unable to meet financial requirements due to their geographical location. Email us to inquire about potential eligibility.

Continuing Medical Education

The Harvard Catalyst Education Program is accredited by the Massachusetts Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Harvard Catalyst Education Program’s policy requires full participation and the completion of all activity surveys to be eligible for CME credit; no partial credit is allowed.


Registration will open on March 31.