Layer-fMRI VASO worldwide

This blog post gives an overview of the scientific network of researchers that are using the VASO (vascular space occupancy) for applications in layer-fMRI. I tried to give an overview of all layer-fMRI VASO papers published so far and provide a map of all layer-fMRI VASO labs around the globe.

Popularity of layer-fMRI VASO across years and countries

The first layer-fMRI VASO studies in humans were presented in 2014/2015. In the five years that followed, VASO became a credible contrast for the emerging field of layer-fMRI.

Temporal evolution of VASO for layer-fMRI studies. The numbers are developing in one direction: ⇑ UP ⇑
As of today (Jan 2020) there are 31 labs around the world that are using layer-fMRI VASO with 25 published layer-fMRI VASO papers in peer-reviewed journals

The vast majority of layer-fMRI VASO research is happening in Europe, followed by Asia. The higher 7T density in USA is not represented in a correspondingly many layer-fMRI VASO studies. This it might be due to the medical-application driven research funding environment.

Google map to browse interactively: (in case of missing sites, suggestions are welcome to

Fifty current users of layer-dependent VASO fMRI

  1. Ulsan National Institute and Technology, Korea
    • Ji-Hyun Kim is using VASO to investigate the laminar patterns of RA and SA columns in S1.
    • Screenshot 2021-07-20 at 14.25.13
    • OHBM 2021 abstract
  2. Aarhus, Denmark 
    • Lasse Knudsen and Torben Lund are using layer fMRI VASO at 3T.
    • Screenshot 2021-07-20 at 14.27.52
    • ISMRM 2021
  3. VA, San Francisco, USA 
    • An Vu is using layer-dependent VASO and BOLD images and combines them into one ultimate combined measure.
    • Screenshot 2021-07-20 at 14.29.31
    • ISMRM 2021 
  4. NICT, Japan 
  5. Osaka, Japan.
    • Yinghua Yu is using VASO to investigate rhythmic somatosensory prediction.
    • Screenshot 2021-07-20 at 14.20.01
    • OHBM 2021 abstract
  6. Max Planck Institute CBS, Leipzig, Germany: 
    • Daniel Haenelt and Robert Trampel are using VASO (along with GE-BOLD and SE-BOLD) to investigate ocular dominance columns.
      This figure kindly provided by Daniel Haenelt and Robert Trampel
    • Reference: ISMRM 2020
  7. SFIM, NIMH, NIH, Bethesda, USA:
    • Yuhui Chai and Peter Bandettini are using VASO as a ground truth method to compare it with the VAPER contrast.
      This figure kindly provided by Yuhui Chai
    • Reference: NeuroImage Paper
  8. Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK:
    • Marcello Venzi, Joseph Whittaker, and Kevin Murphy are using high-resolution VASO to investigate the effect of CSF and veins in superficial voxels vs. parenchyma voxels.
      This figure kindly provided by Marcello Venzi
    • Reference: ISMRM abstract 2019
  9. MBIC, Maastricht University, Netherlands:
    • Renzo Huber and Benedikt Poser are working on sequence approaches to make layer-fMRI VASO easier applicable.
      Whole brain VASO acquisition for easy applicability in neuroscience studies.
    • Reference: ISMRM abstract 2020, submitted
  10. VA SF, USA: 
    • Alex Beckett and David Feinberg are using VASO as a ‘gold standard’ to compare it to 3D-GRASE.


        • This figure is taken from the BioRxiv preprint


    • Reference: BioArchive Preprint.
  11. Spinoza/UMC, Utrecht/Amsterdam, Netherlands:
    • Icaro Oliviera, Jorien Siero, and Wietske van der Zwaag are using VASO to investigate the linearity of the hemodynamic response at very high resolutions.
    • Screenshot 2020-12-09 at 09.54.25
    • Reference: Oliviera NeuroImage 2020
  12. University of Sheffield: Sheffield, UK:
    • Aneurin Kennerley is using layer-dependent VASO to validate it against iron-based contrast agent fMRI in rodents.
      Figure kindly provided by Aneurin Kennerley.
    • Reference: ISMRM abstract 2017
  13. University of York, York, UK 
    • Aneurin Kennerley and Renzo Huber are working on layer-fMRI VASO to make it doable at 3T.
      Figure taken from Kennerley’s submitted ISMRM abstract (2020).
    • Reference: ISMRM abstract 2020, submitted
  14. University of York, UK
    • York
    • Data kindly provided by Elisa Zamboni and Aneurin Kennerley.
  15. Lab of Brain and Cognition, NIMH, NIH, Bethesda, USA
    • Eli Merriam and Zvi Roth use sub-millimeter VASO to map the visual topography.
      This figure is kindly provided by Eli Merriam.
    • Reference data shown here
  16. Martinos Center, MGH, Boston, USA:
    • Saskia Bollmann and Jonathan Polimeni use sub-millimeter VASO to investigate the temporal features of CBV across depth.
      This figure is kindly provided by Saskia Bollmann.
    • Reference data shown here
  17. University of Queensland, Australia:
    • Atena Akbari and Markus Barth are investigating the layer-dependent fMRI response of VASO in V1.
      This figure is kindly provided by Atena Akbari.
    • OHBM abstract 2019
  18. University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK:
    • Nils Nothnagel, Andrew Morgan, and Jozien Goense implemented a 3D-EPI sequence for layer-dependent VASO imaging.
    • The first layer-fMRI VASO experiments were conducted early 2019.
    • Screenshot 2020-05-07 at 11.36.25.png
      0.6mm VASO during a visual paradigm acquired in Glasgow from Nils Nothnagel and Andrew Morgan
  19. SKKU, Suwon, South Korea:
    • Insub Kim, Won Mok Shim, and Seong Gi Kim are using layer-dependent VASO for orientation decoding across cortical depth.
      This figure is kindly provided by Insub Kim.
    • Reference data shown here
  20. Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tuebingen, Germany:
  21. University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK:
    • Rosa Panchuelo and Susan Francis are using ultra-high resolution VASO in order to map the sensory system.
    • The grant is described here
  22. National Institute of Mental Health:
    • Andrew Persichetti, Jason Avery, and Alex Martin are using layer-fMRI VASO to investigate the intra-cortical processing of imagined and executed motor actions.
      This figure is kindly provided by Andrew Persichetti.
    • Current Biology paper
  23. CiNet, Osaka, Japan
    • Ikuhiro Kida is using high-resolution VASO to investigate the neuro-vascular coupling features of fMRI.
    • Sequence approved from SIEMENS in Feb 2019, ethical approval received in fall 2019.
      Screenshot 2020-03-20 at 17.53.10
      Double stripe of tapping induced activity.
  24. NYU, New York USA
    • Hanzhang Lu performed the first sub-millimeter VASO when he was graduating and leaving to NYC at that time.


        • This figure from Hanzhang Lu’s scans are taken from a paper published by Donahue

      2006 MRM.

    • References 1, and 2.
  25. University Magdeburg
    • Esther Kuehn and Oliver Speck are piloting layer-fMRI VASO to investigate sensory-motor representations across cortical depth.
      Figure credits: Esther Kuehn
    • Pilot study in June 2018
  26. Christian Doppler Klinik, Salzburg
    • Martin Kronbichler is investigating the usability of layer-dependent VASO at 3T.
      Figure credits: Martin Kronbichler
    • Reference data shown here
  27. NIPS, Okazaki, Japan
    • Masaki Fukunaga is using layer-fMRI VASO in the sensory motor system, in the insual, and the visual cortex.
      Figure credits: Masaki Fukunaga
    • Layer-fMRI VASO research agreement
  28. Okayama University Hospital, Japan
    • Yinghua Yu is using layer-dependent VASO with predictive coding in the sensory system.
      This figure is kindly provided by Yinghua Yu
    • Reference
  29. Max-Delbrueck-Centrum, Berlin, Germany
    • Henning Reimann and Jurjen Heij are investigating layer-dependent processing of pain.
    • Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 16.01.56
      Example activation map from Henning Reimann at 0.8×0.8×0.7mm
  30. Zhejiang University, China
  31. Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
    • Lab of Peng Zhang  are using layer-fMRI VASO in humans at 7T
    • Screenshot 2021-11-22 at 11.10.10
    • Minnesota UHF workshop 2021
  32. University of Cambridge, UK 
    • Bingjiang Lyu and Chris Roger are working on the implementation of layer-fMRI VASO for application in speech fMRI.
  33. University of Cambridge, UK 
    • Catarina Rua and Zoe Kourtzi are setting up layer-dependent VASO in the visual cortex.
    • Screenshot 2020-05-09 at 10.43.05.png
      0.8mm VASO data from Cat Rua
  34. Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain, UK
    • James Kolasinsky and Olivia Viessmann acquired high-resolution VASO with SMS readout for application in the somatosensory system.
  35. Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA
    • Jun Hua developed a high-resolution 7T VASO sequence and is applying it with working memory tasks in dementia patients.
      This figure is taken from Hua’s MRM 2012 paper.
    • Reference
  36. Uniklinik Freiburg, Germany.
    • Burak Akin and Ali Özen are acquiring layer-fMRI VASO at 3T with micro-stip RF-coils.
  37. Klinikum Erlangen, Germany
    • Velentin Riedl, as collaborator from TUM, used VASO for quantitative fMRI at 7T.
  38. DZNE, Bonn, Germany:
    • Ruediger Strinberg and Tony Stoecker implemented a VASO sequence with segmented 3D-EPI readout for SIEMENS VE systems.
      Data of this figure were acquired with Stirnberg’s sequence at the 7T Terra at NIH.
  39. Essen/Donders, Germany
    • Victor Pfaffenrot and Oliver Kraft are using MAGEC VASO for layer-fMRI
  40. TUM, Munich, Germany
    • Valentin Riedl is using VASO to avoid administration of contrast agents.
  41. Weizmann institute, Israel
    • Edna Furman-Haran uses VE VASO on the Terra
  42. UIUC Illinois, USA 
    • Brad Sutton, Yuhui Chai aim to use VASO at the new Terra
  43. Berkeley, USA
    • Prof. Feinberg is using layer-fMRI VASO on his Terra. This is to compare it with the results after the Terra is upgraded to the next-generation scanner.
    • Screenshot 2021-11-22 at 11.02.08
  44. MPI Tuebingen, Germany,
    • Vinod Kumar requested VASO for 9.4T scanning.
  45. Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium
    • Marco Barilari, and Remi Gau
    • Screenshot 2021-11-22 at 10.59.33
    • Neurococ, 2021, Liege
  46. Kings College London, UK
    • Fraser Aitken
  47. Shanghai, Fudan Uni
    • Deniz Vatansever for Terra and Prisma
  48. UT Dellas, USA, Southwestern
    • Sina Aslan for Prisma
  49. Marseille, France
    • Olivier Girard
  50. Bern, Switzerland
    • Andrea Federspiel
  51. Showa, Tokyo, Japan
    • Takashi Itahashi
  52. UC-Davis, USA
    • Audrey Fan is using 3D-EPI VASO for vascular physiology mapping.
  53. London, Ontario, Canada
    • Atena Akbari and Ravi Menon
  54. Rome, Italy
    • Maria Guidi 
    • S0009_VASOactivation_M1
  55. NTNU, Trondheim, Norway
    • Desmond Tse and Pål Erik Goa are ramping up a layer-fMRI VASO grant for application in aging population.
    • Reference

Twenty seven peer-reviewed journal papers showing data with layer-dependent VASO

  1. Donahue, M; Lu, H; Jones, C; Edden, R; Pekar, J; van Zijl, P. (2006). Theoretical and Experimental Investigation of the VASO Contrast Mechanism. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
  2. Jin, T; Kim, SG. (2008). Improved Cortical-Layer Specificity of Vascular Space Occupancy FMRI with Slab Inversion Relative to Spin-Echo BOLD at 9.4 T. NeuroImage.
  3. Goense, J; Merkle, H; Logothetis, N. (2012). High-Resolution FMRI Reveals Laminar Differences in Neurovascular Coupling between Positive and Negative BOLD Responses. Neuron.
  4. Bandettini, P. (2012). The BOLD Plot Thickens: Sign- and Layer-Dependent Hemodynamic Changes with Activation. Neuron.
  5. Huber, L; Ivanov, D; Krieger, S; Streicher, M; Mildner, T; Poser, B; Möller, H; Turner, R. (2014). Slab-Selective, BOLD-Corrected VASO at 7 Tesla Provides Measures of Cerebral Blood Volume Reactivity with High Signal-to-Noise Ratio. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
  6. Huber, L; Goense, J; Kennerley, A; Ivanov, D; Krieger, S; Lepsien, J; Trampel, R; Turner, R; Möller, H. (2014). Investigation of the Neurovascular Coupling in Positive and Negative BOLD Responses in Human Brain at 7T. NeuroImage.
  7. Huber, L; Goense, J; Kennerley, A; Trampel, R; Guidi, M; Reimer, E; Ivanov, D; Neef, N; Gauthier, C; Turner, R; Möller, H. (2015). Cortical Lamina-Dependent Blood Volume Changes in Human Brain at 7T. NeuroImage.
  8. Guidi, M; Huber, L; Lampe, L; Gauthier, C; Möller, H. (2016). Lamina-Dependent Calibrated BOLD Response in Human Primary Motor Cortex. NeuroImage.
  9. Huber, L; Ivanov, D; Guidi, M; Turner, R; Uludağ, K; Möller, H; Poser, B. (2016). Functional Cerebral Blood Volume Mapping with Simultaneous Multi-Slice Acquisition. NeuroImage.
  10. Donahue, M; Juttukonda, M; Watchmaker, J. (2017). Noise Concerns and Post-Processing Procedures in Cerebral Blood Flow (CBF) and Cerebral Blood Volume (CBV) Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. NeuroImage.
  11. Kazan, S; Huber, L; Flandin, G; Ivanov, D; Bandettini, P; Weiskopf, N. (2017). Physiological Basis of Vascular Autocalibration (VasA): Comparison to Hypercapnia Calibration Methods. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
  12. Huber, L; Handwerker, D;Jangraw, D; Chen, G; Hall, A; Stüber, C; Gonzalez-Castillo, J; Ivanov, D; Marrett, S; Guidi, M; Goense, J; Poser, B; Bandettini, P. (2017). High-Resolution CBV-FMRI Allows Mapping of Laminar Activity and Connectivity of Cortical Input and Output in Human M1. Neuron.
  13. Dumoulin, S. (2017). Layers of Neuroscience. Neuron.
  14. Poser, B; Setsompop, K. (2018). Pulse Sequences and Parallel Imaging for High Spatiotemporal Resolution MRI at Ultra-High Field. NeuroImage.
  15. Huber, L; Ivanov, D; Handwerker, D; Marrett, S; Guidi, M; Uludağ, K; Bandettini, P; Poser, B. (2018). Techniques for Blood Volume FMRI with VASO: From Low-Resolution Mapping towards Sub-Millimeter Layer-Dependent Applications. NeuroImage.
  16. Huber, L; Tse, D; Wiggins, C; Uludağ, K; Kashyap, S; Jangraw, D; Bandettini, P; Poser, B; Ivanov, D. (2018). Ultra-High Resolution Blood Volume FMRI and BOLD FMRI in Humans at 9.4T: Capabilities and Challenges. NeuroImage.
  17. Finn, E; Huber, L; Jangraw, D; Molfese, P;  Bandettini, P. (2019). Layer-Dependent Activity in Human Prefrontal Cortex during Working Memory. Nature Neuroscience.
  18. Chai, Y; Li, L; Huber, L; Poser, B; Bandettini. (2019). Integrated VASO and Perfusion Contrast: A New Tool for Laminar Functional MRI. NeuroImage.
  19. Huber, L; Uludağ, K; Möller, H. (2019). Non-BOLD Contrast for Laminar FMRI in Humans: CBF, CBV, and CMRO2. NeuroImage.
  20. Persichetti, A; Avery, J; Huber, L; Merriam, E; Martin A. (2020). Layer-Specific Contributions to Imagined and Executed Hand Movements in Human Primary Motor Cortex. Current Biology.
  21. Yu, Y; Huber, L; Yang, J; Jangraw, D; Handwerker, A; Molfese, P; Chen, G; Ejima, Y; Wu, J; Bandettini, P. (2019). Layer-Specific Activation of Sensory Input and Predictive Feedback in the Human Primary Somatosensory Cortex. Science Advances.
  22. Yang, J; Yu, Y. (2019). “超高磁場・高精細レイヤー FMRI 技術による ヒト大脳皮質の層別活動の可視化.” Medical Science Digest 45(418): 418–21. 2019年 6月臨時増刊号/.
  23. Huber, L; Finn, E; Handwerker, D; Bönstrup, M; Glen, D; Kashyap, S; Ivanov, D; Petridou, N; Marrett, S; Goense, J; Poser, B; Bandettini P. (2020). Sub-millimeter fMRI reveals multiple topographical digit representations that form action maps in human motor cortex. Neuroimage.
  24. Beckett, A; Dadakova, T; Townsend, J; Huber, L; Park, S; Feinberg, D. (2020). Comparison of BOLD and CBV using 3D EPI and 3D GRASE for cortical layer functional MRI at 7 T. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
  25. Guidi, M; Huber, L; Lampe, L; Merola, A; Ihle, K; & Möller, H. (2020). Cortical laminar resting‐state signal fluctuations scale with the hypercapnic blood oxygenation level‐dependent response. Human Brain Mapping.
  26. Huber, L; Finn, E; Chai, Y; Goebel, R; Stirnberg, R; Stöcker, T; Marrett, S; Uludag, Kim SG; Han, S; Bandettini, P; Poser B. (2021). Layer-dependent functional connectivity methods. Progress in Neurobiology.
  27. Huber, L; Poser, B;  Kaas, A; Fear, E; Dresbach, S; Berwick, J; Goebel, R; Turner, R; Kennerley, A. (2021). Validating layer-specific VASO across species. NeuroImage.
  28. Oliveira, Í; Cai, Y; Hofstetter, S; Siero, J; van der Zwaag, W; Dumoulin, S. (2021). Comparing BOLD and VASO-CBV population receptive field estimates in human visual cortex. Neuroimage.
  29. Yu, Y; Huber, L; Yang, J; Fukunaga, M; Chai Y; Jangraw, D; Chen, G; Handwerker, D; Molfese, P; Ejima, Y; Sadato, N; Wu, J; Bandettini P. (2022). Layer-specific activation in human primary somatosensory cortex during tactile temporal prediction error processing. Neuroimage.
  30. Iamshchinina, P; Haenelt, D; Trampel, R; Weiskopf, N; Kaiser, D; Cichy, R. (2021). Benchmarking GE-BOLD, SE-BOLD, and SS-SI-VASO sequences for depth-dependent separation of feedforward and feedback signals in high-field MRI. bioRxiv.
  31. Akbari, A; Bollmann, S; Ali, T; & Barth, M. (2021). Modelling the depth-dependent VASO and BOLD responses in human primary visual cortex. bioRxiv.
  32. Yang, J; Huber, L; Yu, Y; Bandettini, P. (2021). Linking cortical circuit models to human cognition with laminar fMRI. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.
  33. Pizzuti, A;  Huber, L;  Gulban, O; Benitez-Andonegui, A; Peters, J; Goebel R. (2022). Imaging the columnar functional organization of human area MT+ to axis-of-motion stimuli using VASO at 7 Tesla. BioRxiv.
  34. Huber, L; Kronbichler, L; Stirnberg, R; Ehses, P; Stöcker, T; Fernández-Cabello, S; Poser, B; Kronbichler, M. (2022). Evaluating the capabilities and challenges of layer-fMRI VASO at 3T. BioRxiv.
  35. Huber, L; Kassavetis, P; Gulban, O; Hallett, M; Horovitz, S. (2022). Laminar VASO fMRI in focal hand dystonia patients. BioRxiv.
  36. Faes, L;  De Martino F; Huber L. (2022). Cerebral blood volume sensitive layer-fMRI in the human auditory cortex at 7 Tesla: Challenges and capabilities. BioRxiv.
  37. Koiso, K; Müller, A; Akamatsu, K; Dresbach, S; Wiggins, C; Gulban, O; Goebel, R; Miyawaki, Y; Poser, B; Huber L. (2022). Acquisition and processing methods of whole-brain layer-fMRI VASO and BOLD: The Kenshu dataset. BioRxiv.
Based on the list of papers above. Biomedical and electrical engineering were grouped. Data of one author was not available. Access Data and code for chart creation.

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