Among the recent group of graduates at the Keck School of Medicine commencement ceremony held on May 14 was the inaugural class of the Keck School’s newest Master of Science degree program — the Master of Neuroimaging and Informatics (NIIN).

These sixteen newly minted USC degree holders had undertaken coursework in neuroanatomy, the elements of brain imaging, experimental design, computational modeling and informatics in this rigorous 26-unit program.

The USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute in the Keck School of Medicine of USC is host to this intensive one-year program focused on the neuroimaging and the accompanying informatics associated with brain imaging. This advanced course of study seeks to provide students with a deep understanding of the scientific and clinical underpinnings of neuroimaging science, how to leverage it in basic and translational research, and how to make new and important discoveries in biomedicine.

The program is composed of lecture courses that address the technology of neuroimaging, a detailed examination of brain anatomy and function, and the variety of data-type dependent as well as integrative computational processing approaches. USC faculty teaching the rich set of courses includes Judy Pa, PhD; Yonggang Shi, PhD; Kristi Clark, PhD; Neda Jahanshad, PhD; Meredith Braskie, PhD; Hongwei Dong, MD, PhD; Houri Hintiryan, PhD; Andrei Irimia, PhD; and Junning Li, PhD.

“In my opinion, one of the best parts of the program was the balance between breadth of subjects and their level of detail. I felt that the program struck a good balance between the two extremes and that it helped prepare us for any future lab placements where neuroimaging would be used,” said Brent Roeder, who will be undertaking PhD research in neural prosthetics at Wake Forest University this fall.

“We are so proud of our NIIN students and are excited for them to go out and apply what they have learned,” said Arthur Toga, PhD, director of the USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, which oversees the program.  “Now, our graduates can now officially call themselves brain mappers.”

The selection process for the 2016-2017 NIIN class is underway now.

— John Darrell Van Horn