What is neuGRID?
neuGRID is a web portal aimed to (i) help neuroscientists do high-throughput imaging research, and (ii) provide clinical neurologists automated diagnostic imaging markers of neurodegenerative diseases for individual patient diagnosis. neuGRID's user-friendly environment is customised to a range of users from students to senior neuroscientists working in the fields of Alzheimer's disease, psychiatric diseases, and white matter diseases. neuGRID aims to become the "Google for brain imaging".
New imaging technologies significantly affect diagnostic and prognostic accuracy and facilitate progress towards the cure of brain diseases, in particular Alzheimer's Disease. However, the impact of these new technologies largerly depends on the speed and reliability with which the imaging data can be visualized, analyzed and interpreted.
Thanks to distributed services and grid/cloud computational resources, analyses with neuGRID are incomparably faster than traditional-style lab-based analyses. The combination of medical imaging with Distributed Computing Infrastrutures (DCI) has demonstrated the potential to make a significant impact in the translation of medical research from the lab into clinical practice.
neuGRID's proof-of-concept was carried out in 2009 when an Alzheimer's disease biomarker (3D cortical thickness with Freesurfer and CIVET) was extracted from 6˙500 MR scans in 2 weeks versus 5 years that it would have taken in a traditional setting.
neuGRID was first funded by the European Commission DG INFSO within the 7th Framework Program from 2008 to 2011. Here, the hardware and middleware infrastructure were developed. The second wave was funded in 2011 by the European Commission, now DG CONNECT, under the project neuGRID for you (N4U), with the main aim of expanding user services with more intuitive and graphical interfaces. N4U will end in December 2014.
This image shows the complementarity between the services developed by neuGRID (in blue) and those that will be developed by N4U (in green). While neuGRID pioneered the lower infrastructural layers addressing the Alzheimer's Disease and other neurodegenerative disease neuroscientific community (NS-NDD) requirements, N4U will harness the infrastructure and further develop it to satisfy the need of a larger number of users ranging from students (from high school to PhD), to senior neuroimaging scientists, and neuroimaging scientists specialized in Multiple Sclerosis and other white matter diseases and Psychiatric Diseases (NS-WMD and NS-PSY).