SRA-NED project

  • Project title
    Harmonization of acquisition and processing of Brain Imaging Biomarkers for Neurodegenerative Diseases: A strategic Research Agenda for best-practice guidelines

  • Acronym

  • Coordinators
    – Giovanni B. Frisoni
    University of Geneva, Switzerland
    – Jorge Jovicich
    University of Trento, Italy

  • Type of Grant
    EU Joint Programme – JPND Neurodegenerative Disease Research 2016 call “Working Groups for Harmonisation and Alignement in Brain Imaging Methods for Neurodegeneration”
    Funded by the SNSF.
    Grant number: FNS 31ND30_171200

  • Start date
    September 2016

  • Duration
    9 months

Fact Sheet Download


– The SRA-NED Survey has been closed on March 31, 2017
–  A two-day workshop will take place on 2nd-3rd March 2017 at Campus Biotech in Geneva, Switzerland

Brief summary and goals

Diagnosis and prognosis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer, Parkinson and Huntington’s are still a challenge in our society. Much can be learned from structural and functional changes of the brain that can be studied with neuroimaging from Positron Emission Tomography, Electroencephalography and Magnetic Resonance. Multicentre studies give the opportunity to accumulate large amounts of data that might allow more reliable measurements. However, is it really so? Harmonization of image acquisition and data analysis remains challenging since biomarkers should be specific to the disease. As a result, an inadequate level of calibration protocols prevents comparing data from different studies, delays the use of biomarkers in clinical research and drug discovery, ultimately leading to uneven and suboptimal quality of care and slowing of drug discovery.

This project aims to identify barriers challenging the large scale harmonization of imaging biomarkers in neurodegenerative diseases. This goal will be firstly addressed by conducting a detailed questionnaire in expert centres to detect main problems associated with the level of calibration protocols. Secondly, from the information gathered we will develop guidelines to address the most critical barriers for neuroimaging harmonization. The guidelines will help funding agencies to identify topics and actions deserving funding with the ultimate aim of developing best practices to be followed for the elaboration of biomarkers in neurodegenerative diseases.



Giovanni B Frisoni

Affiliation: University of Geneva, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences

Address: LANVIE, Chemin du Petit Bel-air 2, CH-1225 Chêne-Bourg, Genève


Jorge Jovicich

University of Trento, Italy


WG Members

  • Giovanni B. Frisoni  (PI)
    University of Geneva, Switzerland

  • Jorge Jovicich (Co-PI, MRI WG lead)
    University of Trento, Italy

  • Frederik Barkhof (MRI WG Co-lead)
    VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • Karl Herholz (PET WG lead)
    Wolfson Molecular Imaging CentreUniversity of Manchester, UK

  • Bart van Berckel (PET WG Co-lead)
    VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • Christoph H. T. Mulert (EEG WG lead)
    University Medical Center Hamburg – Eppendorf, Germany

  • Claudio Babiloni (EEG WG Co-lead)
    University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy

  • Dag Årsland (PET group)
    Stavanger University Hospital, Norway

  • Rok Berlot (MRI group)
    University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia

  • Marie Chupin (MRI group)
    CNRS / ICM Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière, France

Advisory Group


Survey goals

  • This survey is aimed at identifying barriers for the harmonized application of neurodegenerative imaging biomarkers to be obtained from large-scale multicentric neuroimaging (MRI, PET/SPECT, EEG).

  • The results of the survey will be used to develop a proposal of actions (e.g., funding in particular areas) to address these barriers.

Target audience

  • Neurodegenerative disease (ND) imaging experts (neurologist, geriatrician, psychiatrist, radiologist, nuclear medicine physician, engineer, physicist, etc.)

Survey outline

1. Background information

2. Barriers for the harmonized application of multicentric neuroimaging pathology biomarkers relevant to ND

2.1 – High-level barriers for effectively participating in multi/centric neuroimaging studies of ND disorders

2.2 – Identification of relevant neuroimaging biomarkers of ND disorders

2.3 – Harmonization needs/barriers

3. Final remarks

The survey has been closed on March 31, 2017

March 2nd – 3rd, 2017



On March 2nd-3rd 2017, we met at the Campus BioTech in Geneva, Switzerland, for a two-day Workshop, as originally planned in our Strategic Research Agenda for Neurodegenerative Diseases (SRA-NED) project. The Workshop had two main goals. The first one was to summarize and discuss the preliminary results of a recently conducted survey aimed at understanding neuroimaging community thoughts on the most pressing barriers that currently obstacle the harmonization of procedures and extraction of biomarkers derived from neuroimaging data (MRI, PET/SPECT, EEG) collected in multicentric studies in patients with neurodegenerative disorders. The second goal was to discuss the best way to represent the survey findings in the SRA-NED document, which is the main deliverable of this project, with recommendations of actions that can address the main barriers identified by the survey.

The Workshop was attended by 28 participants representing the three Working Groups (MRI: 9; EEG: 8; PET/SPECT: 4) as well as Giovanni Frisoni’s research group (4) and administrative support staff. The meeting agenda was defined around the workshop goals. Briefly, Day 1 of the workshop was used to summarize and review the main findings of the survey with morning presentations, followed by parallels sessions for each of the working groups in the afternoon to discuss the main recommendations that could address the survey findings. Day 2 was used to present the main recommendations from each of the working groups and discuss their integration for the final SRA.  Coffee breaks, lunches, and a delightful social dinner on Day 1 gave ample opportunities for the participants to meet and interact. Indeed, all was very well organized ensuring a productive flow of fruitful discussion.

The survey identified a series of common high-level barriers across the neuroimaging modalities of interest (MRI, PET/SPECT, EEG), as well as more specific barriers. Results were mentioned in a preliminary draft of the Strategic Research Agenda with recommendations addressed to remove the identified barriers. Finally, participants scheduled the next steps (actions and deadlines) to be followed in the next months of the project.


Name Institution WG
Giovanni Frisoni University of Geneva, Switzerland PI
Frederik Barkhof VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, Netherlands MRI
Jorge Jovicich University of Trento, Italy MRI
David Thomas UCL Institute of Neurology, UK MRI
Tormod Fladby Akershus University Hospital / University of Oslo, Norway MRI
Rachael Scahill University College London, UK MRI
Zuzana Nedelska St. Anne’s University Hospital, Czech Republi MRI
Rok Berlot University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia MRI
Eric Westman Karolinska Institutet, Sweden MRI
Stefan Teipel University of Rostock / DZNE, Germany MRI
Claudio Babiloni University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Italy EEG
Christoph Mulert University Medical Center Hamburg – Eppendorf, Germany EEG
Micah Murray University of Lausanne, Switzerland EEG
Pim (W.H.) Drinkenburg Janssen R&D / J&J Pharmaceutical Companies, Belgium EEG
Laura Bonanni University G. d’Annunzio di Chieti-Pescara, Italy EEG
Gorsev Yener Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey EEG
Derya Durusu Emek Sava Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey EEG
Karl Herholz Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre – University of Manchester, UK PET
Flavio Nobili University of Genoa / IRCCS AOU San Martino-IST, Italy PET
Valentina Garibotto Hôpitaux Universitaires de Gèneve, Switzerland PET
Adriaan Lammertsma VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, Netherlands PET
Jakub Hort Charles University, Czech Republic PET



Principal Investigator

Co-Principal Investigator

Project Manager

Workshop Coordinator

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