NIH Blueprint: The Human Connectome Project

The Human Connectome Project

Mapping the human brain is one of the great scientific challenges of the 21st century. The Human Connectome Project (HCP) is tackling a key aspect of this challenge by elucidating the neural pathways that underlie brain function and behavior. Deciphering this amazingly complex wiring diagram will reveal much about what makes us uniquely human and what makes every person different from all others.

The consortium led by Washington University, University of Minnesota, and Oxford University (the WU-Minn HCP consortium) is comprehensively mapping human brain circuitry in a target number of 1200 healthy adults using cutting-edge methods of noninvasive neuroimaging. It will yield invaluable information about brain connectivity, its relationship to behavior, and the contributions of genetic and environmental factors to individual differences in brain circuitry and behavior.

Starting with the first quarterly (Q1) data release (March, 2013), HCP datasets are being made freely available to the scientific community. Four imaging modalities are used to acquire data with unprecedented resolution in space and time.  Resting-state functional MRI (rfMRI) and diffusion imaging (dMRI) provide information about brain connectivity. Task-evoked fMRI reveals much about brain function.  Structural MRI captures the shape of the highly convoluted cerebral cortex.  Behavioral data provides the basis for relating brain circuits to individual differences in cognition, perception, and personality.  In addition, a subset of participants will be studied using magnetoencephalography (MEG).

Successful charting of the human connectome in healthy adults will pave the way for future studies of brain circuitry during development and aging and in numerous brain disorders. In short, it will transform our understanding of the human brain in health and disease.

Get HCP Data

Project Spotlight
  • HCP Course Registration: Summer 2015

    Learn about multi-modal neuroimaging data, analysis, and visualization tools of the Human Connectome Project. Learn More | Register Now

  • HCP Data Now Available on Amazon Web Services

    Image data from the 500 Subject Release is now available for processing via Amazon Web Services. Learn More | Documentation

  • Expanded MEG Data Release

    A new, high-quality set of HCP MEG data has been collected on a total of 67 subjects and released on ConnectomeDB. Learn More

  • Connectome Workbench 1.0 Release

    Sept 10 2014: Visualize HCP data on your desktop! Workbench now has an improved GUI and more powerful set of command tools. Get Workbench

  • Parcellation+Timeseries+Netmats rfMRI Data Release

    Resting-state fMRI analysis including group-ICA parcellations, individual subject node-timeseries and netmats. Documentation | Download.

  • HCP Lifespan Pilot Project Data Release

    A pilot dataset of 25 healthy subjects spanning a range of ages is now available for download on the relaunched ConnectomeDB. Learn More | View Data.

  • MGH Adult Diffusion HCP Dataset added to ConnectomeDB

    With the relaunch of ConnectomeDB to support multiple datasets, we can now offer the MGH Adult Diffusion HCP dataset for download. Learn More | View Data.

  • HCP Announces 500 Subjects Data Release

    Imaging and behavioral data has been released for more than 500 subjects, including several processing updates. Register to get access.

  • New York Times Author goes inside the HCP scanner

    Author Jim Gorman provides an in-person perspective of how the Human Connectome Project collects data, and new ways of visualizing the result. Read More

  • Areal divisions: Parcellation using resting-state correlations

    A new publication focuses on the pros and cons of using resting-state correlations to define distinct brain areas. Read More

  • Brain on Movies: MEG captures network dynamics

    A new publication asserts that watching a movie changes the brain's resting state network dynamics, but not its network topology. Read More

  • 2013 Neuroimage Special Issue: Mapping the Connectome

    Eight original manuscripts by the WU-Minn HCP consortium have been published detailing the current state of the project's components. Publications | Citations

  • Mapping Fiber Orientation from Multichannel dMRI

    New SENSE image reconstruction method reduces the noise floor in diffusion tractography. Read More.