Peter Bandettini, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Section on Functional Imaging Methods, Laboratory of Brain and Cognition (LBC) / Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Core Facility (FMRIF)


Magnuson Clinical Center (Building 10), Room 1D80
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20814


Research Topics

Functional MRI (fMRI) is a technique that utilizes time-series collection of rapidly-obtained magnetic resonance images that are sensitive to brain activation-induced changes in blood flow, oxygenation, and volume. Because of its superior sensitivity and ease of use, the most common functional contrast in fMRI is blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) contrast. Since the discovery of fMRI in 1991, it has continued to advance in methodology sophistication, sensitivity, temporal and spatial resolution, interpretability, and applications.

The Section on Functional Imaging Methods (SFIM), aims to develop and refine novel approaches to fMRI acquisition, brain activation paradigms, neuronal modulation, and processing methods that leverage in-depth and nuanced understanding functional MRI (fMRI) signal and noise so that more precise and interpretable information about human neuronal function and physiology can be extracted. Our ultimate goals are to advance multimodal neuroimaging to both gain insight about the brain and to contribute to health care approaches.

Major subfields of fMRI that my group focuses on are ultra-high-resolution fMRI, time-series dynamics, resting-state fMRI, and naturalistic stimuli approaches towards deriving individual characteristics. In recent years we have published work demonstrating: 1. fMRI activation resolved at the level of cortical layers, 2. Novel pulse sequences (multi-echo EPI) that allow more definitive separation of BOLD signal from noise, 3. Time series analysis methods that have been able to decode ongoing cognition as well as to derive trait differences between individuals. Since our group began at the NIH in 1999, we have published over 150 papers. We have established ourselves as one of a handful of groups worldwide that consistently advances fMRI at the interface of applications and methodology.


Dr. Peter Bandettini received his bachelor’s degree in physics in 1989 at Marquette University. He received his Ph.D. in Biophysics at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) in 1994. His co-advisors were Drs. James Hyde and Scott Hinks. While in graduate school, he published two papers in Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. "Time course EPI of human brain function during task activation" first demonstrated fMRI, and "Processing strategies for time-course data sets in functional MRI of the human brain" introduced correlation analysis to fMRI.

From 1994 to 1996, Dr. Bandettini carried out his post-doctoral training under Drs. Jack Belliveau and Bruce Rosen at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. After briefly returning to MCW as an Assistant Professor, he moved to Bethesda, MD in 1999 to work at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as a Principal Investigator and Director of the fMRI core facility. Recently he founded the Center for Multimodal Neuroimaging as well as the Machine Learning and Data Science and Sharing teams.

Dr. Bandettini has continuously worked to advance fMRI methodology and utility. His lab has developed multi-contrast fMRI sequences, explored MRI-based neuronal current effects, advanced event-related and naturalistic paradigms and processing approaches, established multivariate fMRI decoding methods, developed de-noising strategies, characterized dynamic functional connectivity, and most recently, mapped cortical layer-specific activity and connectivity. His current work is directed towards establishing fMRI as a method not only for deriving insight into human brain function but also as a clinical tool for individual assessment.

Dr. Bandettini has been fortunate to have highly gifted and motivated graduate students, post-docs, and staff scientists. He has fostered the talent in his lab through the encouragement of thinking in first principles, questioning assumptions, and confidently testing new ideas empirically. His trainees that have gone on to outstanding careers include Drs. Natalia Petridou, Prantik Kundu, Rasmus Birn, Ziad Saad, Kevin Murphy, Niko Kriegeskorte, and Laurentius Huber.

Dr. Bandettini has been engaged in the leadership of both the MRI and Brian Mapping communities. He was Editor-In-Chief of the NeuroImage from 2011 to 2017, president of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) from 2005 to 2006, and a member of the OHBM program committee for 14 years, which he chaired in 2002, 2011, and 2013. He also has served on the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) program and education committees from 2007 to 2010, and young investigator award committee from 2001 to 2002. He was elected ISMRM Fellow of the Society in 2015.

Dr. Bandettini has published over 180 papers and 24 book chapters, has co-edited one book, and has recently authored a book titled "fMRI." His work has been cited over 37,000 times, his h-index is 88, and he has presented over 400 lectures worldwide.

Selected Publications

  1. Huber L, Handwerker DA, Jangraw DC, Chen G, Hall A, Stüber C, Gonzalez-Castillo J, Ivanov D, Marrett S, Guidi M, Goense J, Poser BA, Bandettini PA. High-Resolution CBV-fMRI Allows Mapping of Laminar Activity and Connectivity of Cortical Input and Output in Human M1. Neuron. 2017;96(6):1253-1263.e7.
  2. Gonzalez-Castillo J, Hoy CW, Handwerker DA, Robinson ME, Buchanan LC, Saad ZS, Bandettini PA. Tracking ongoing cognition in individuals using brief, whole-brain functional connectivity patterns. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015;112(28):8762-7.
  3. Finn ES, Corlett PR, Chen G, Bandettini PA, Constable RT. Trait paranoia shapes inter-subject synchrony in brain activity during an ambiguous social narrative. Nat Commun. 2018;9(1):2043.
  4. Huber L, Finn ES, Handwerker DA, Bönstrup M, Glen DR, Kashyap S, Ivanov D, Petridou N, Marrett S, Goense J, Poser BA, Bandettini PA. Sub-millimeter fMRI reveals multiple topographical digit representations that form action maps in human motor cortex. Neuroimage. 2020;208:116463.
  5. Huber L, Ivanov D, Handwerker DA, Marrett S, Guidi M, Uludağ K, Bandettini PA, Poser BA. Techniques for blood volume fMRI with VASO: From low-resolution mapping towards sub-millimeter layer-dependent applications. Neuroimage. 2018;164:131-143.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Friday, April 2, 2021