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Western Brainhack brings together researchers and trainees of all backgrounds to collaborate on open science projects in neuroimaging and neuroscience.

Pitch your project

Submit your project ideas online, then pitch them to your fellow attendees to recruit others to your team.

Learn new skills

Attend tutorials to learn new neuroscience tools and techniques from the experts.


Solve real-world problems while sharpening your skills!

Brainhack Western 2023 is an official satellite event of Brainhack Global

Cost: $5

Includes on-site meals, snacks, and coffee!

Registration is closed



DTI and fMRI

This joint tutorial will cover both the basics of diffusion MRI and functional MRI. For diffusion MRI, the basics of processing data from MRI acquisitions to computing diffusion tensors and tracking the structural connectome will be covered. For functional MRI, the basics of what aspect of brain function fMRI measures to considerations for preprocessing fMRI data will be presented.

Organizers: Farah Mushtaha and Suzanne Witt

Writing Research Impact Statements

This micro-workshop (based on MIT's impact course) will cover what an impact statement is in the context of research. Most of the workshop will be devoted to attendees working in small groups drafting impact statements for their own research suitable for the proverbial elevator pitch or meet-and-greet scenarios.

Organizer: Suzanne Witt

Data Mining

Meta-analyses of neuroimaging data are a good way to get started with understanding neuroimaging and task-based neural processing, as well as, answer research questions that may not be easily addressed with by traditional data collection. This tutorial will cover the various aspects of designing a meta-analysis and some of the more popular methods, including both topic- and contrast-based meta-analyses and coordinate- and image-based meta-analyses. Some hands-on work with the python-based tool NiMARE with a sample dataset will be included to help attendees appreciate some of the nuances between the various types of meta-analyses. A new, web-driven all-in-one meta-analysis toolbox will also be introduced.

Organizer: Suzanne Witt

Research Code Management

This tutorial will cover best practices for managing research code with the ultimate goal of sharing it. Aspects of Git and GitHub, including version control, branching, collaborations, etc. will be covered. Additionally, new guidelines to help researchers assess how open and sharable their code is will be presented.

Organizers: Suzanne Witt and Tristan Kuehn

Research Data Management

Handling data can be a challenge, and it's best to think about it before you need to organize it on a deadline. In this tutorial you'll learn best practices for collecting, storing, processing, and sharing your data. We'll go over writing a Data Management Plan, formatting your data with BIDS and other open standards, and version controlling your data with DataLad, and uploading to a public repository.

Organizer: Tristan Kuehn

Data Visualization

A great data visualization can effectively demonstrate the arguments you're making in a paper. In this tutorial you'll learn about designing informative graphics, and how to use one of a selection of tools to combine your design and data into a paper-ready graphic. We'll go over tools in Python, but most of the concepts should be transferable to your toolset of choice.

Organizer: Tristan Kuehn

Reproducible Data Analysis

Using a workflow management tool to run your research analyses can make it much easier to remember what you've done with your data, make small adjustments, and describe your analyses to others in a reproducible way. In this tutorial, you'll learn about what a workflow management tool is, why you might want to use one, and how to write your analyses as workflows. As an example, we'll go over SnakeBIDS, a Western-grown workflow management tool for handling BIDS-formatted neuroimaging data.

Organizer: Tristan Kuehn

Indigenous and EDI Considerations for Data: Understanding Your Responsibilities as a Neuroscience Trainee

The rules, guidelines, and obligations when it comes to conducting Indigenous Research are different in Canada than for non-Indigenous populations. Come learn about why these differences exist and how they relate to the open science and data sharing expectations that exist for much of neuroscience and neuroimaging research.

Organizers: Keza Motlana and Suzanne Witt
Katie Big Canoe

Alex Levine

A Brief Introduction to MRI

This tutorial will provide a basic introduction to MRI. We will cover where the MRI signal is originating from, what are the different contrasts, basic pulse sequences for acquiring an image, how to reconstruct and visualize an image from DICOM to NIFTI, and unique MRI contrasts such as diffusion or functional imaging.

Organizer: Brad Karat

Modern Realities of Behavioural Research

This tutorial will cover the basics of behavioral data collection and analysis in neuroscience-adjacent fields such as cognitive psychology. The session will provide a broad overview of the topic, ranging from basics of behavioral experiment design, stimulus presentation, and data collection and analysis, to emerging data analysis techniques and online data collection. Throughout, the software options available for each step will be briefly discussed. No previous knowledge or experience is expected.

Organizers: Priya Kalra and Anthony Cruz

Neuroanatomy for Researchers: a Focus on Surgical Targets

In this tutorial, we will begin with a basic introduction to neuroanatomy then briefly discuss the hippocampus, basal ganglia structures, midbrain, and relatively uncharted zona incerta. Taking on a clinical lens, we will explore how these structures could be crucial targets during functional neurosurgical procedures.

We end our tutorial with 3 mini-software demo stations:

  1. Learning neuroanatomy using an open and validated anatomical fiducial framework (AFIDs)
  2. Reviewing introduced anatomy in the context of a surgical case using a virtual reality headset
  3. Applying our functional neuroanatomy knowledge to plan a surgical case using a fully open-source software (trajectoryGuide).
Organizer: Alaa Taha

Introduction to EEG

This tutorial will explore the essentials of EEG, including its origin, conventions and related modalities. From there, we'll step into the world of EEG analysis, from time domain to time-frequency analysis, all while getting hands-on sessions with Python. Finally, the tutorial will cover a bit on the important role of preprocessing in EEG. Discover the fascinating world of EEG with Python.

Organizer: Mauricio Cespedes Tenorio