Fetal development

Jakab 2014 image

We are studying fetal brain development with a focus on modelling structural- and functional changes during gestation.

Fetal functional brain netowrks emerge during gestation following a stabled timing. Region-specific increase of functional signal synchrony followed a sequence of occipital (peak: 24.8 GW), temporal (peak: 26 GW), frontal (peak: 26.4 GW), and parietal expansion (peak: 27.5 GW). (Jakab et al. 2014)

Jakab et al 2015The organization of structural connectivity an ts development in the fetal brain is discrupted by disease. Corpus callosum agenesis effects specific changes not only in the inter-hemispheric connections, but also within hemispheres. Each follows a characteristic timing. (Jakab et al. 2015)

 Cortical expansion during fetal development can be modelled by Schwartz et ao 2016comparing cortical surfaces across many individuals and linking their shape to gestaional age. We developed regularlization approaches that facilitate reliable estimates of development models. (Schwartz et al. 2016).


Screen Shot 2017 05 03 at 14.41.33Development of the brain parenchymum proceeds in successive migrational waves of neuronal migration. The resulting laminar intensity profiles observable in both histology and in utero are indicative of developmental processes and important markers for neurodevelopmental diseases. We showed that the time-course of shifting patterns of laminar cortical structure can be modeled from fetal MRI.



Fetal Development Data Release 0.1 available


  • E Schwartz, KH Nenning, G Kasprian, AL Schuller, L Bartha-Doering, G Langs. Multivarite Manifold Modeling of Functional Connectivity in Developing Language Networks. IPMI'17
  • K.H. Nenning, H. Liuc, S. Ghoshd, M. Sabuncu, E. Schwartz, G. Langs. Diffeomorphic Functional Brain Surface Alignment: Functional Demons. to appear in NeuroImage (2017, in press)
  • R. Licandro, K.-H. Nenning, E. Schwartz, K. Kollndorfer, L. Bartha-Doering, G. Langs. Changing Functional Connectivity in the Child's Developing Brain Affected by Ischaemic Stroke. Published in Proceedings of MICCAI 2016.
  • E. Schwartz, G. Kasprian, A. Jakab, D. Prayer, V. Schöpf, and G. Langs. Modeling Fetal Cortical Expansion using Graph-Regularized Gompertz Models. Published in Proceedings of MICCAI 2016.
  • E. Schwartz, G. Kasprian, A. Jakab, V. Schöpf, D. Prayer, and G. Langs. Spatio-Temporal Modelling of Laminar Neurodevelopment from Fetal MRI. MICCAI 2016 Workshop on Perinatal, Preterm and Paediatric Image analysis. 
  • V. Schöpf, G. Langs, A. Jakab. Functional Imaging of the Prenatal Brain. Fetal Development. Springer International Publishing, 2016. 429-437.
  • D. Wang, R. L. Buckner, M. D. Fox, D. J. Holt, A. J. Holmes, S. Stoecklein, G. Langs, R. Pan, T. Qian, K. Li, J. T. Baker, S. M. Stufflebeam, K. Wang, X. Wang, B. Hong, and H. Liu, Parcellating cortical functional networks in individuals. Nature Neuroscience, advance online publication. pdf
  • G. Langs, D. Wang, P. Golland, S. Mueller, R. Pan, M. Sabuncu, W. Sun, K. Li, H. Liu. Identifying Shared Brain Networks in Individuals by Decoupling Functional and Anatomical Variability. in Cerebral Cortex (in press)
  • A Jakab, G Kasprian, E Schwartz, G Maria Gruber, C Mitter, D Prayer, V Schöpf, and G Langs. Disrupted developmental organization of the structural connectome in fetuses with corpus callosum agenesis. NeuroImage 111 (2015): 277-288.
  • C. Schellen, E. Schwartz, G. M. Gruber, E. Mlczoch, M. Weber, B. Ulm, P. C. Brugger, G. Langs, U. Salzer-Muhar, D. Prayer, G. Kasprian. Fetal MRI detects early alterations of brain development in tetralogy of fallot. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2015)
  • C Mitter, A. Jakab, P.C. Brugger, G. Ricken, G. M. Gruber, D. Bettelheim, A. Scharrer, G. Langs, J.A. Hainfellner, D. Prayer and G. Kasprian. Validation of in utero tractography of human fetal commissural and internal capsule fibers with histological structure tensor analysis. In Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, 2015, doi: 10.3389/fnana.2015.00164
  • Karl-Heinz Nenning, Kathrin Kollndorfer, Veronika Schöpf, Daniela Prayer, and Georg Langs. Multi-Subject Manifold Alignment of Functional Network Structures via Joint Diagonalization paper.  in Advances in Information Processing in Medical Imaging, IPMI 2015.
  • A Spatio-Temporal Latent Atlas for Semi-Supervised Learning of Fetal Brain Segmentations and Morphological Age Estimation. E. Dittrich, T. Riklin-Raviv, G. Kasprian, R. Donner, P. C. Brugger, D. Prayer, G. Langs. in Medical Image Analysis 14(1), pp.9-21, 2014. [paper]
  • V. Schöpf, T. Schlegl, A. Jakab, G. Kasprian, R. Woitek, D. Prayer and G. Langs. The Relationship Between Eye Movement and Vision Develops Before Birth. in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience [pdf].
  • Jakab A, Schwartz E, Kasprian G, Gruber GM, Prayer D, Schöpf V, Langs G.  (2014) Fetal functional imaging portrays heterogeneous development of emerging human brain networks. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, (accepted manuscript doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00852).
  • A locally linear method for enforcing temporal smoothness in serial image registration. [pdf]  E. Schwartz, A. Jakab, G. Kasprian, L. Zoellei, and G. Langs. In Proc. of MICCAI STIA'14. LNCS 8682
  • Advanced MRI techniques of the fetal brain. V. Schöpf, E. Dittrich, V. Berger-Kulemann, G. Kasprian, K. Kollndorfer, D. Prayer. Der Radiologe 2013, 53(2):136-140