The role of the Standardization Committee (SC) is to provide the fNIRS community (developers, users and manufactures) with a collection of best practice guidelines for supporting all aspects relevant to the fNIRS technique: from performance assessment of instrumentation to correct implementation of fNIRS measurements, from basic data analysis procedures to advanced statistical methods. Further, the SC supports the working groups of international standard organizations ISO and IEC for the preparation of standard for fNIRS and cerebral oximeters. Please find below more information on our activities.
Members of the Committee
Meryem Ayşe Yücel, Chair, is a Research Associate Professor at the Neurophotonics Center at Boston University. She is an active contributor to the evolving field of fNIRS research and has directed and performed numerous fNIRS human imaging studies at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and now at the Neurophotonics Center at Boston University.
Alessandro Torricelli, Co-chair (Past Chair, 2016-2022), received the M.Sc. degree (summa cum laude) in electronics engineering from the Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, in 1994, and the Ph.D. degree in physics from the Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy, in 1999. He is currently a Full Professor of physics with the Department of Physics, Politecnico di Milano. His research activity has been focused on radiation–matter interaction, on the development of innovative time-domain techniques based on the pulsed laser for monitoring and imaging biomedical applications.
Ilias Tachtsidis is a Professor in Biomedical Engineering. He is a senior member of the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory and heads the Multi-Modal Spectroscopy Group. His research is highly multi-disciplinary, crossing the boundaries between engineering, physics, neuroscience and clinical medicine. The technical focus of his work is the development and use of non-invasive optical instruments and techniques for monitoring brain oxygenation, hemodynamics and metabolism.
Alexander von Lühmann is currently the head of the independent research group “Intelligent Biomedical Sensing (IBS)” at BIFOLD, Machine Learning Dept, TU Berlin. He is also a visiting researcher at the Neurophotonics Center of Boston University (BU NPC) and Chief Scientific Officer at NIRx Medical Technologies. Previously, he was R&D director at NIRx, post-doc at BU NPC, visiting researcher at the Martinos Center of Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, and Chief Technology Officer of Crely, a US-Singapore-based healthcare startup. He received his PhD (Dr.-Ing.) with distinction in 2018 from Technische universität Berlin (TU Berlin) and the M.Sc. and B.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in 2014/11.
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Ongoing Activities of the Committee
Best Practices in Hardware Development
- ISO/IEC standards: A committee consisting of the members of the Society is currently working on revising the international ISO/IEC standards on fNIRS (IEC 80601-2-71), NIRS cerebral oximeters, pulse oximeters. A “phantom group” has been created to specifically study the problem of introducing phantoms into the standards.
- Standard protocols for performance assessment of instrumentation: SC supports setting up basic tests and tools (homogeneous/heterogeneous phantoms) to assess instrumentation (CW/FD/TD fNIRS as well as DCS) performance. PoliMi Milan and PTB Berlin have developed protocols for performance assessment of photon migration instruments (e.g. MEDPHOT, BIP, nEUROPT). Similarly, protocols for DCS characterization are available at ICFO Barcelona [Cortese et al., 2021, https://doi.org/10.1364/BOE.423071]. We have provided the links to the published papers on protocols here.
- Standard protocols for in vivo validation: SC supports developing protocols for easy to implement in vivo tests for basic validation of fNIRS.
Best Practices in Experimental Design and Protocol
- Standard procedures to monitor confounding systemic effects: fNIRS signal is confounded by systemic effects. It is important to consider these confounding signals both before the experiment as well as during data processing. We provide a list of publications to introduce the topic to new fNIRS users.
- Standard procedures and tools for probe placement and registration: We provide here some useful links on the procedures and tools for probe placement and anatomical registration.
Best Practices in Data Analysis
- Standard database of optical properties and specific absorption: We provide and aim to further contribute to the standard databases of optical properties (in vivo optical properties of the human head (for guiding realistic simulations, for supporting data analysis, and for preparation of realistic phantom) and of specific absorption of tissue constituents (for estimating hemodynamic parameters, determining the relevance of other constituents like water, bone, and lipids). Please find in the link below the links to the available repositories.
- Standard protocols for performance assessment of data analysis software: We aim to facilitate defining a set of basic tests and tools to assess software performance. Currently the community is working on the FRESH Project, fNIRS REproducibility Study Hub, which aims to explore the range of analysis techniques utilized by the fNIRS community, and quantify the variation in conclusions that are drawn when many independent researchers analyze the same dataset. We believe this to be particularly important for the fNIRS community due to the diverse range of analysis procedures, young nature of the technique relative to fMRI, EEG, MEG, and the increasing adoption across a wide range of neuroscience and commercial applications. Here is a link to the available fNIRS data analysis toolboxes. Please contact us if you want your toolbox to be added to the list.
Standards for data format and organization
- Standards for data format and organization: The fNIRS community has established the SNIRF file format for fNIRS data, and this format has now been incorporated into the Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS) standard for the organization of neuroimaging datasets. Now the fNIRS community should endeavor to broadly adopt this dataset organization specification. You can find more information on SNIRF and BIDS here.
- Standard terminology: A common fNIRS terminology is crucial for understanding our fellow researchers. The fNIRS Glossary Project is intended to develop a community-sourced glossary of terms relating to fNIRS via a consensus-based methodology.