Professor of Physics and Director, Florida International University, Center for Imaging Science
Dr. Angela Laird is a Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for Imaging Science at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, Florida. She is a pioneer in developing novel functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data analysis strategies for investigating functional brain connectivity and co-activation. A massive amount of neuroimaging data has been acquired thus far and a major challenge is the development of rigorous approaches for assessing reproducible, consensus-based results. Dr. Laird has developed methods and infrastructure over the past two decades to synthesize these data and enable the generation of predictive, meta-analytic models of brain function. Her most significant contribution has been to launch the popular trend of coordinate-based neuroimaging meta-analyses to identify convergent brain imaging results. Dr. Laird’s work has resulted in innovative and accessible neuroimaging meta-analysis methods and neuroinformatics tools for synthesizing large data sets. These tools and resources have been widely adopted and endorsed by the neuroimaging community. In addition, Dr. Laird has a robust research record in applying these new methods and resources to derive highly cited cognitive models of functional brain. Her contributions to neuroimaging data analysis methods and software have had significant impact in the human brain mapping community across all domains of cognitive neuroscience. She has authored or co-authored >200 peer-reviewed journal articles, a body of work that has yielded over 52,000 citations and a Google Scholar h-index of 93. Dr. Laird has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters “Highly Cited Researcher” since 2014, which places her in the top 1% of researchers in the field of neuroscience. Dr. Laird has received continuous federal support as a Principal Investigator (PI) since 2008; her grant portfolio is interdisciplinary and diverse and has included projects for neuroinformatics community resources, data mining in the neuroimaging of addiction, and a longitudinal project to study the neural mechanisms of STEM learning and the acquisition of problem-solving skills. In addition, she is a site PI for the NIH-funded Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the US. While at FIU, Dr. Laird has developed high impact research methods and neuroinformatics tools to enable neuroimaging meta-analysis. She is an active voice and advocate for open, reproducible neuroimaging methods and works to ensure that research is widely disseminated and accessible. In addition, Dr. Laird has demonstrated innovation in developing new, NIH-funded educational approaches to provide large-scale research training in reproducible neuroimaging methods. She serves as an NIH K award mentor and frequently serves her research community as an invited lecturer on reproducibility and open science topics to NIH-funded R25 research courses and seminar series for T32 programs or as an invited discussant to NIH virtual research workshops. Dr. Laird is actively engaged in undergraduate and graduate student training to mentor the next generation of scientists, particularly among students from underrepresented minority groups. She is staunchly committed to ensuring the training of a diverse STEM workforce. Dr. Laird has devoted substantial effort towards to the development of best practices and evidence-based strategies to foster and increase diversity, inclusivity, and equity within her research community. In addition to her research program, Dr. Laird is the Founding Director of the FIU Center for Imaging Science, a multidisciplinary research center that supports an integrated community of investigators at the forefront of imaging science. In 2016, FIU acquired a 3T Siemens MAGNETOM Prisma: Dr. Laird worked with Siemens to build the magnet configuration appropriate for the site, collaborated with FIU leadership to design the Center’s space, worked with the architectural and construction firms to ensure a successful renovation and build-out, and supervised the purchase, installation, testing, and quality control of all main and auxiliary equipment. As Director, Dr. Laird manages staff, coordinates with legal representation for the execution of all related agreements and contracts, and supervises the Center’s adherence to all regulatory requirements. Most importantly, Dr. Laird leads the Center in overseeing all operations and providing imaging services to FIU faculty, staff, and students for MRI-based research projects, as well as to external site users. Dr. Laird also liaisons with the FIU administration to develop and enact new University policies, contribute to strategic planning, hire new faculty members and navigate financial decision-making.