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Fibratlas :  An innovative and  multi-disciplinary research project

Changes in white mater tracts connecting cortical and subcortical areas of the brain are biomarkers for developmental, degenerative, inflammatory or tumoral diseases. Till recently, white matter anatomical study was only possible post mortem in human. This technique, developed by Klingler, uses formalin fixed anatomical specimens after a period of freezing.
3 steps in the dissection process of a left human hemisphere

Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) is a non-invasive MRI technique providing information on white matter tracts location (tractography) by studying water diffusion in brain tissue. Since it gives an easy access to white matter tract anatomy, tractography is widely used for research and clinical purposes.

Reconstruction of 3 important white matter tracts from DWI-tractography : inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (red), superior longitudinal fasciculus (yellow) and cortico-spinal tract (green)

Nevertheless, it is based on complex mathematical models that only indirectly evaluate the underlying anatomy. Moreover, changes in the used algorithms and parameters may lead to different results in white matter tracts reconstruction. Several validation techniques were proposed, none of them being fully convincing, for instance: comparison to anatomical knowledge, axonal tracing, polarized light imaging, phantoms,
ex vivo tractography…

We propose to use two complementary approaches for tractography validation :

  • Direct comparison of tractography to dissection, the latter being regarded as a gold standard in humans. This approach suffers several pitfalls ; for instance, it is a destructive process, meaning that dissection of a given tract implies removal of more superficial structures. Additionally, comparison of dissection and tractography is not trivial since data are complex 3D objects obtained in different anatomical spaces (anatomy laboratory and MR scanner). For this purpose we are developing a method to capture each step of the dissection process and to reconstruct white matter tracts from these  acquisitions into the postmortem MR space. White matter tracts reconstructed from DWI-tractography will then be qualitatively but also quantitatively compared to reconstructions obtained from dissection.
  • Development of phantom for diffusion and tractography validation. This part of the project will develop original 3D phantoms for quality control of the scanner, sequences and algorithms used for DTI-tractography. This part is of course crucial for studies using different magnets.


  • PhD Student Position A new PhD student position has just opened in our lab!Description is available in the attached documents. Please feel free to ask us for more information.
    Posted Mar 23, 2018, 1:29 AM by Barthelemy Serres
  • WmTours2016: Tours white mater WFNS dissection course The FIBRATLAS lab organizes a dissection course of white matter tracts in Université François-Rabelais, Tours, October 2016, 27th-28th.This course will be limited to 24 participants. It will ...
    Posted Sep 1, 2016, 2:31 AM by christophe.destrieux@univ-tours.fr
  • EANS Meeting, Athens, Sept 4-8, 2016 The Fibratlas Lab will run an anatomical session on white matter anatomy during the EANS meeting of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies in Athens, Greece, Septembre 4th-8th, 2016 ...
    Posted Sep 1, 2016, 2:26 AM by christophe.destrieux@univ-tours.fr
  • WFNS meeting, Rome, September 8-12 | 2015 The Fibratlas Lab will run a theoretical course on white matter anatomy during the interim meeting of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies in Roma, Italy, Sept. 8-12 2015 ...
    Posted Aug 23, 2015, 8:49 AM by christophe.destrieux@univ-tours.fr
  • Brain Structure and function paper In this paper we study histological and ultrastructural modifications of the brain white matter induced by Klingler's dissection method.Zemmoura I, Blanchard E, Raynal P-I, Rousselot-Denis C ...
    Posted Aug 23, 2015, 8:36 AM by christophe.destrieux@univ-tours.fr
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