Early Learning and Brain Development: MEG Brain Imaging Center for Infants and Children


To establish a regional child brain imaging center to utilize the latest in brain imaging technology to measure the young brain in action and explore the basic mechanisms that underlie early learning and lay the foundation for life-long learning

Anticipated Impact: 

Improved understanding of early childhood behaviors, syndromes, and disabilities


Children's brain responses to events such as thinking, listening to language and music, and social interactions have been linked to their subsequent development and learning capacity. The investigators will use magneto-encephalography (MEG), a technology which is new to Washington State. MEG measures brain waves at the surface of the scalp in a non-invasive, noiseless process. This will be the only MEG in the world devoted to children. The behaviors, syndromes, and disabilities that will be addressed by the team represent unmet medical needs and are all prevalent in Washington State and worldwide. Improved understanding of the causes and possible treatment of autism, ADHD, dyslexia, learning difficulties and other diseases with early childhood onset will have profound implications for both the educational and health-care systems.

See also:

Pediatric Brain Imaging/Early Learning

Grant Update

Principal Investigator:
Patricia Kuhl
Grantee Organization:
University of Washington
Grant Title:
Early Learning and Brain Development: MEG Brain Imaging Center for Infants and Children
Grant Cohort and Year:
2007 Innovative Programs to Advance Health Research (02)
Grant Period:
08/13/2008 - 08/12/2013 (Completed)
Grant Amount:
In the 5 years of LSDF funding, a regional brain imaging facility has been developed that brings magnetoencephalography (MEG) technology to Washington State. The I-LABS MEG Brain Imaging Center has been featured in local and national media, has the attention of top federal and state officials, is responsible for leveraging over $20 million in new funding from federal, foundation and private sources, and has the potential for many commercialization opportunities. Work conducted to date includes groundbreaking research on visualizing the functional areas of the developing brain, creation of first-in-the-world 'brain maps' of young infants, study of auditory attention with implications for next-generation hearing aids, understanding brain activation when people interact in a socially meaningful way (e.g. mother and child). We are making progress toward use of MEG for diagnosis of disorders in clinical patients. The I-LABS MEG Brain Imaging Center is the premier site in the world using MEG technology that is specialized for the study of infants and children. Optimizing the development of today’s young children means strengthening our health, workforce and economic resources in the coming generations.

Impact in Washington

Location of LSDF Grantee
Locations of Collaborations/Areas of Impact

Legislative Districts:
11, 34, 36, 37, 43, 46

Health Impacts

Pediatric Brain Imaging/Early Learning