Predicting the retinotopic organization of human visual cortex from anatomy using geometric deep learning

Neuroimage. 2021 Dec 1:244:118624. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118624. Epub 2021 Oct 1.


Whether it be in a single neuron or a more complex biological system like the human brain, form and function are often directly related. The functional organization of human visual cortex, for instance, is tightly coupled with the underlying anatomy with cortical shape having been shown to be a useful predictor of the retinotopic organization in early visual cortex. Although the current state-of-the-art in predicting retinotopic maps is able to account for gross individual differences, such models are unable to account for any idiosyncratic differences in the structure-function relationship from anatomical information alone due to their initial assumption of a template. Here we developed a geometric deep learning model capable of exploiting the actual structure of the cortex to learn the complex relationship between brain function and anatomy in human visual cortex such that more realistic and idiosyncratic maps could be predicted. We show that our neural network was not only able to predict the functional organization throughout the visual cortical hierarchy, but that it was also able to predict nuanced variations across individuals. Although we demonstrate its utility for modeling the relationship between structure and function in human visual cortex, our approach is flexible and well-suited for a range of other applications involving data structured in non-Euclidean spaces.

Keywords: Cortical surface; High-resolution fMRI; Machine learning; Manifold; Vision; Visual hierarchy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Deep Learning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Neurons
  • Visual Cortex / diagnostic imaging*
  • Young Adult