Randy Gollub Named Chair-Elect of OHBM, Floats Idea of Ska Band’s Return

Gary Boas

The Martinos Center’s Randy Gollub has been elected to be the next Chair of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM), an international society launched by Center researchers a quarter century ago.

She is delighted to be able to step into the role: not least because of the many “resonances” between the two organizations.

“For me,” she says, “OHBM and Martinos bring together the people, ideas and knowledge that I most treasure.” With respect to the people, “attendees at OHBM meetings and folks at Martinos are 100 percent – no, 150 percent – committed to excellence in their work, and are passionate about making a contribution and a difference. At the same time, they know what it means to help one another, to work collaboratively, to argue constructively, to educate, to stimulate and to inspire.”

The resonances don’t end there, of course. OHBM and the Martinos Center both stand out in their respective spheres because they involve the myriad domains critical to the advancement of human neuroimaging: multimodal acquisition; every kind of image analysis approach; the full spectrum of clinical translational domains; imaging across the full lifespan, from fetal to the most aged; and many more.

“It is that rich mixture,” Gollub said, “where you are most likely to learn something that you had never thought of, but once you understand it, how could you ever have missed that unique approach, that optimal way to solve the problem?”

This diversity of ideas and approaches has always been a hallmark of the Martinos Center. It was also baked into the culture of OHBM, said Center director Bruce Rosen, one of the founders of the society. Indeed, the group entered the world as “a mashup of the ‘old guard’ PET brain mapping community and the ‘upstarts’ from the community emerging around that newfangled technology, functional MRI.”

Thus, from the start, OHBM included people from the cognitive science and neuropsychology communities as well as folks like Martinos Center researchers (and fellow OHBM founders) Jack Belliveau, Ken Kwong, David Kennedy and Mark Cohen, who had played central roles in introducing functional MRI and were now working to advance understandings of the new technology both technically and physiologically. Accordingly, the society quickly grew to include MRI engineers and data scientists as well as neurophysiologists and biophysicists.

The Return of the Ska Band

In addition to Gollub’s election as the next Chair, David Kennedy, the former Martinos Center researcher and now the director of the Division of Neuroinformatics, Department of Psychiatry, at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, is the incoming Secretary of OHBM. This welcome news prompted Gollub to speculate, somewhat cryptically, “Maybe the ska band will come back.”

When asked about this, Rosen was eager to elaborate.

“First things first, the band was Bim Skala Bim,” he said. “A friend of mine is in the band – they still play out sometimes – but Dave Kennedy was a real fan and pushed for them to play at the second Human Brain Mapping meeting here in Boston. I was the middleman. In any event, it was one of the best HBM parties we’ve had!”

Gollub encourages anyone not already familiar with OHBM to check out its many offerings, no matter the stage of their career. Not only is the society a diverse and vibrant community, it is also, apparently, a raucously fun one. No doubt it will continue to be all of this and more under her faithful stewardship.

In the photo above: The Center’s Randy Gollub (third from left) on a harbor cruise with other members of the OHBM Communications Committee, including two of the members, Nikola Stikov and Nils Muhlert, who succeeded her in leadership of the Committee.