DSI-Studio: A Tractography Software Tool for Diffusion MRI Analysis

DSI Studio is a tractography software tool that maps brain connections and correlates findings with neuropsychological disorders. It is a collective implementation of several diffusion MRI methods, including diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), generalized q-sampling imaging (GQI), q-space diffeomorphic reconstruction (QSDR), diffusion MRI connectometry, and generalized deterministic fiber tracking.


A screenshot of DSI Studio mapping tractography of the arcuate fasciculus

Publications in Neuroscience

DSI Studio has facilitated and been used in more than 1,400 publications. Research studies using DSI Studio have been published in top-tier journals including Nature Neuroscience, Nature Human Behavior, Nature Communication, Brain, Cerebral Cortex, and NeuroImage


DSI Studio tractography on the cover of “Nature Reviews Neurology” for the whole year of 2017. About the cover. Brains and beauty — the 2017 cover. Nat Rev Neurol 13, 1 (2017)

More Than Just Pretty Pictures

The deterministic fiber tracking method in DSI Studio has achieved the highest 92% valid connection (ID#3) among 96 methods submitted from 20 different research groups, examined by an open competition (Nature communications, 8(1), 1349, 2017). The average accuracy of the tools is only 54%.


DSI Studio tractography performance ID:03

Usage in Clinical Medicine for Tumor Patients

Although not yet FDA cleared, under the research projects, DSI Studio has helped more than 200 brain tumor patients at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center:

Patient’s story: 1, 2, 3

Fiber tracking in DSI Studio provides a superior presurgical evaluation of the fiber tracts for patients with complex brain lesions, including low-grade and high-grade gliomas. Presurgical studies are built upon precise and accurate neuroanatomical knowledge, which allows doctors to reconstruct perilesional or intralesional fiber tracts, design the less invasive trajectory into the target lesion and apply more effectively intraoperative electrical mapping techniques for maximal and safe tumor resection in eloquent cortical and subcortical regions.

Our clinical experience applying DSI Studio fiber tracking has been reported in Neurosurgery, Journal of Neurosurgery, and Neuro-oncology among others. We are actively investigating its potential for not only presurgical planning and intraoperative navigation but also for neurostructural damage assessment, estimation of postsurgical neural pathways damage and recovery, and tracking of postsurgical changes and responses to rehabilitation therapy.

The latest innovation is the reconstruction of cranial nerves for presurgical evaluation in skull base surgery, with very promising results. The ultimate goal is to facilitate brain function preservation and recovery in patients undergoing complex brain surgery.


The human language pathway: left arcuate fasciculus mapped using DSI Studio

Histology Studies

DSI Studio can process high-resolution ex-vivo diffusion “MRI microscopy” acquired at a large volume of imaging data, makes it possible to estimate the location, orientation, and anisotropy of the tracts in any histological specimens. This provides a powerful tool to investigate the structural topology of biological tissue to shade insight into its physiological function.

Kidney rainbow

Kidney Rainbow created using DSI Studio by Nian Wang, Center for In Vivo Microcopy (Directed by Dr. G. Allan Johnson), Duke University, U.S (Curtesy of Dr. Wang)
Coverage by Science