While I’m at it, I thought I might also include my new, finalized abstract:
The focus of this project was to develop the methodology for reconstructing and analyzing dog brains from MRI scans for the comparison of the volumes of different subcortical structures, so that such differences may be correlated with personality trait differences between dog breeds. Existing MRI atlases have insufficient detail or slice thinness to produce accurate reconstructions, and histological atlases cannot be easily reconstructed. Recent personality research has identified regions in the human brain that correlate with the Big Five personality traits. As dogs have the widest variation in terms of size and personality traits, they were selected as models for evaluating the neuroanatomical correlates of personality. A temperament survey was administered to over 3500 dogs of different breeds, and the data were analyzed to produce breed scores for traits measured by question groupings. Breed comparisons that exhibited the greatest contrast on these traits were isolated. MRI scan parameters for a fixed dog brain were chosen to accommodate the changes that occur with fixation, and high quality scans of this reference brain were conducted. These scans were then segmented and reconstructed using Amira™ into 3-dimensional representations of the brain surface and volume as reference material. Other dog brains were reconstructed from multi-axis clinical MRI scans and morphed to fit the reference brain, so that the scaling parameters may be obtained. The parameters will be used to rescale the segmented volumes of subcortical structures. These standardized volumes will then be compared and the differences will be correlated with the obtained personality differences.