Paul M. Thompson

See Biography: Here


Paul Thompson is a Professor in the Keck School of Medicine of USC. His team’s research projects focus on the neuroscience, mathematics, computer science, software engineering and clinical aspects of neuroimaging and brain mapping.

Paul Thompson directs the ENIGMA Consortium, a global alliance of 307 scientists in 33 countries who conduct the largest studies of 10 major brain diseases – ranging from schizophrenia, depression, ADHD, bipolar illness and OCD, to HIV and addictions on the brain. ENIGMA’s genomic screens of over 31,000 people’s brain scans and genome-wide data (published in Nature Genetics, 2012; Nature, 2015) have brought together experts from 185 institutions to unearth genetic variants that affect brain structure, disease risk, and brain connectivity. At USC, Dr. Thompson is a Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry, Radiology, Pediatrics, Engineering, and Ophthalmology, and Director of the ENIGMA Center for Worldwide Medicine, Imaging & Genomics – a $11M NIH Center of Excellence in Big Data Computing. Using worldwide medication screens, ENIGMA discovers factors that affect progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, schizophrenia, depression and childhood brain
disorders. One study unites teams from the Thai Red Cross, the US, and South Africa, and uses methods developed by Dr Thompson’s team (Nature, 2000) to study how treatments restore brain growth in HIV+ children. Dr. Thompson also directs the USC Imaging Genetics Center– a group of 40 scientists in Marina del Rey. His team created the first maps of Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia spreading in the living brain, and a method to track brain growth in children. Dr. Thompson has an M.A. in mathematics and Greek and Latin Languages from Oxford University, and a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA.

Collaborating with imaging labs around the world, Dr. Thompson and his students have published over 1,300 publications (h-index: 116) describing novel mathematical and computational strategies for analyzing brain image databases, for detecting pathology in individual patients and groups, and for creating disease-specific atlases of the human brain.

Recent work has discovered new structural and functional brain changes during brain development and degeneration, Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias, schizophrenia and bipolar illness, HIV/AIDS, methamphetamine abuse, and autism. For many of these illnesses, Dr. Thompson’s Center is creating population-based tools to understand factors that resist them. New computational tools, developed in the lab, are used to map how these diseases spread in the living brain, and in drug trials and basic research studies.