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ENIGMA-U: A Free Online Neuroscience Resource for Increasing Representation from Historically Excluded Groups

While there are many initiatives aimed at increasing diversity in the neurosciences, few focus on inequities early in training.

ENIGMA-U aims to address these inequities for students, with online training in neuroscience, neuroimaging, and neuropsychology to address the physical and logistical barriers and funded summer opportunities to address the financial barriers.

ENIGMA-U: A Free Online Neuroscience Resource for Increasing Representation from Historically Excluded Groups

Neuroscience, the study of the nervous system, is what powers many breakthroughs that lead to new treatments for our patients. It is a fascinating field, and it draws some of the smartest minds from across the world. That said, like many cutting-edge fields, it has not been accessible to all.

Many students run into barriers to entry in the neurosciences—particularly neuroimaging, the use of imaging techniques, most commonly MRI, to study brain structure and function. These barriers include the financial (e.g., unpaid internships), the physical (e.g., access to training, travel for rural students), and the logistical (e.g., working courses around work and caring for family members), and in general, underrepresented students get few opportunities to interact with potential role models in these kinds of careers.

Dr. Emily Dennis

Emily L. Dennis, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Utah, hopes to address some of these inequities through the program ENIGMA-U. ENIGMA-U is a free online course, with training in neuroscience, neuroimaging, and neuropsychology to address physical and logistical barriers for students and funded summer opportunities to address financial barriers.

ENIGMA-U leverages the ENIGMA Consortium (Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis,, a global network of neuroimaging experts.

ENIGMA-U's Main Goals: Train and Connect

ENIGMA-U runs a free online school focused on neuroimaging, neuroscience, neuropsychology, and basic science literacy for senior high school/entry-level college students, especially those coming from backgrounds that do not have easy access to mentorship. With this school, they hope to accomplish two things:

  1. To organize and provide training and content from international experts in neuroimaging in a format that is accessible to high school and college students around the world.
  2. To connect students with mentors for summer research opportunities and provide funding for stipends.

ENIGMA-U also hopes to be developed into an internship network that will connect students who have completed required courses with potential host labs. This approach will address issues on both sides of the mentor/mentee relationship: mentors want students who are trained, and mentees often have difficulty finding host labs.


ENIGMA-U officially launched in beta-mode on 02 September 2022. To date, 701 students from 76 countries have registered (see map). Sor far, 57 researchers from 34 institutions across 10 countries have created 34 hours of content, with many more planned for the coming months.


With this program, ENGIMA-U hopes to help foster a new, more diverse generation of neuroscientists and neuropsychologists.


The content for ENIGMA-U is supported by the Unik Learning Management System. The cost is covered entirely through grants and private donations, including support from an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion grant from the University of Utah’s Department of Neurology. If you would like to learn more about ENIGMA-U, please visit their webpage:

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