(function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })(); skip to primary navigationskip to content

Dr Rafael Romero-Garcia

Departments and Institutes


Research Interests

Neurosurgical management of brain tumours has entered a new paradigm where resection is extended into the peri-tumoural margin to minimise the potential for recurrence or malignant transformation. Maximising the resection whilst minimising harm is complicated by difficulty in determining the edge of the tumour and limitations in mapping the function of apparently normal brain tissue surrounding the tumour.

Our group aim to address the problem of accurately mapping cognitive functions in a way that is of value to surgeons by using connectomics to create functional and structural 'wiring diagrams' of the brain. Connectomics uses white matter connectivity and the synchronicity of brain signals measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to model the brain as a continuously interacting communication networks. The way these brain networks are organized is intimately related to cognitive functions, and is believed to be sensitive to changes in these networks due to injury or surgery. Consequently, the hypothesis is that connectomics provides quantitative information on brain networks related to the cognitive functions of individual patients that is valuable to planning tumour resections.

The objective of our research is to derive from pre-operative MRI and connectomic analysis an estimate of the potential risk of resecting tissue in terms of functional loss post-operatively, and from changes in connectomic measure pre- and post-operatively, the likelihood of recovery. We will develop a demonstration system for surgical feedback consisting of a surgical mannequin to which MRI images are mapped and a 3D pointer to orientate the surgeons to the connectomic data. Risk estimates of resecting tissue will come from data collected before and after surgical resection of brain tumours, and up to 12 months following surgery, to discover what properties of the connectome best predict cognitive outcomes and their recovery during rehabilitation. This combined technology will be tested in an observational study for its effectiveness in supporting surgical planning.


  • connectivity
  • network
  • neuroimaging
  • graph

Key Publications


Romero-Garcia* R, Suckling* J, Owen M, Assem M, Coelho P, McDonald A, Woodberry E, Santarius T, Erez Y,

Hart M (2021). Brain network disruption predicts memory and attention deficits after surgical resection of glioma. Journal of Neurosurgery. In Press. *Equally contributed


Romero-Garcia R, Hook R, Tiego J, Bethlehem R, Goodyer I, Jones P, Dolan R, Grant J, Bullmore E, Yucel M, Chamberlain S (2020). Brain micro-architecture and disinhibition: a latent phenotyping study across 33 impulsive and compulsive behaviours. Neuropsychopharmacology. 46, 423–431.


Romero-Garcia R, Seidlitz J, Whitaker KJ, Morgan SE, Fonagy P, Dolan RJ, Jones PB, Goodyer IM, Suckling J, the NSPN Consortium, Vértes PE, Bullmore ET (2020). Schizotypy-related magnetization of cortex in healthy adolescence is co-located with expression of schizophrenia risk genes. Biological Psychiatry, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.12.005.


Romero-Garcia R, Erez Y, Oliver BAG, Owen M, Merali S, Poologaindran A, Morris RC, Price S, Santarius T, Suckling J, Hart M (2020). Practical Application of Networks in Neurosurgery: Combined 3D Printing, Neuronavigation, and Pre-Operative Surgical Planning. World Neurosurgery, doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.01.08. Editors’ choice award


Feng L, Romero-Garcia R, Suckling J et al. Effects of choral singing versus health education on cognitive decline and aging: a randomized controlled trial. Aging. 12:24798-24816.


Mak E, Holland N, Jones SP, Savulich G, Audrey L, Maura M, Kaalund S, Passamonti L, Rittman T, Romero-Garcia, R et al. (2020).  Coupling of dendritic complexity with presynaptic density in primary tauopathies. Neurobiology of aging. In Press.


Gorriz JM, Jimenez-Mesa C, Romero-Garcia R, Segovia F, Ramirez J, Castillo-Barnes D, Martinez-Murcia FJ, Ortiz A, Salas-Gonzalez D, Illan IA, Puntonet CG, Lopez-Garcia D, Gomez-Rio M, Suckling J (2020) Statistical Agnostic Mapping: a Framework in Neuroimaging based on Concentration Inequalities. Information Fusion. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.inffus.2020.09.008.


Erez Y, Assem M, Coelho P, Romero-Garcia R, Owen M, McDonald A. Woodberry E, Morris R, Price S, Suckling J, Duncan J, Hart M, Santarius T (2020) Intraoperative mapping of executive function using electrocorticography for patients with low-grade gliomas. Acta Neurochirurgica. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00701-020-04646-6.


Bletsch A, Schäfer T, Mann C, Andrews DS, Daly E, Gudbrandsen M, Ruigrok A, Dallyn R, Romero-Garcia R, Suckling J, Bullmore E, Lai MC, Lombardo M, Baron-Cohen S, the MRC AIMS Consortium, Murphy DGM, Dell’Acqua F, Ecker C (2020). Atypical measures of diffusion at the grey-white matter boundary in autism spectrum disorder. Human Brain Mapping. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25237.


Schirmer A, Romero-Garcia R, Escoffier N, Penney T, Goh B, Suckling J, Feng L (2020) Rhythmic Timing is a Distributed Process: Evidence from Structural Brain Imaging in Aging Adults. Psychology and Aging. 35:1184-1200.


Vaghi M, Moutoussis M, Váša F, Kievit RA, Hauser TU, Vértes PE, Shahar N, Whitaker K, Romero-Garcia R, Kitzbichler MG, Bullmore ET, Dolan RJ (2020). Compulsivity is linked to reduced adolescent development of goal-directed control and fronto-striatal functional connectivity. PNAS. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1922273117.


Bethlehem, Seidlitz, Romero-Garcia, Trakoshis, Dumas, Lombardo (2020). Normative age modelling of cortical thickness in males with autism. Comunication Biology. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01212-9.


Mandal, Romero-Garcia, Hart, Suckling (2020). Genetic, Cellular, and Topological Characterization of Adult Human Brain Regions Commonly Plagued by Glioma. Brain. https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa277.


Seidlitz J, Nadig A, Liu S, Bethlehem RA, Vértes PE, Morgan SE, Váša F, Romero-Garcia R, Lalonde FM, Clasen LS, Blumenthal JD, Paquola C, Bernhardt B, Wagstyl K, Polioudakis D, de la Torre-Ubieta L, Geschwind DH, Han JC, Lee NR, Murphy DG, Bullmore ET, Raznahan A (2020). Transcriptomic and Cellular Decoding of Regional Brain Vulnerability to Neurogenetic Disorders. Nature Communications.11:3358. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17051-5.


Hart M, Romero-Garcia R, Price, SJ, Santarius T, Suckling J (2020). Connections, Tracts, Fractals, and the Rest: a Working Guide to Network and Connectivity Analyses in Neurosurgery. World Neurosurgery. 140:389-400.


Shen C, Luo Q, Chamberlain SR, Morgan S, Romero-Garcia R, Du J, Zhao X, Touchette E, Montplaisir J, Vitaro F, Boivin M, Tremblay RE, Zhao X, Robaey P, Feng J, Sahakian BJ (2020). What is the Link between Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Sleep Disturbance. Biological Psychiatry, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2020.03.010.


Váša F, Romero-Garcia R, Kitzbichler MG, Seidlitz J, Whitaker KJ, Vaghi MM, Kundu P, Patel AX, Fonagy P, Dolan RJ, Jones PB, Goodyer IM; NSPN Consortium, Vértes PE, Bullmore ET (2020). Conservative and disruptive modes of adolescent change in human brain functional connectivity. PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1906144117


Paquola C, Bethlehem RAI, Seidlitz J, Wagstyl K, Romero-Garcia R, Whitaker KJ, Vos De Wael R, Williams GB, NSPN Consortium, Vértes PE, Margulies DS, Bernhardt BC, Bullmore ET (2019). Shifts in myeloarchitecture characterise adolescent development of cortical gradients. eLife, 10.7554/eLife.50482.


Mihalik A, Ferreira F, Rosa M, Moutoussis M, Ziegler G, Monteio J, Portugal L, Adams R, Romero-Garcia R, Vértes P, Kitzbichler M, Váša F, Vaghi M, Bullmore E, Fonagy P, Goodyer I, Jones P, the NSPN Consortium, Dolan R, Mourao-Miranda J (2019). Brain-behaviour modes of covariation in healthy and clinically depressed young people. Scientific Reports, 11536.


Solé-Casals J, Serra-Grabulosa J, Romero-Garcia R, Vilaseca G, Adan A, Vilaró N, Bargalló N, Bullmore E (2019). Structural covariance network in gifted children is more integrated and versatile. Brain Structure and Function, 224:2373-2383.


Li J, Romero-Garcia R, Suckling J, Feng L (2019). Long-term Tea Drinking Modulates Brain Efficiency: Evidence from Brain Connectivity Evaluation. Aging, 11:3876-3890.


Morgan S, Seidlitz J, Whitaker K, Romero-Garcia R, Clifton N, Scarpazza C, Amelsvoort T, Marcelis M, van Os J, Donohoe G, Mothersill D, Corvin A, Pocklington A, Raznahan A, McGuire P, Vértes P, Bullmore E, PSYSCAN Consortium (2019). Cortical patterning of abnormal morphometric similarity in psychosis is associated with brain expression of schizophrenia related genes. PNAS, 116:9604-9609.


Grydeland H, Vertes P, Vasa F, Romero-Garcia R, Whitaker K, Alexander-Bloch A, Bjornerud A, Patel A, Sedervicius D, Tamnes C, Westlye L, White S, Walhovd K, Fjell A, Bullmore E (2018). Waves of maturation and senescence in the life-course of human brain micro-structural MRI markers of cortical myelination. Cerebral Cortex, 29:1369-1381.


Mak E, Bethlehem RAI, Rittman, T, Romero-Garcia R, Cervenka S, Gabel S, Surendranathan A, Bevan-Jones WR, Passamonti L, Vázquez Rodríguez P, Arnold R, Hong YT, Fryer TD, Aigbirhio F, Rowe JB, O’Brien JT (2018). In vivo coupling of tau pathology and cortical thinning in Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dadm.2018.08.005.


Hart M*, Romero-Garcia R*, Price S, Suckling J (2018). Global effects of focal tumours on functional complexity and network robustness. Neurosurgery, 10.1093/neuros/nyy378. *Equally contributed.


Romero-Garcia R, Whitaker KJ, Váša F, Seidlitz J, Shinn M, Fonagy P, Dolan RJ, Jones PB, Goodyer IM; NSPN Consortium, Bullmore ET, Vértes PE (2018). Structural covariance networks are coupled to expression of genes enriched in supragranular layers of the human cortex. Neuroimage, 171:256-267.


Romero-Garcia R*, Warrier V*, Bullmore ET, Baron-Cohen S, Bethlehem RAI (2018). Synaptic and transcriptionally downregulated genes are associated with cortical thickness differences in autism. Molecular Psychiatry, 10.1038/s41380-018-0023-7. *Equally contributed.


Vasa F, Seidlitz J, Romero-Garcia R, Whitaker K, Rosenthal G, Vertes P, Shinn M, Alexander-Bloch A, Fonagy P, Dolan R, Jones P, Goodyer I, The NSPN Consortium, Sporns O, Bullmore E (2017). Adolescent Tuning of Association Cortex in Human Structural Brain Networks. Cerebral cortex, 28:281-294.


Seidlitz J, Váša F, Shinn M, Romero-Garcia R, Whitaker KJ, Vértes PE, Wagstyl K, Kirkpatrick Reardon P, Clasen L, Liu S, Messinger A, Leopold DA, Fonagy P, Dolan RJ, Jones PB, Goodyer IM; NSPN Consortium, Raznahan A, Bullmore ET (2017). Morphometric Similarity Networks Detect Microscale Cortical Organization and Predict Inter-Individual Cognitive Variation. Neuron, 97(1):231-247.e7.


Bethlehem* RAI, Romero-Garcia* R, Mak R, Bullmore ET, Baron-Cohen S (2017). Structural covariance networks in children with autism or ADHD. Cerebral cortex, 27:4267-4276. *Equally contributed.


Shinn M, Romero-Garcia R, Seidlitz J, Váša F, Vértes PE, Bullmore E (2017). Versatility of nodal affiliation to communities. Scientific Reports, 7:4273.


Vértes PE, Rittman T, Whitaker KJ, Romero-Garcia R, Váša F, Kitzbichler M, Fonagy P, Dolan RJ, Jones PB, Goodyer IM, the NSPN Consortium, Bullmore ET (2016). Gene transcription profiles associated with intra-modular and inter-modular hubs in human fMRI networks. Philosophical Transactions B. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0362


Whitaker KJ, Vértes PE, Romero-Garcia R, Váša F, Moutoussis M, Prabhu G, Weiskopf N, Callaghan MF, Wagstyl K, Rittman T, Tait R, Ooi C, Suckling J, Inkster B, Fonagy P, Dolan RJ, Jones PB, Goodyer IM, Bullmore ET (2016). Adolescence is associated with transcriptionally patterned consolidation of the hubs of the human brain connectome. PNAS, 113:9105-10.


Romero-Garcia R, Atienza M, Cantero JL (2016). Different Scales of Cortical Organization are Selectively Targeted in the Progression to Alzheimer's Disease. International Journal of Neural Systems, 26:1650003.


Hart MG, Ypma R, Romero-Garcia R, Price SJ, Suckling J (2016). Graph theory analysis of complex brain networks: new concepts in brain mapping applied to neurosurgery. Journal of Neurosurgery, 124:1665-78.


Romero-Garcia R, Atienza M, Cantero JL (2013). Predictors of coupling between structural and functional cortical networks in normal aging. Human Brain Mapping, DOI:10.1002/hbm.22362.


Romero-Garcia R, Atienza M, Clemmensen LH, Cantero JL (2012). Effects of network resolution on topological properties of human neocortex, Neuroimage, 59: 3522-3532.