Despite great progress in uncovering the complex connectivity patterns of the human brain over the last two decades, the field of connectomics still experiences a bias in its viewpoint of the cerebral cortex. Due to a lack of information regarding exact end points of fiber tracts inside cortical grey matter, the cortex is commonly reduced to a single homogenous unit. Concurrently, substantial developments have been made over the past decade in the use of relaxometry and particularly inversion recovery (IR) imaging for exploring the laminar microstructure of cortical grey matter. In recent years, these developments have culminated in an automated framework for cortical laminar composition analysis and visualization, followed by studies of cortical dyslamination in epilepsy patients and age-related differences in laminar composition in healthy subjects. This perspective summarizes the developments and remaining challenges of multi-T1 weighted imaging of cortical laminar substructure, the current limitations in structural connectomics, and the recent progress in integrating these fields into a new model-based subfield termed ‘laminar connectomics’. In the coming years, we predict an increased use of similar generalizable, data-driven models in connectomics with the purpose of integrating multimodal MRI datasets and providing a more nuanced and detailed characterization of brain connectivity.

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Handling Editor: Alex Fornito

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