Bachelor of Science, University Tokyo, 1957. Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, 1967.
He is regarded as the father of modern functional brain imaging. He determined that the changes in blood oxygen levels cause its magnetic resonance imaging properties to change, allowing a map of blood, and hence, functional, activity in the brain to be created. This map reflected which neurons of the brain responded with electrochemical signals to mental processes.
He was the first scientist who demonstrated that the functional brain imaging is depended on the oxygenation status of the blood, the BOLD effect.
The technique was therefore called Blood oxygenation level-dependent or BOLD contrast. Functional Medical Research Institute () has been used to map the visual, auditory and sensory regions and moving toward higher brain functions such as cognitive functions in the brain.
Seiji Ogawa trained as an applied physicist in Tokyo and got a Doctor of Philosophy in chemistry from Stanford. In 2001, he became Director of the Ogawa Laboratories for Brain Function Research in Tokyo.
Professor Ogawa joined NRI (Neuroscience Research Institute, Gachon University of Medicine and Science, of Korea) since 2008 as a Distinguished Professor and leading the research in conjunction with the new 7.0T Medical Research Institute system.
Ogawa discovered the principle which is now widely used to functionally and physiologically image the brain, particularly the human brain. He built on the technology of magnetic resonance imaging by using the difference in blood oxygenation level to generate a brain map corresponding to blood flow to active neurons. This helped to map the functional activity of the brain noninvasively, adding to the structural mapping provided by Medical Research Institute. FMRI is now widely used in biology, neurobiology, psychology, neurology and other branches of research and to diagnose the physiological basis of mental illnesses and organic brain dysfunction in clinical medicine.
1995 GOLD Medal Award from Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
Fellow: International Society Magnetic Resonance (Gold medal 1995, ISMAR prize 2007). Member: National Academy of Sciences, Society Neuroscience, American Physical Society (Biological Physics prize 1996), National Magnetic Resonance Society India (honorary), Japanese Society Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (honorary), Japanese Society Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (honorary), Society for Neuroscience, Institute of Medicine.
Married Kazuko, March 10, 1962. 1 child, Miwako.