Imaging: New MRI Method to Assess Neural Activity in Real Time by Lei Wang

Development of a Calcium-Sensitive MRI Probe for Neural Activity
2010 Seed Grant
Lei Wang, Ph.D.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Northwestern University

Dr. Wang proposes a new collaboration between chemists, biomedical and electrical engineers and neuroscientists to develop a MRI contrast method that directly assesses neural activity in real time. This new method is made possible by the recent development of novel chemical compounds designed to be exquisitely sensitive to changes in Ca2+ levels that mimic those seen in living animals. These compounds will enable us to directly measure changes in Ca2+ levels in living mammalian brain. This proposal would fund the first studies in mammalian brain of an MRI contrast agent that is able to detect changes in Ca2+ levels in specific brain regions that occur when an injury disrupts the normal pattern of neuronal firing.

Other Grants

Rebekah C. Evans, Ph.D., Georgetown University
In Vivo and Ex Vivo Dissection of Midbrain Neuron Activity During Exercise
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William J. Giardino, Ph.D. Stanford University
Deciphering the Neuropeptide Circuitry of Emotional Arousal in Narcolepsy
This research project aims to investigate the neural mechanisms of a specific type of brain cell called neuropeptide neurons within a region of the brain’s amygdala network called the bed…
Howard Gritton, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Attention Mechanisms Contributing to Auditory Spatial Processing.
Our world is composed of a rich mixture of sounds. We often process sounds including speech in the presence of many other competing auditory stimuli (e.g., voices in a crowded…
Nora Kory, Ph.D., Harvard University
Elucidating the Fates and Functions of Lactate in the Brain
The human brain requires significant energy to function. Despite accounting for only 2% of our body weight, the brain consumes a substantial 20% of the body’s energy, relying on a…