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

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

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The role of microglial lysosomes in selective neuronal vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the nervous system constructs internal models of the external world
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the orchestra of movement—functional role of striatal astrocytes in health and disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…