NMHI is home to a strong group of neuroscientists who use a variety of imaging techniques to optically record the structure and function of the brain and its resident cells. From studies of excitatory neurotransmitter levels in human patients to calcium imaging in isolated neurons, these techniques allow insight not possible through any other means. Neuroimaging allows our members to watch the brain in action, from molecule to mind.
Powerful regional imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allow researchers to watch the aggregate activity of neuronal networks during complex behaviours, the distribution and concentration of neurotransmitters, monitor blood flow in three dimensions or examine that anatomy or plasticity of neuronal tracts in the intact human brain.
Cellular neuroimaging strategies, such as confocal microscopy, allow scientists to resolve microscopic structures with subcellular resolution or watch the activity of neurons and glial cells with single cell resolution. It can be applied to in-vivo (whole brain, intact animal), ex-vivo (isolated brain tissue) or dissociated brain cells.
NMHI members have access to the world-class Peter S. Allen MR Research Centre, a 100 per cent research dedicated, state-of-the-art facility. It is a home to three full-body MRI systems (1.5T, 3T and 4.7T) and backed by a group of very skilled and enthusiastic imaging professionals. Cellular neuroimaging is facilitated by core facilities in a number of departments and infrastructure in individual labs.
Imaging techniques used:
- Functional imaging of the human brain with fMRI
- Diffusion tensor imaging of white matter tracts in the human brain
- Cerebral perfusion imaging
- MRI of biomarkers and neurotransmitters in the brain
- Widefield epifluorescent and light microscopy for morphological analysis and co-localization studies in brain tissue or cells
- Confocal microscopy in living or fixed tissue
- Multiphoton microscopy in intact brains or ex vivo preparations
- Calcium imaging in intact brains, tissue slices and isolated cells
- Regional blood flow imaging with laser Doppler or laser speckle contrast imaging
- Instrinsic optical signal imaging of sensory maps
- Electron microscopy