The COBRE Neuroimaging and E lectrophysiology Facility (NIEF) will provide state-of-the-art instrumentation and support to Center for Neuroplasticity investigators and the Iarger UPR biomedical research community. For the past 20 years, the University of Puerto Rico, has strengthened research quality in an effort to facilitate a transition towards competitive scientific research projects. We propose to expand these efforts by establishing a facility equipped with modern imaging and el ectrophysiology instrumentation, This desire is driven by the increasing importance that imaging and electrophysiology data has gained in the field neuroplasticity. The first step (Specific Aim 1) will be to update and upgrade the Institute of Neurobiology Neuroimaging Facility to create the NIEF. The NIEF will provide users the capability to study neuroplasticity by taking advantage of the state of the art instrumentation. The second step (Specific Aim 2) will be to integrate imaging and electrophysiological applications. Of key importance will be to provide the N lEF the sensitivity to detect fluorescence emissions from diverse biological preparations while performing confocal microscopy and/or two photon microscopy and to enable electrophysiological measurements to be per formed simultaneously. Recent research provides an example of the power of coupling patch clamp electrophysiology techniques with ratiometric calcium imaging. In addition, the equipment to be purchased will allow users to perform fluorescence emission studies and realtime live imaging experiments. The third step (Specific Aim 3) in the creation of the NIEF will be to increase the equipment flexibility and detection sensitivity for fluorescence-based applications. Of key importance to this aim will be the introduction of complex multilabeling experiments using emission fingerprinting and automatic tuning of two photon lasers. Fulfillment of these objectives enable the COBRE NIEF to provide training opportunities for students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty in imaging techniques for the study of biological preparations. The NIEF will be a completely self-sustained neuroimaging research facility and a role model for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
This Neuroimaging and Electrophysiology Facility will play an integral part in advancing the research objectives of the COBRE Center for Neuroplasticity. It will thereby facilitate the COBRE to create an innovative state-of-the-art neuroscience research center at the University of Puerto Rico.
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