The Neuroimaging Core (NI) provides access to state-of-the art neuroimaging facilities and methodologies. COBRE funds will support a Bioengineer (shared with the BSTIM Core) who will oversee the technical aspects and develop new methods to interface image acquisition with stimulation and rehabilitation techniques; a full- time Image Technician who will provide training and assistance for analysis and interpretation of complex measurements; partial effort of an EEG Technician who will provide guidance in techniques for high density EEG and assist with data analyses; and dedicated effort for senior faculty who will provide mentoring and training in rigor, reproducibility and interpretation as well as methods development for human and animal studies.
Specific aims are to: (1) Provide COBRE investigators with turnkey access to modern neuroimaging tools to investigate stroke-recovery related changes in brain morphology, connectivity, metabolism and function; (2) Develop innovative tools to observe the detailed neural response (both short- and long-term) to diverse interventions; 3) Generate high quality, reproducible, quantitative data to help identify neuroimaging ?biomarkers? and thereby become a leader in forming large multi-system quantitative data sets for inclusion in the COBRE Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Database (CMD) as well as national and international data sharing efforts; and 4) Mentor and train COBRE investigators in the acquisition and analysis of complex neuroimaging data so they can investigate and exploit inherent plasticity and develop and translate novel mechanism-based, experience-dependent interventional methods. Continuous progress toward these aims will establish the NI Core as a premier resource in the integration of neuroimaging into stroke rehabilitation studies at MUSC, as well as nationally and internationally. The NI Core will facilitate investigators? access to structural and functional imaging methods such as blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), arterial spin labeling (ASL), and high density electroencephalography (EEG), enabling them to ask important research questions such as tissue volume associated with the stroke and adaptive plasticity, stroke pathology, correlates of basal metabolism, local estimates of cellular complexity, regional responses to localized brain stimulation and corresponding functional responses. The NI Core?s multimodal, cross-disciplinary, integrative nature encourages collaborative innovation. The ability to use transcranial magnetic stimulation within the scanner (i.e., interleaved TMS/fMRI) makes MUSC one of very few places where investigators can directly examine immediate and longer- term effects of brain stimulation interventions on brain activity and hemodynamics, and investigate the causal nature of induced activity in cortical and subcortical nodes of a brain network. In addition, 7T small animal scanning and two-photon microscopy systems provide sensitive translational tools to investigate mechanisms underlying rehabilitation and cortical stimulation enhancement of neural plasticity and stroke recovery in animal models.
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