The UCLA SCOR Neuroimaging and Psychophysiology (NIP) Core is part of the overarching Neuroimaging Core of the Center for Neurobiology of Stress (CNS NIP Core). It includes investigators from different disciplines and with complementary expertise (mathematical modeling, neuroscience, bioengineering, pain psychophysology). The NIP Core will continue to provide a broad range of neuroimaging and psychophysiology measures to SCOR investigators of Projects 1-3. While closely associated with the larger CNS Neuroimaging Core, the NIP Core will be specifically dedicated to studies proposed under the SCOR grant. The NIP Core builds on the success and extensive expertise and infrastructure developed over the past 10 years and recent collaborative associations with the UCLA Laboratory of Neuroimaging (LONl- brain repository and cortical morphometry), and the UCLA Neuro Radiology group (DTI and white matter tract analysis).
Specific aims for the NIP Core include: 1) design and set up of the imaging and psychophysiology protocols, 2) monitoring and ensuring quality control of all data collection for these measures, 3) preprocessing and analysis of imaging and psychophysiology measures, and 4) participation in interpretation and write up of results along with project PIs. It will provide the following protocols and measures: 1) functional MRI (fMRI) measures of brain activity during rest and anticipation of pain, 2) structural MRI assessment of grey matter (cortical thickness and volumetrics) and white matter integrity (DTI), 3) laboratory pain measures of pain sensitivity and heterotropic pain modulation (DNIC), and 4) psychophysiology measures of heart rate variability and pre-pulse modulation of startle. The NIP Core may also serve as a repository and analysis 'hub'for planned inter SCOR imaging studies. The NIP Core has already developed protocols for all the proposed measurements and standardized preprocessing pipelines that facilitate quality control. It also has the statistical expertise for these studies including the analyses for endophenotype discovery in Project 3. The NIP Core Director (J. Labus) is a mathematician with extensive expertise in multiple aspects of imaging analysis and advanced mathematical modeling.
By providing services to all 3 Projects, and potentially to 3 other, collaborating SCORs, the NIP Core will enable the UCLA SCOR to identify important stress mechanisms involved in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Interstitial Cystitis (IC/PBS) and sex differences in these mechanisms. The analyses will help point the way to new approaches for treatment based on understanding of neurovisceral interactions.
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