The long term goal of the proposed research is to develop, validate and disseminate a set of generalizable methods for non-invasive mapping of the spatio-temporal dynamics of functional and structural plastic changes in the primate CNS using MRI. It outlines a strategy for improving MRI methods for measuring CNS plasticity, together with tools that allow the high resolution MRI observations to link changes in local and cellular electrophysiological properties on the one hand, to plastic changes in distributed brain circuits on the other, providing a methodological bridge across scales. The specific tools include optimized, translational, MR approaches for multiscale structural and functional brain imaging and high precision (sub-millimeter) methods for MRI and multi-modality intra- and inter-subject co-registration. The methods will be developed and tested using a well-characterized non-human primate model, and will be validated using """"""""gold standard"""""""" highresolution mapping tools including functional optical imaging of intrinsic signal (OIS), dense array electrode mapping, and tissue histology. With these goals in mind, the proposal's Specific Aims are:
Aim 1) To refine and test the limits of MRI for mapping and characterizing functional and structural plasticity with sub-millimeter resolution in intact animals.
Aim 2) To develop integrated imaging and post-processing tools that allow high precision coregistration of MR images in the same animal longitudinally and across multiple modalities.

Public Health Relevance

The overarching goal of this proposal is to develop, validate and disseminate a set of generalizable methods for non-invasive mapping of functional and structural brain organization at sub-millimeter resolution by MRI. These tools can be used to study the spatio-temporal trajectories of brain re-wiring that are believed to occur in, for example, drug abuse or spinal cord injury. These methods, developed and validated in animal models, can be directly translated to study the same functional and structural changes in the human brain.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Aigner, Thomas G
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Schools of Medicine
United States
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