The specific acquisition desired in this application is an MRI-compatible integrated NIRS/EEG system to allow the characterization of the neurovascular coupling in humans. The proposed system will be utilized in combination with existing 3T scanners located within the University of Minnesota's Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), and will be used as a critical resource for several NIH funded projects. This request is based on the fact that functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has evolved to become an indispensable part of contemporary basic and clinical biomedical research, central to discoveries in a large number of disciplines. However, interpreting fMRI signals as surrogates of neuronal activity is inherently challenged by the differences that might exist among subject populations or interventions in the neurovascular couplings that lead to the fMRI signals themselves. This problem is particularly relevant whenever microvascular complications are to be expected, for instance in conditions such as diabetes, stroke or aging. In order to fully exploit the impact of fMRI in clinical research, it is thus pivotal to complement th fMRI studies with other imaging modalities that allow an independent and robust assessment of the neurovascular coupling. The EEG/NIRS system fulfills this expectation, as it allows the measurement of neuronal electrical signals, and simultaneously provides quantification the amount of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood with a time resolution that are not achievable with MRI. CMRR is an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary laboratory that provides unique instrumentation, expertise, and infrastructure to enable the faculty, trainees and staff at UMinn and other institutions to carry out basic biomedical, translational and clinical research utilizing the capabilities of very high magnetic fields. The center is also expanding towards the establishment of a multi-modal clinical imaging center, and it already includes a Human PET/CT system, a Quad Head SPECT camera and Micro PET/CT for pre-clinical work on animal models. The proposed MRI-compatible integrated NIRS/EEG system will further amplify the scope of the fMRI studies being conducted at CMRR, thus optimizing the new knowledge we will gain from such studies.

Public Health Relevance

Functional Magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is one of the most powerful tools in the armamentarium of techniques employed to understand how the brain works in health and disease. However, fMRI measures brain activity only indirectly, and the interpretation of fMRI findings is challenged whenever alterations of the neurovascular coupling cannot be excluded. In order to fully exploit the impact of fMRI in clinical research, it is pivota to complement the fMRI studies with other imaging modalities such as EEG and NIRS, which allow an independent and robust assessment of the neurovascular coupling. The proposed request will fund a significant improvement to the research capabilities available to multiple investigator of the University of Minnesota.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
Biomedical Research Support Shared Instrumentation Grants (S10)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Levy, Abraham
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Biomedical Engineering
Biomed Engr/Col Engr/Engr Sta
United States
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