The neuroimaging and Modulation Laboratory (NIMLAB) investigates neural correlates of cognition and behavior using neuroimaging methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neuromodulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
We are looking in depth at the contributions of the cerebellum and cerebro-cerebellar circuits to cognition; the effects of chronic heavy alcohol consumption on cognition and brain activation underlying cognitive function; how aging in humans affects neural systems that are important for associative learning and stimulus awareness; and the integration of transcranial magnetic stimulation with functional MRI.
The Peter van Zijl Laboratory focuses on developing new methodologies for using MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to study brain function and physiology. In addition, we are working to understand the basic mechanisms of the MRI signal changes measured during functional MRI (fMRI) tests of the brain. We are also mapping the wiring of the brain (axonal connections between the brains functional regions) and designing new technologies for MRI to follow where cells are migrating and when genes are expressed. A more recent interest is the development of bioorganic biodegradable MRI contrast agents. Our ultimate goal is to transform these technologies into fast methods that are compatible with the time available for multi-modal clinical diagnosis using MRI.
Psychiatric Neuroimaging (PNI) is active in neuropsychiatric research using imaging methods such as MRI, fMRI, PET and DTI to understand the mechanisms and brain networks underlying human cognition. PNI faculty have published hundreds of papers on a variety of brain disorders which include but are not limited to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders. Faculty in the division have been awarded numerous peer-reviewed grants by the National Institutes of Health, foundations and other funding organizations.
The Bigos Lab focuses on a Precision Medicine approach to the treatment of psychiatric illness. In addition, this lab employs functional neuroimaging and genetics as biomarkers in neuropsychiatric drug development. A recent study used functional MRI to test the neural effects of a drug with the potential to treat cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia. Other studies aim to identify patient-specific variables including sex, race, and genetics that impact drug clearance and clinical response to better select and dose antipsychotics and antidepressants.
The studies of the Functional Neurosurgery Lab currently test whether neural activity related to the experimental vigilance and conditioned expectation toward pain can be described by interrelated networks in the brain. These two psychological dimensions play an important role in chronic pain syndromes, but their neuroscience is poorly understood. Our studies of spike trains and LFPs utilize an anatomically focused platform with high temporal resolution, which complements fMRI studies surveying the whole brain at lower resolution. This platform to analyze the oscillatory power of structures in the brain, and functional connections (interactions and synchrony and causal interactions) between these structures based upon signals recorded directly from the waking human brain during surgery for epilepsy and movement disorders, e.g. tremor. Our studies have demonstrated that behaviors related to vigilance and expectation are related to electrical signals from the cortex and subcortical struc...tures.
These projects are based upon the combined expertise of Dr. Nathan Crone in recordings and clinical management of the patients studied; Dr. Anna Korzeniewska in the analyses of signals recorded from the brain; Drs. Claudia Campbell, Luana Colloca and Rick Gracely in the clinical psychology and cognitive neurology of the expectation of pain and chronic pain; Dr. Joel Greenspan in quantitative sensory testing; and Dr. Martin Lindquist in the statistical techniques. Dr. Lenz has conducted studies of this type for more than thirty years with continuous NIH funding.view more
The Veit Stuphorn Laboratory studies the neurophysiological mechanisms that underlie decision making and self-control. We record the activity of single neurons in awake animals that are engaged in decision-making processes. This allows us to identify the types of signals that neurons in specific parts of the brain represent and the computations they carry out. We also study human subjects in the same tasks with the help of fMRI. These parallel experiments provide comparative information about decision processes in human and non-human primates.