Work in the Courtney Robertson Lab is focused on identifying interventions that could minimize the neurological deficits that can persist after pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI). One study used a preclinical model to examine potential disruption of mitochondrial function and alterations in cerebral metabolism. It was found that a substantial amount of mitochondrial dysfunction is present in the first six hours after TBI. In addition, we are using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to evaluate global and regional alterations in brain metabolism after TBI. We're also collaborating with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania to compare mitochondrial function after head injury in different clinically relevant models.
The Penet lab is within the Division of Cancer Imaging Research in the Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. The lab research focuses on using multimodal imaging techniques to better understand the microenvironment and improve cancer early detection, especially in ovarian cancer. By combining MRI, MRS and optical imaging, we are studying the tumor microenvironment to understand the role of hypoxia, tumor vascularization, macromolecular transport and tumor metabolism in tumor progression, metastasis and ascites formation in orthotopic models of cancer. We also are studying the role of tumor-associated macrophages in tumor progression.
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.
We are exploring whether anodal tDCS when administered in combination with spelling, naming, or working memory therapy can improve language performance of PPA and MCI participants at least in the short term more than behavioral therapy alone. We are also investigating whether and how tDCS alters the neuropeptide signature in participants with PPA and MCI. We use proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) to monitor neuropeptide concentrations at the areas of stimulation. We hypothesize that tDCS will stabilize the decline of specific neuropeptides, but only in those areas of the brain where tDCS effectively results in more efficient gains in language compared to language therapy alone (with sham tDCS). Study results may help optimize future intervention in individuals with PPA and MCI by providing treatment alternatives in a neurodegenerative condition with no proven effective treatment. A better understanding of the therapeutic and neuromodulatory effects of tDCS in PPA and MCI w...ill offer insight into ways of impeding neurodegeneration that may improve quality of life for individuals with PPA and MCI and may provide insights into the mechanisms of this treatment for augmenting therapy for stroke as well.view more