Our preclinical imaging group employs MRI and MRS tools using a very high field (9.4T) small bore Bruker scanner, electrophysiology, optical imaging and various behavioral tools to a) understand the neurophysiological bases of the BOLD signal, b) develop novel MR imaging tools and c) apply these tools to understand the neurobiological consequences of acute and chronic drug administration. Awake and anesthetized rodent and non-human primate models are employed to study nicotine, cocaine and methamphetamine abuse.
Our human cognitive neuroscience and psychopharmacology group is applying multimodal MRI tools (BOLD signal activation, resting state functional connectivity, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), MR spectroscopy (MRS), EEG, real time fMRI biofeedback, and quantitative morphometry) to examine the biological predisposition towards and acute consequences of addiction. We are also developing novel treatment assessments and interventions using neuroimaging biomarkers.
The technical development group, lead by Yihong Yang, creates and applies novel MRI pulse sequence acquisition methods to better manipulate the MRI environment to create signals of interest. For example, they have pioneered methods for glutamate and GABA MRS and quantitative cerebral blood flow. Additionally, they actively develop novel data analysis methods to better extract biologically relevant information from the MRI signal.