Structural Brain Imaging

Characterizing subtle changes in brain morphometry and tissue integrity is a primary goal of our research. Our morphometry work, in collaboration with Dr. Bruce Fischl utilizes advanced MRI data acquisition and analysis procedures to create computerized models of the cerebral cortex as well as subcortical structures throughout the brain. These models allow the assessment of brain changes in individuals with neurodegenerative disease, and these results could potentially be used in the early detection of that disease in other individuals. Such early detection is a critical component of therapies that aim to halt degeneration of brain tissue prior to the point where significant damage has already occurred. In addition to morphometry studies, we utilize diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to measure brain tissue integrity and how this is altered with disease.

Functional Brain Imaging

A secondary technique in our laboratory is the measurement of brain activity through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). These techniques allow us to measure networks of neural processing with the performance of different cognitive tasks that engage different brain regions. Understanding changes in these patterns of brain activation in patient populations can be useful towards understanding the cognitive and physiological consequences of neurodegenerative changes and can be utilized in the tracking of therapeutic procedures.