Imaging in vivo neurotransmitter modulation

Principal Investigator: Dean Foster Wong
Johns Hopkins University
Title: Imaging in vivo neurotransmitter modulation of brain network activity in realtime
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

Dr. Wong and colleagues will explore the possibility that newly developed infrared chemical tags may be used for minimally invasive imaging of rapidly changing human brain chemical messenger activity – with greater time resolution.

NIH Webpages

Decoding and Modulation of Human Language

Principal Investigators: Behnaam Aazhang, PhD – Rice and Nitin Tandon, MD - UT Health
Title: Micro-scale Real-time Decoding and Closed-loop Modulation of Human Language
BRAIN Category: Neuroengineering and Brain-inspired concepts and design

The engineering objective is to develop biocompatible microchips to vastly enhance our insight into language and other cognitive processes and learning.

Imaging synaptic activity using super-resolution cannula microscopy

Principal Investigator: Rajesh Menon - Utah Neuroscience
Title: "Imaging synaptic activity deep in the brain using super-resolution cannula microscopy"
BRAIN Category: Neuroengineering and Brain-inspired concepts and design (#1532591)

This project will develop a tool for high-resolution (<100-nm) imaging of synapses in freely moving animals for neuronal studies. It will accomplish this goal by the development and integration of compact and lightweight cannula microscopy with in vitro fluorescence imaging with accompanying technology and methodologies for imaging synapses.

Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI)

Principal Investigator: Lawrence Wald
Neuroscience@Harvard
Title: "Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) for Functional Brain Imaging in Humans"
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

The Wald team plans to use an iron-oxide contrast agent to track blood volume, which will permit dramatically more sensitive imaging of human brain activity than existing methods.

Imaging Brain Function with Portable MRI

Principal Investigator: Michael Garwood
Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Minnesta
Title: "Imaging Brain Function in Real World Environments & Populations with Portable MRI"
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

By employing smaller, less cumbersome magnets than used in existing MRI, Dr. Garwood and colleagues will create a downsized, portable, less expensive brain scanner.

Advancing MRI & MRS Technologies

Principal Investigator: Wei Chen
Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Minnesota
Title: "Advancing MRI & MRS Technologies for Studying Human Brain Function and Energetics"
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

Dr. Chen's team will achieve unprecedented higher resolution magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy scanning by integrating ultra-high dielectric constant material and ultra-high-field techniques.

MRI Neuro-Electro-Magnetic Oscillations

Principal Investigator: Allen W Song
Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Title: "Path Toward MRI with Direct Sensitivity to Neuro-Electro-Magnetic Oscillations"
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

Dr. Song's group will develop a scanner technology sensitive enough to image brain activity in high resolution by directly tuning in the electromagnetic signals broadcast by neurons.

Vascular Interfaces for Brain Imaging

PI: Robert Desimone
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: "Vascular Interfaces for Brain Imaging and Stimulation"
BRAIN category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

Dr. Desimone's project will access the brain through its network of blood vessels to less invasively image, stimulate and monitor electrical and molecular activity than existing methods.

Ultrasonic neuromodulation in vivo

PI: Doris Ying Tsao
California Institute of Technology
Title: "Dissecting human brain circuits in vivo using ultrasonic neuromodulation"
BRAIN category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

In rodents, monkeys and eventually humans, Dr. Tsao's team will explore use of non-invasive, high resolution ultrasound to impact neural activity deep in the brain and modify behavior.

Micro-Dose, Wearable PET Brain Imager

Principal Investigator: Julie Brefczynski-Lewis
WVU Center for Neuroscience
Title: Imaging the Brain in Motion: The Ambulatory Micro-Dose, Wearable PET Brain Imager
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

Dr. Brefczynski-Lewis and co-workers will engineer a wearable PET scanner that images activity of the human brain in motion – for example, while taking a walk in the park.

Nontoxic transsynaptic tracing

Principal Investigator: Ian Wickersham
MIT Neuroscience
Title: "Novel technologies for nontoxic transsynaptic tracing"
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Dr. Wickersham and colleagues will develop nontoxic viral tracers to assist in the study of neural circuitry underlying complex behaviors.

Activity measurement at single cell

Principal Investigator: Craig Forest
Georgia Institute of Technology
Title: "In-vivo circuit activity measurement at single cell, sub-threshold resolution"
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Dr. Forest's team will use a newly developed robot guided technique to measure precise changes in electrical activity from individual neurons that are connected over long distances across the brain, to understand how these connections change when our brains go into different states, such as sleeping and waking.

Calcium sensors for molecular fMRI

PI: Alan Jasanoff
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: "Calcium sensors for molecular fMRI"
BRAIN category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Jasanoff's team will synthesize calcium-sensing contrast agents that will allow functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to reveal activity of individual brain cells

Next generation imaging in vivo

Principal Investigator: Elly Nedivi
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyTitle: "Next generation high-throughput random access imaging, in vivo"
BRAIN category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Nedivi's team proposes a new imaging technology to simultaneously record activity at each of the thousands of synapses, or communication points, on a single neuron.

Circuitry Underlying Memory replay

Principal Investigator: Ivan Soltesz
UC Irvine Neuroscience
Title: "Towards a Complete Description of the Circuitry Underlying Memory replay"
BRAIN Category: Understanding Neural Circuits (RFA NS-14-009)

Dr. Soltesz's team will combine computer brain modeling and large-scale recordings of hundreds of neurons to understand how the brain generates sharp-wave-ripples, a neuronal activity pattern essential for learning and memory.

Optimization of 3-photon microscopy

Principal Investigator: Chris Xu
Cornell University
Title: "Optimization of 3-photon microscopy for Large Scale Recording in Mouse Brain"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Xu and his collaborators will build new lasers and lenses to use three-photon microscopy to watch neuronal activity far deeper inside the brain than currently possible.

Protein-based Voltage Probes

Principal Investigator: Vincent Allen Pieribone
Yale Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program
Title: "Development of Protein-based Voltage Probes"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Pieribone and his team will optimize fluorescent voltage probe technology, to allow scientists to measure the activity of thousands of neurons using only a camera and a microscope.

Protein voltage sensor imaging in vivo

Principal Investigator: Mark J Schnitzer
Stanford Neuroscience
Title: "Protein voltage sensors: kilohertz imaging of neural dynamics in behaving animals"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Schnitzer and his team have created a new system for developing optical voltage sensors, which will allow scientists to simultaneously record firing of large groups of neurons or electrical activity in precise locations inside of neurons, such as synapses.

Multi-area two-photon microscopy

Principal Investigator: Fritjof Helmchen
Zurich Brain Research Institute
Title: "Multi-area two-photon microscopy for revealing long-distance communication between multiple local brain circuits"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation – Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Helmchen and his colleagues propose a system to simultaneously record neuronal activity in four different areas of the neocortex and discover how brain cells in different regions interact during specific behaviors.

Electrophysiological Recording and Control

Principal Investigator: Albert Baldwin Goodell
Graymatter Research
Title: "Large-Scale Electrophysiological Recording and Optogenetic Control System"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - Optimization (RFA NS-14-008)

Dr. Goodell and his colleagues aim to develop optrodes, which are implantable columns of lights and wires for simultaneous electrical recording of neurons and delivery of light flashes to multiple brain areas.

High-Density Recording Microelectrodes

PI: Tim Gardner, Laboratory of neural circuit formation
Institution: Boston University (Charles River Campus)
Title: "High-Density Recording and Stimulating Microelectrodes"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Gardner and his colleagues will develop ultrathin electrodes that minimize tissue damage and are designed for long-term recording of neural electrical activity.

Modular nanophotonic probes

Principal Investigator: Michael Roukes
Caltech Neuroscience
Title: "Modular nanophotonic probes for dense neural recording at single-cell resolution"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Roukes and his team propose to build ultra-dense, light-emitting and -sensing probes for optogenetics, which could simultaneously record the electrical activity of thousands of neurons in any given region of the brain.

Diamond Electrodes for Measurement

Principal Investigator: Kendall H Lee
Mayo Clinic Rochester
Title: "Neurotransmitter Absolute Concentration Determination with Diamond Electrode"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Kendall and his colleagues will develop diamond-coated electrodes to measure concentrations of the brain chemical dopamine more accurately and over long periods of time in the brain.

Genetic sensors for biogenic amines

Principal Investigator: Lin Tian
UC Davis Neuroscience
Title: " Genetically encoded sensors for the biogenic amines: watching neuromodulation in action"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Tian and her colleagues will create sensors that will allow researchers to see how molecules like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin regulate activity of neural circuits and behavior in living animals.

Modular systems measuring brain activity

Principal Investigator: Loren M Frank
Sandler Neurosciences Center, UC San Francisco
Title: " Modular systems for measuring and manipulating brain activity"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Frank and his colleagues will engineer a next-generation, all-in-one neural recording and stimulating system, which can simultaneously monitor thousands of neurons in the brain for several months while also delivering drugs, light or electrical pulses.

Deep Photoacoustic Tomography

Principal Investigator: Lihong Wang
Washington University
Title: "Fast High-Resolution Deep Photoacoustic Tomography of Action Potentials in Brains"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Wang and his collaborators will test a way to image the electrical activity of neurons deep inside the brain, using a variation on ultrasound imaging he invented called photoacoustic tomography.

Genetically encoded reporters

Principal Investigator: Kit S. Lam
UC Davis Center for Neuroscience
Title: "Genetically encoded reporters of integrated neural activity for functional mapping of neural circuitry"
BRAIN Category: Large-Scale Recording-Modulation - New Technologies (RFA NS-14-007)

Dr. Lam's team plans to develop fluorescent sensors that will mark ion channels, molecules that help control information flow in the brain, and enable scientists to observe the neurons that are activated during a specific behavior, such as running.

NIH Webpages

MRI Corticography (MRCoG)

Principal Investigator: David Alan Feinberg
Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
Title: "MRI Corticography (MRCoG): Micro-scale Human Cortical Imaging"
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

To image the activity and connections of the brain's cortex on a micro scale – with dramatically higher resolution than existing scanners – Dr. Feinberg's group will employ high sensitivity MRI coils that focus exclusively on the brain's surface.

Mapping neuronal chloride microdomains

Principal Investigator: Kevin J. Staley
Neuroscience@Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital
Title: "Mapping neuronal chloride microdomains"
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Using protein engineering technology to monitor the movement of chloride through inhibitory neurotransmitter receptor channels, Dr. Staley's group aims to understand the role of chloride microdomains in memory.

Genetic Sparse Labeling Mammalian Neuron

Principal Investigator: X. William Yang
UCLA Neuroscience
Title: "Novel Genetic Strategy for Sparse Labeling and Manipulation of Mammalian Neurons"
BRAIN Category: Tools for Cells and Circuits (RFA MH-14-216)

Dr. Yang's team will develop a new way to genetically target specific neurons, incorporating streamlined imaging and mapping methods that will enable the detection of sparse populations of cells that often elude existing methods.

Cortical circuits and information flow

Principal Investigator: Mriganka Sur
MIT Neuroscience
Title: "Cortical circuits and information flow during memory-guided perceptual decisions"
BRAIN Category:

Dr. Sur and his team will combine a number of cutting-edge, large-scale imaging and computational techniques to determine the exact brain circuits involved in generating short term memories that influence decisions.

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