The three goals of the DCAN Lab’s various animal model studies are:
- To refine the procedures and perform high quality anatomical and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) in rodents utilizing the ultra-high field 12T MRI system at OHSU’s Advanced Imaging Research Center (AIRC).
- To assess whether brain imaging data relate to behavioral phenotypes in these rodent models.
- To determine the changes in brain connectivity induced by exogenous drugs (e.g. methamphetamine, cannabis, interleukin-6).
Types of Studies
Our monkey studies are being conducted on rhesus macaque monkeys in collaboration with the Oregon National Primate Research Center. The goals of the monkey studies broadly are to investigate the role of the prenatal environment on neurodevelopment. A current monkey study in our lab examines the role of prenatal inflammation, as induced by the consumption of a Western-style diet by the mother, on the development of sensory processing disorders in offspring. This research includes:
- Evaluating the offspring behavior
- Exploring neuroinflammation via immunofluorescent staining of microglia
- Looking at changes in cortical thickness, amygdala volume, and connectivity over time with resting-state functional connectivity MRI
One focus of the rodent team is the integration of resting-state functional connectivity MRI with optogenetic methods, leveraging the precise manipulation of neuronal circuits afforded by optogenetics to facilitate the analysis of functional connectivity in rodent brains. In addition, many of the team’s projects utilize MRI in conjunction with other imaging modalities, including in vivo calcium imaging and microPET/CT.