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Brain Measurement Core


Core Director:
Aysenil Belger, Ph.D.
Director, Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory

Co-Director:
Franck Polleux, Ph.D.
Director, Confocal and Multiphoton Imaging Facility 

Staff:
Gary Long
Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory Network Manager

Core Functions

The primary objective of the Brain Measurement Core of the IDDRC is to provide centralized support and services to the pre-clinical and clinical projects utilizing image acquisition and image processing technology for quantitative measurements of structural MRI (SMRI), functional MR (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), ultrasound in human neuroimaging; and, multiphoton/confocal microscopy data of mouse or cellular models relevant to neurodevelopmental disorders. The core provides access to and training on well-established and validated neuroimaging methods and develops new methods and modifications of existing state-of-the-art image acquisition and analysis methods. More specifically, the Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory and Confocal and Multiphoton Imaging Facility provide expertise and support for:

  • experimental protocol development
  • imaging data acquisition
  • storing and archiving of clinical study image data
  • maintenance of imaging databases
  • assistance and training with imaging data processing
  • development of novel imaging data analysis tools
  • quality assurance of image acquisition protocols
  • data transfer of image data to the image analysis lab
  • two- and three-dimensional segmentation to obtain quantitative measurements
  • rigorous validation and quality control of processing with intra- and inter-rater studies.

The combination of the processing of volumetric images from multiphoton/confocal microscopy and from human neuroimaging in one core will make it possible to apply appropriate state-of-the-art image processing technology to various types of imaging data as well as to provide a broader intellectual environment for exchange of ideas regarding issues in brain development and function. The core laboratories provide access to equipment, technologies and training that would be prohibitively expensive for an investigator to possess in an individual laboratory.

Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory

Core Director: 
Aysenil Belger, Ph.D.
Director, Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory

Core Faculty:

  • Martin Styner, Ph.D., Associate Director, Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory
  • Guido Gerig, Ph.D.
    Core Faculty, Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory
  • Weili Lin, Ph.D.
    Department of Radiology, UNC Chapel Hill
  • Gregory McCarthy, Ph.D.
    Director, Duke-UNC Brain Imaging and Analysis Center
  • James MacFall, Ph.D.
    Department of Radiology, Duke University
  • Allen Song, Ph.D.
    Associate Director, Duke-UNC Brain Imaging and Analysis Center

Staff: 
Gary Long
Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory Network Manager

Core Functions

Brain imaging has become an important and indispensable tool for the non-invasive analysis of human brain function and structure. In particular, MRI is especially well suited for the study of children because it is non-invasive, does not involve radiation and therefore can be repeated within short periods of time, thus enabling longitudinal investigations. Despite its clear advantages for studying developmental populations, both functional (fMRI and diffusion tensor imaging) and structural MRI studies require extremely expensive instrumentation and a dedicated scientific infrastructure including personnel and equipment. Successful completion of neuroimaging studies require considerable skill, training and experience at all stages -- from design to implementation to analysis. For example, functional imaging studies require:

  1. the selection of the appropriate task for exploring a particular domain of cognition, or for probing the integrity of a particular cortical circuitry. They also require the adaptation of the task design to the highly restricted experimental environment of the scanner, without compromising the validity of the task. In addition, successful fMRI study designs also require
  2. the selection of the appropriate imaging protocol and sequence for optimum imaging data acquisition. Implementation of fMRI studies with developmental or disabled populations in particular requires a tremendous amount of experience and familiarity with issues such as habituation to the confining and extremely loud scanner environment. Furthermore, fMRI studies also require
  3. the selection and execution of multiple steps of imaging data analysis to produce reliable and replicable results. Once the data is acquired and analyzed, successful fMRI studies require
  4. careful management and storage of the image data to ensure integrity and accessibility. Finally, all fMRI studies require
  5. skilled analysis and informed interpretation of the results in light of the latest findings reported in the literature. Structural and diffusion tensor imaging studies pose similar design and implementation challenges, that require support from highly skilled and well trained personnel as well as access to expensive tools and equipment.

The Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory provides consultation and support for all these stages of design and implementation of neuroimaging studies, and provides access to well-established methods for the acquisition and analysis of MR data in the context of the EKSIDDRC projects involving these assessments. The DNL is also responsible for the development of novel neuroimaging methods to insure the most technologically advanced and efficient data acquisition parameters that would also address particular challenges posed by studying immature of developing neural systems.


Additional Information


http://www.niral.unc.edu
http://www.nirl.unc.edu

Membership and Access Information

To be considered for membership in the CIDD and to gain access to core resources in the EKSIDDRC, please visit the Membership and Access Information page.

Membership and Access Information


Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory Contact Information

Telephone:  (919) 966-1648
FAX:  (919) 966-9172

Campus Address:
Campus Box 7160
UNC-CH
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Electronic mail: 
Aysenil Belger, aysenil_belger@med.unc.edu

Confocal and Multiphoton Imaging Facility

Co-Director, Laboratory Director:: 
Franck Polleux, Ph.D.
Director, Confocal and Multiphoton Imaging Facility

Core Faculty: 
Robert E. Peterson, Ph.D.
Confocal and Multiphoton Imaging Facility Director

Core Functions

The Confocal and Multiphoton Imaging Facility provides support for high-resolution live imaging of inter and intracellular developmental and regenerative events in slices of neural tissue, multi- labeled cells or whole animals. This facility will be essential to advance the research efforts of the current center members in new directions and foster collaborative interactions between investigators studying related events in the developing or mature nervous system.

While a conventional confocal microscope can be used for high-resolution imaging of fluorescent labeling in fixed tissue, rapid photobleaching of the fluorescent label and the associated phototoxicity (excited fluorescent dye molecules generate toxic free-radicals) renders it less useful for imaging of intact living tissues over long periods. Two-Photon Microscopy greatly reduces these problems (Lichtman and Fraser, 2001). This device depends on the 2-photon effect, by which a chromophore is excited not by a single photon of visible light, but by two lower-energy (infrared) photons that are absorbed contemporaneously (within 1 femtosecond). Only those dye molecules very near the focus of the beam are excited. The tissue above and below the plane of focus is merely subjected to infrared light that causes neither photobleaching nor phototoxicity. The mean power of the beam is only a few tens of milliwatts, not enough to cause substantial heating of the specimen. Furthermore, when images of optical sections that are deep within a light-scattering sample are obtained using conventional confocal microscopy, the fluorescence signal is attenuated by light scatter. Some fluorescence originating from regions away from the point being instantaneously illuminated will be scattered such that this fluorescence will pass through the confocal pinhole thereby increasing background. Confocal imaging therefore suffers a deterioration in signal-to-background when obtaining images from deep within a tissue sample. Multiphoton imaging is largely immune from these effects as little fluorescence is generated away from the point of illumination and all detected fluorescence photons may be used for imaging regardless of whether they have been scattered or not.

For more information or to proceed to the booking calendar, please visit the website maintained by this facility.

Membership and Access Information

To be considered for membership in the CIDD and to gain access to core resources in the EKSIDDRC, please visit the Membership and Access Information page.

Membership and Access Information

Confocal and Multiphoton Imaging Facility Contact Information

Telephone:  (919) 966-5807
FAX:  (919) 966-9605

Campus Address:
Campus Box 7250
UNC-CH
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Electronic mail: 
Robert E. Peterson, peterson@med.unc.edu



CIDD Electrophysiological Research Lab


Core Director:
Aysenil Belger, Ph.D.
Director, Developmental Neuroimaging Laboratory

EEG Manager:
Alana Campbell, Ph.D.

EEG Staff:
Anna Evans

The mission of the CIDD Electrophysiology Research Lab is to provide research affiliates with a state-of-the art electrophysiology laboratory.
Services range from assisting with the design of experiments and the creation and delivery of stimuli for electrophysiology studies to training of investigators and their assistants in sensor net application, data recording, artifact removal, and data analysis.

Consultation regarding the advantages and disadvantages of different ERP analysis methods, and the development of new methods for EEG/ERP analysis is provided.

CIDD Developmental Electrophysiology Laboratory
Equipment and Software

Equipment at site 1

Location: 101 Manning Dr. Medical Wing D, Room 383, Chapel Hill
- One Electrical Geodesic Dense Array EEG Net Amplifier 300
This system allows for high-density EEG measurement up to 256 channels with a minimum of preparation time and without the need for skin preparation, hence, the usual, unpleasant scratching of the scalp after the electrode paste is applied can be omitted. These attributes make it a perfect choice for high density EEG in infant/pediatric populations.

- Four 128-Channel HydroCel Geodesic Sensor Nets (37-38cm, 44-47cm, 47-51cm, 51-54cm)
The HydroCel Geodesic Sensor net's elastic tension structure and electrolyte based application allows for quick application with a 15 minute set-up. The unique soft pedestal design of the HydroCel Skin Interface Chamber creates a sealed microenvironment, hydrating the skin and creating an interface between the skin and electrode. The HydroCel Geodesic Sensor Net's guarantees complete head coverage with attention to both appropriate inter-sensor distance and coverage of the underside of the head. The small inter-sensor distances translate to a more accurate measurement of the voltage field and coverage under the head allows for more accurate dipole source reconstruction.

- Net Station Acquisition Review and Analysis Software Subscription Coverage (1 license for 2 years)
Net Station is a complete software package for working with electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potential (ERP) data.

- Geosource source estimation software (1 license for 2 years)
GeoSource is a set of tools to model the neural sources of the brain’s electrical fields measured with the electroencephalogram (EEG) at the head surface

- Acquisition CPU with a 27-inch Cinema Display
MacPro quad Core, 2.66GHz, 3GB RAM, Mac OS 10.6.3

- Stimulus presentation CPU, with two 17-inch LCD monitors
Dell Optiplex 780 duo Core, 2.93GHz, 2GB RAM, Window XP OS

- E-Prime 2.0 software license (2 single user licenses)
E-Prime is a suite of software applications for computerized experimental design, data collection, and analysis. E-Prime provides millisecond precision timing to ensure the accuracy of stimulus presentation

- High-end Sound Blaster X-Fi soundcard for fast and reliable auditory stimulus presentation

- Experiment control hardware
Hospital grade isolation transformer, microphone, serial response box, video splitter and switch, E-Prime extensions for Net Station, response pad, fire wire enabled video camera, wireless intercom.

- Audio-Video Device (for independent measurement of millisecond timing accuracy)

- Large selection of infant/toddler toys

Equipment at site 2
Location: 101 Renee Lynne Court, Room 114, Carrboro
- One Electrical Geodesic Dense Array EEG Net Amplifier 300
This system allows for high-density EEG measurement with a minimum of preparation time and without the need for skin preparation, hence, the usual, unpleasant scratching of the scalp after the electrode paste is applied can be omitted. These attributes make it a perfect choice for high density EEG in infant/pediatric populations.

- Five 128-Channel HydroCel Geodesic Sensor Nets (38-40cm, 40-42cm, 42-43cm, 43-44cm, 56-58cm)
The HydroCel Geodesic Sensor net's elastic tension structure and electrolyte based application allows for quick application with a 15 minute set-up. The unique soft pedestal design of the HydroCel Skin Interface Chamber creates a sealed microenvironment, hydrating the skin and creating an interface between the skin and electrode. The HydroCel Geodesic Sensor Net's guarantees complete head coverage with attention to both appropriate inter-sensor distance and coverage of the underside of the head. The small inter-sensor distances translate to a more accurate measurement of the voltage field and coverage under the head allows for more accurate dipole source reconstruction.

- Net Station Acquisition Review and Analysis Software Subscription Coverage (2 licenses for 2 years)
Net Station is a complete software package for working with electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potential (ERP) data.

- Acquisition CPU with a 24-inch Cinema Display
MacPro quad Core, 2.66GHz, 3GB RAM, Mac OS 10.6.3

- Stimulus presentation CPU, with two 17-inch LCD monitors
Dell Optiplex 780 duo Core, 2.93GHz, 2GB RAM, Windows XP OS

- E-Prime 2.0 software license (2 single user licenses)

- High-end Sound Blaster X-Fi soundcard for fast and reliable auditory stimulus presentation

- Experiment control hardware
Hospital grade isolation transformer, microphone, serial response box, video splitter and switch, E-Prime extensions for Net Station, response pad

- Audio-Video Device (for independent measurement of millisecond timing accuracy)

- One NeuroScan SynAmps RT Amplifier system
SynAmps RT is a 70 channel amplifier system, consisting of 64 monopolar, 4 bipolar, and 2 high-level input channels (for receiving voltage outputs from other equipment). Each channel has a dedicated 24 bit A-to-D converter, to ensure the most accurate sampling available. SynAmps RT is a DC amplifier, allowing the recording of slow potentials without high pass filtering. Sampling rate can be up to 20,000Hz (synchronized across all channels) which allows for recording of the fastest activity such as ABRs (maximum low pass filter is 3500Hz).

- Active license for SCAN 4.5 Software for Neuroscan systems
SCAN 4 .5 is a complete software package and can process EEG, ERP, EMG, skin conductance, and heart rate data.

- Acquisition CPU with a 15-inch monitor
Dell Optiplex 990 with Intel Core processor i7-2600, 4GB RAM 3.40 GHz, Windows OS

- Stimulus presentation CPU, with 12-inch (outside booth) and 27-inch (inside booth) LCD monitors
Dell Optiplex 990 with Intel Core Processor i5-2400, 4 GB RAM, 3.10GHz, Windows OS

- E-Prime 1.1 software license
E-Prime is a suite of software applications for computerized experimental design, data collection, and analysis. E-Prime provides millisecond precision timing to ensure the accuracy of stimulus presentation

- Experiment control hardware
Hospital grade isolation transformer, video splitter and switch, E-Prime extensions for Tobii, Infra-red camera connected to TV monitor (used for active streaming of audio and video with no recording devices attached)

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