Over the last three decades, there has been unprecedented progress in the study of the brain. State-of-the-art brain imaging has allowed a first-time glimpse into the structure, functioning, and connectivity of the human and animal brain in both healthy and disease states—findings of broad relevance across medical research and clinical programs.
The Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute (TMII) and The Friedman Brain Institute are working to accelerate use of these cutting-edge imaging tools to further research into the workings of the brain. One of these tools, the Advanced Neuroimaging Research Program (ANRP) Program focuses on development of novel imaging technologies and their application to diagnosis, treatment and surgical planning for a wide range of diseases, including epilepsy, brain tumors, psychiatric illnesses, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. Current areas of research and clinical focus include:
Research Areas of Focus:
- RF pulse and pulse sequence design as well as specialized hardware solutions such as parallel transmission.
- Ultrahigh field (7 Tesla) multi-modal technical development and application to neurological diseases such as epilepsy, brain tumors and psychiatric illnesses.
- 7T parallel transmit body coil development and testing.
- Fast and reliable MR techniques for functional and structural assessment of spinal cord and optic nerve.
- Better MR methods for imaging brain stem and spinal cord at ultra-high field.
- Image analysis software approaches to integrate functional and structural connectivity using DTI, DSI and fMRI.
- Development and application of advanced neuroimaging and functional MRI (fMRI) techniques towards the study of healthy and pathological brain function.
- The in vivo characterization of neurobiological processes and the development of clinical neuroimaging biomarkers of neuropsychiatric disease using a collaborative approach.
- Development of diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), in particular, high-resolution DWI.
Clinical Areas of Focus:
- Improved localization of epileptogenic foci to aid in epilepsy treatment and surgical planning.
- Imaging to reveal the neurobiology of depression.
- Development of imaging methods and techniques to better guide neurosurgical resection of brain tumors, for applications in neurological disorders and the study of neuropsychiatric diseases.
- planning of deep brain stimulation surgery to treat conditions such as Parkinson's disease, dystonia, and depression.
Areas of established or evolving strength in research platforms:
- Ultrahigh field neuroimaging
- Spine Imaging
- Neuroimaging for surgical guidance
- Imaging to identify the brain/heart connection
- RF pulse and pulse sequence development
- Multimodal neuroimaging (structural, functional and spectroscopic
- Imaging to reveal disease mechanisms and biomarkers
Priti Balchandani, PhD, Associate Professor of Radiology and Neuroscience, and ANRP’s chief, envisions a growing number of ANRP-affiliated laboratories, spanning multiple departments in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, with shared interests that cross both departmental and institutional lines. For our investigators, as well as those collaborating research institutions, we can provide a standardized and well characterized set of the brain scans, pipelined with a common protocol for pre-processing and analysis. The availability of established and expertly supported modalities for high-resolution brain imaging across research areas of interest will provide reliable, relatable information about brain morphology, function, and microstructure, as well as information about resting-based and task-based functional connectivity in healthy brains and brains affected by disease.