Translational Neuroimaging & Neural Control

Brain functions at molecular, cellular and circuit levels

Our ultimate goal is to understand how the brain functions at the molecular, cellular and circuit levels and eventually to gain control of the brain.

The focus of this research group is to identify the primary brain nuclei potentially contributing to the switch of coma to awake states in the rat brain. Genetic tools and electrochemical recordings will be combined with fiber optic imaging and high field fMRI to study the altered brain function from the levels of molecules, to cells, and eventually to neurovascular circuits. We are expecting to translate the knowledge acquired from the rodent brain to lead specific neural control for therapies of coma patients. We will test a central hypothesis that there is a “core switch”, which can be modulated to ameliorate the coma state of the brain. The focus of the research group is to decipher the biological feature of the “core switch”. Small animal fMRI allows us to map the global functional changes from multiple brain nuclei at different states. This provides us critical guide to target the potential candidate brain regions, of which the strategy has been successfully implemented in our previous work. The specific cellular and molecular features of the functional changes detected by fMRI can be further studied by fiber optic/electrochemical recordings with optogenetic tools.

Group News

  • Feb 1st. 2018; New paper published: He, Y., Wang, M., Chen, X., Pohmann, R., Polimeni, J.R., Scheffler, K., Rosen, B.R., Kleinfeld, D., and Yu, X. (2018). Ultra-slow single vessel BOLD and CBV-based fMRI spatiotemporal dynamics and their correlation with neuronal intracellular calcium signals. Neuron 97:1-15
  • Jan 30th. 2018; New paper published: Wang, M., He, Y., Sejnowski, T.J., and Yu, X. (2018). Brain-state dependent astrocyticCa2+ signals are coupled to both positive and negative BOLD-fMRI signals, PNAS, In Press
  • Jan 1st. 2018; Dr. Yu is awarded with a DFG (Sino-Germany joint grant) with Dr. Zhuan Zhou and Dr. Klaus Scheffler.
  • Sep 1st. 2016; Dr Yu is awarded with a DFG grant for "SPP 1665 Resolving and manipulating neuronal networks in the mammalian brain - from correlative to causal analysis"
  • July 19th. 2016; Yi H. gave an oral presentation in the late-breaking topic section at the Gordon Research Conference in vivo magnetic resonance.
  • July 18th. 2016; Dr. Yu gave a talk at MGH:Multimodal fMRI of neuro-glio-vascular dynamics in a rat brainstem coma model
  • Jun. 15th, 2016; Dr. Yuanyuan Jiang joined the group as a postdoc fellow.
  • May 10th, 2016; Dr. Ming Zou joined the group as a visiting scholar.
  • May 5th-15th, 2016; Xuming, Patricia and Yi C. present their work at ISMRM in Singapore.
  • Apr. 1st, 2016; New paper published: Pais-Roldán P, Singh AP, Schulz H and Yu X “High magnetic field induced otolith fusion in the zebrafish larvae Scientific Reports 6, 1-11 (2016)
  • Mar. 15th. 2016; Jan Kevin Schlüsener joined the group as a PhD student
  • Feb. 8th. 2016; New Paper published: Yu X*, He Y, Wang M, Merkle H, Dodd S, Silva A and Koretsky A* "Sensory and optogenetically driven single vessel fMRI." Nature Methods, 13, 337-340 (2016).
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