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New horizons in preclinical MRI: Workshop Summary

New horizons in preclinical MRI: Cambridge Neuroscience Interdisciplinary Workshop Summary

The workshop was well attended, with more than 60 participants from across the University and beyond. Professor Angela Roberts gave a short overview of the new 9.4T preclinical MRI scanner to be installed in the Translational Neuroimaging laboratory under development on the West Cambridge Site, adjacent to the marmoset research facility. The laboratory will be able to house up to 1200 mice, 240 rats or a combination of the two and is due to open in 2017.  Dr Stephen Sawiak reviewed some current imaging projects in Cambridge: morphological and metabolic phenotyping of transgenic mouse models of neurological disease, localised measurements of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in spontaneously impulsive rats and introduced a new initiative to image the developing marmoset in infancy and adolescence, with the aim to relate the development of neural circuits to the onset of mental disorders. Professor Ed Bullmore then introduced comparative connectomics, the quantitative study of cross-species commonalities and variations in brain network topology that aims to discover general principles of network architecture and the identification of species-specific features of brain connectivity

Dr Aneurin Kennerley from Sheffield University gave an overview of their facility and discussed how optical imaging could be combined with MRI to elucidate the mechanisms of neurovascular coupling. Dr James Bourne, from Monash University, Australia, showed how diffusion-tensor imaging could be combined with lesion experiments to determine pathways in the marmoset visual system. Dr Rogier Mars gave an account of his experiments with macaque brains, looking at comparative connectivity profiles between macaques and humans and explained how this was being extended to other small animal brains with the eventual aim to relate these to species specific behaviours. The workshop was closed by Professor Mark Lythgoe who gave an entertaining summary of his unconventional route into science and setting up the Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging at UCL. He gave an account of new methodology, including convection imaging, photoacoustic imaging and studies of the so-called “glymphatic” system: an emerging view of how CSF is transported in a set of dedicated pathways alongside brain vascular for waste clearing in the brain which he suggested may be dysfunctional in Alzheimer’s patients.

Discussion was fruitful and a consensus emerged that greater cooperation between preclinical imaging sites was a vital part of its future success including exploring the opportunity for joint funding applications.

'New horizons in preclinical MRI' was organized by Professor Angela Roberts, Dr Stephen Sawiak and Dr Dervila Glynn.

The next workshop, ‘The Inflamed Brain’, will take place on June 21st 2016 at Corpus Christi College with Professor Alasdair Coles – registration will open soon. If you have a proposal for an interdisciplinary workshop that you would like to host with Cambridge Neuroscience, please get in touch with Dr Dervila Glynn.

Posted on 28/04/2016

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