Global Brain Dynamics
We have developed a novel platform for controlling spatially and genetically defined neurons in vivo, while simultaneously visualizing global brain dynamics with fMRI. Using this technique, which we call optogenetic fMRI (ofMRI), we have begun to characterize the functional connectivity of several brain structures and their implications in disease. For example, we are currently investigating the contribution of regions such as the hippocampus and thalamus to epileptic behavior. We have also begun to visualize stem cell-driven regeneration of the central nervous system, which has implications for pathologies such as spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.