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FIP Postdoc Seminar Awardee: Non-invasive deep-brain functional imaging is on going

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Wednesday, March 06, 2024
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Dr. Nanchao Wang, Postdoctoral Researcher, Biomedical Engineering, Duke University

Optical techniques, such as confocal or multiphoton microscopes, provide detailed insights into cellular and molecular structures with precision. However, their limited depth penetration poses challenges for non-invasive deep-brain imaging, hindering a comprehensive understanding of complex neural activities. In contrast, ultrasound (US) transcends tissue barriers where light encounters obstacles, bypassing photon-scattering effects that hinder optical imaging. Additionally, photoacoustic (PA) or optoacoustic imaging merges light-induced excitation with ultrasound detection to image specific brain molecules, enabling targeted visualization of hemodynamics and oxygenation. Yet, the skull's interference remains a significant hurdle, attenuating acoustic wave and disrupting acoustic wave propagation in transcranial imaging. Our ongoing focus involves advancing technologies based on US and PA modalities, aiming to explore deeper into the complexities of brain vasculature, blood flow dynamics, and hemoglobin quantitative behavior. Addressing challenges like skull attenuation and acoustic wave distortion, we've devised strategies to minimize these effects. Our newer iterations of imaging techniques integrate innovative methods, promising enhanced depth, speed, and high-resolution functional imaging capabilities. These advancements hold potential for more comprehensive visualizations of deep-brain activities, paving the way for a deeper understanding of neural functionality. We are making an ongoing effort to overcome limitations in non-invasive deep-brain functional imaging, potentially offering valuable insights into the intricate workings of the brain's inner mechanisms.

Contact: August Burns