Allen Institute:

The NIMH Transcriptional Atlas of Human Brain Development is designed as a foundational resource for studying transcriptional mechanisms involved in human brain development. A series of imaging and/or histological reference atlases are being generated for each developmental stage to provide a neurodevelopmental and anatomical context for interpreting the transcriptome data. These atlases consist of high resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), multi-direction diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and/or histological digital annotated reference atlases.

LCN member responsibilities include the acquisition and initial analysis of the MRI and DTI data for this collaborative project. Images are acquired at 200um and 500um with 7T and 3T MR scanners, respectively. These data and tools are designed to provide a valuable public resource for researchers, educators and medical communities for relating specific transcriptional programs to processes of normal human brain development and to facilitate translational research into human neurological disease.

The resource is the outcome of an ARRA-funded grant through the National Institutes of Health to a consortium consisting of the Allen Institute for Brain Science; Yale University; the University of Southern California; Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging; and University of California, Los Angeles with strong collaborative support from the Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program. (more info)


Neuroprosthetic / BrainGate:

A long-term goal of the BrainGate research team is to create a system that, quite literally, turns thought into action – and is useful to people with neurologic disease or injury, or limb loss. Currently, the system consists of a “sensor” (a device implanted in the brain that records signals directly related to imagined limb movement); a “decoder” (a set of computers and embedded software that turns the brain signals into a useful command for an external device); and, the external device – which could be a standard computer desktop or other communication device, a powered wheelchair, a prosthetic or robotic limb, or, in the future, a functional electrical stimulation device that can move paralyzed limbs directly. LCN members are helping to determine the exact location and efficacy of implanted sensors in BrainGate trial patients using various structural MRI methods and techniques. (more info) (video)


Medial Temporal Lobe Localization:

This research project focuses on developing new methods to visualize the cytoarchitecture and neuropathology of medial temporal lobe areas in the human brain. Medial temporal lobe areas are critical for long term memory formation and are severely affected with neurofibrillary tangles and plaques in Alzheimer's Disease. We have been using ultra-high resolution ex vivo MRI samples to characterize and quantify cytoarchitectural features in entorinhal cortex(EC), perirhinal cortex(PC), and hippocampal formation. The results so far indicate that EC and PC can be localized quite accurately based on cortical folding patterns, within 3 mm in vivo, a significant step forward in our ability to detect the earliest effects of AD when clinical intervention is most likely to be effective.