A Diffusion MRI Tractography Connectome of the Mouse Brain and Comparison with Neuronal Tracer Data.

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2015-11

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Abstract

Interest in structural brain connectivity has grown with the understanding that abnormal neural connections may play a role in neurologic and psychiatric diseases. Small animal connectivity mapping techniques are particularly important for identifying aberrant connectivity in disease models. Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging tractography can provide nondestructive, 3D, brain-wide connectivity maps, but has historically been limited by low spatial resolution, low signal-to-noise ratio, and the difficulty in estimating multiple fiber orientations within a single image voxel. Small animal diffusion tractography can be substantially improved through the combination of ex vivo MRI with exogenous contrast agents, advanced diffusion acquisition and reconstruction techniques, and probabilistic fiber tracking. Here, we present a comprehensive, probabilistic tractography connectome of the mouse brain at microscopic resolution, and a comparison of these data with a neuronal tracer-based connectivity data from the Allen Brain Atlas. This work serves as a reference database for future tractography studies in the mouse brain, and demonstrates the fundamental differences between tractography and neuronal tracer data.

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10.1093/cercor/bhv121

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Calabrese, Evan, Alexandra Badea, Gary Cofer, Yi Qi and G Allan Johnson (2015). A Diffusion MRI Tractography Connectome of the Mouse Brain and Comparison with Neuronal Tracer Data. Cereb Cortex, 25(11). pp. 4628–4637. 10.1093/cercor/bhv121 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10325.

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Scholars@Duke

Calabrese

Evan Calabrese

Assistant Professor of Radiology
Badea

Alexandra Badea

Associate Professor in Radiology

I have a joint appointment in Radiology and Neurology and my research focuses on neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. I work on imaging and analysis to provide a comprehensive characterization of the brain. MRI is particularly suitable for brain imaging, and diffusion tensor imaging is an important tool for studying brain microstructure, and the connectivity amongst gray matter regions.  

I am interested in image segmentation, morphometry and shape analysis, as well as in integrating information from MRI with genetics, and behavior. Our approaches  target: 1) phenotyping the neuroanatomy using imaging; 2) uncovering the link between structural and functional changes, the genetic bases, and environmental factors. I am interested in generating methods and tools for comprehensive phenotyping.

We use high-performance cluster computing to accelerate our image analysis. We use compressed sensing image reconstruction, and process large image arrays using deformable registration, perform segmentation based on multiple image contrasts including diffusion tensor imaging, as well as voxel, and graph analysis for connectomics.

At BIAC  my efforts focus on developing multivariate biomarkers and identifying vulnerable networks based on genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease.

My enthusiasm comes from the possibility to extend from single to integrative multivariate and network based analyses to obtain a comprehensive picture of normal development and aging, stages of disease, and the effects of treatments.  I am working on multivariate image analysis and predictive modeling approaches to help better understand early biomarkers for human disease indirectly through mouse models, as well as directly in human studies. 

I am dedicated to supporting an increase in female presence in STEM fields, and love working with students. The Bass Connections teams involve undergraduate students in research, providing them the opportunity to do independent research studies and get involved with the community. These students have for example takes classes such as:

BME 394: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
BME 493: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
ECE 899: Special Readings in Electrical Engineering
NEUROSCI 493: Research Independent Study 1


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