Localization of Metal Electrodes in the Intact Rat Brain Using Registration of 3D Microcomputed Tomography Images to a Magnetic Resonance Histology Atlas.


Simultaneous neural recordings taken from multiple areas of the rodent brain are garnering growing interest due to the insight they can provide about spatially distributed neural circuitry. The promise of such recordings has inspired great progress in methods for surgically implanting large numbers of metal electrodes into intact rodent brains. However, methods for localizing the precise location of these electrodes have remained severely lacking. Traditional histological techniques that require slicing and staining of physical brain tissue are cumbersome, and become increasingly impractical as the number of implanted electrodes increases. Here we solve these problems by describing a method that registers 3-D computerized tomography (CT) images of intact rat brains implanted with metal electrode bundles to a Magnetic Resonance Imaging Histology (MRH) Atlas. Our method allows accurate visualization of each electrode bundle's trajectory and location without removing the electrodes from the brain or surgically implanting external markers. In addition, unlike physical brain slices, once the 3D images of the electrode bundles and the MRH atlas are registered, it is possible to verify electrode placements from many angles by "re-slicing" the images along different planes of view. Further, our method can be fully automated and easily scaled to applications with large numbers of specimens. Our digital imaging approach to efficiently localizing metal electrodes offers a substantial addition to currently available methods, which, in turn, may help accelerate the rate at which insights are gleaned from rodent network neuroscience.






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Publication Info

Borg, Jana Schaich, Mai-Anh Vu, Cristian Badea, Alexandra Badea, G Allan Johnson and Kafui Dzirasa (2015). Localization of Metal Electrodes in the Intact Rat Brain Using Registration of 3D Microcomputed Tomography Images to a Magnetic Resonance Histology Atlas. eNeuro, 2(4). 10.1523/ENEURO.0017-15.2015 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10327.

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Cristian Tudorel Badea

Professor in Radiology

  • Our lab's research focus lies primarily in developing novel quantitative imaging systems, reconstruction algorithms and analysis methods.  My major expertise is in preclinical CT.
  • Currently, we are particularly interested in developing novel strategies for spectral CT imaging using nanoparticle-based contrast agents for theranostics (i.e. therapy and diagnostics).
  • We are also engaged in developing new approaches for multidimensional CT image reconstruction suitable to address difficult undersampling cases in cardiac and spectral CT (dual energy and photon counting) using compressed sensing and/or deep learning.


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


G. Allan Johnson

Charles E. Putman University Distinguished Professor of Radiology

Dr. Johnson is the Charles E. Putman University Professor of Radiology, Professor of Physics, and Biomedical Engineering, and Director of the Duke Center for In Vivo Microscopy (CIVM). The CIVM is an NIH/NIBIB national Biomedical Technology Resource Center with a mission to develop novel technologies for preclinical imaging (basic sciences) and apply the technologies to critical biomedical questions. Dr. Johnson was one of the first researchers to bring Paul Lauterbur's vision of magnetic resonance (MR) microscopy to practice as described in his paper, "Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging at microscopic resolution" (J Magn Reson 68:129-137, 1986). Dr. Johnson is involved in both the engineering physics required to extend the resolution of MR imaging and in a broad range of applications in the basic sciences.


Kafui Dzirasa

A. Eugene and Marie Washington Presidential Distinguished Professor

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