Several projects within IMARK focus on measuring brain function (e.g. FDG-PET, receptor-PET, fMRI, arterial spin labelling MRI, etc.) and visualization of large-scale brain circuitries (rs fMRI) upon stimulation.
To this end, various type of neuromodulation approaches can be applied to validate the neuro-imaging methods:
- pharmacological activation of specific receptors/circuitries
- optogenetics approaches (photo-stimulation of pre-engineered brain targets)
- electrical deep brain stimulation (invasive)
- transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS (non-invasive)
Although TMS has been FDA-approved for the treatment of therapy-resistant depression, setting-up the protocols in patients is based on trial-and-error and we lack understanding about the mechanisms of action of TMS. Recently, MICA developed together with the company MagVenture a pre-clinical TMS coil for rats which can in combination with molecular imaging bridge the gap between the neuro-biological effect of TMS and the pathophysiology of a CNS disease. More information on this project is provided in the hardware device submenu or via following video.