Institute for Translational Neuroscience

The University of Minnesta's Institute for Translational Neuroscience (ITN) grew out of the Presidential Initiative on Brain Function across the Lifespan.

The Institute is not a brick and mortar entity but an umbrella organization. The Institute's main goal has been to retain and recruit neuroscience researchers who exemplify the institute's mission to make discoveries through team work. The Institute's second goal is to foster and encourage collaboration amongst the scholars, researchers and centers.

Imaging Brain Function with Portable MRI

Principal Investigator: Michael Garwood
Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Minnesta
Title: "Imaging Brain Function in Real World Environments & Populations with Portable MRI"
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

By employing smaller, less cumbersome magnets than used in existing MRI, Dr. Garwood and colleagues will create a downsized, portable, less expensive brain scanner.

Advancing MRI & MRS Technologies

Principal Investigator: Wei Chen
Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Minnesota
Title: "Advancing MRI & MRS Technologies for Studying Human Brain Function and Energetics"
BRAIN Category: Next Generation Human Imaging (RFA MH-14-217)

Dr. Chen's team will achieve unprecedented higher resolution magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy scanning by integrating ultra-high dielectric constant material and ultra-high-field techniques.

Mind-controlled quadcopter

"Mind-controlled quadcopter demonstrates new possibilities for disabled people"
Science Nation – April 2, 2014

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), biomedical engineer Bin He and his team at the University of Minnesota have created a brain-computer interface with the goal of helping people with disabilities. Participants wear an electro-encephalography, or EEG, cap with 64 electrodes. When the participant thinks about a specific movement, neurons in his or her brain's motor cortex produce tiny electric signals, which are sent to a computer.

Kamil Ugurbil, PhD – Minnesota

Professor of Medicine, Neurosciences and Radiology and Director, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR)
Member of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director

Within the CMRR, Dr. Ugurbil and his team have built a center with unique instrumentation and expertise that allows scientists to examine living tissues in great detail. Using noninvasive, high-powered magnetic scans, they can view the inside of human and nonhuman animal bodies. Ugurbil and his colleagues have helped lead the Human Connectome Project

Bin He, PhD – University of Minnesota

Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Chair for Engineering in Medicine; Director, Institute for Engineering in Medicine; and Director, Center for Neuroengineering
Member of Multi-Council Working Group (NCCAM council)

Dr. Bin He's major research interests are in the field of neuroengineering and biomedical imaging. Together with his co-workers, he has made significant contributions to the development of electrophysiological functional imaging, multimodal imaging, cardiac electric imaging, and neuroengineering.

Advances in mind-controlled machines

Mind-controlled machines have the potential to help people with limited physical control. NSF grantee and biomedical engineer Bin He talks about advances in brain-machine interface technology and the big challenges in brain research.

NSF BRAIN Initiative
Published APRIL 2, 2014

Mind Over Mechanics

Using a brain-computer interface technology pioneered by University of Minnesota biomedical engineering professor Bin He, several young people have learned to use their thoughts to steer a flying robot around a gym.

The technology may someday allow people robbed of speech and mobility by neurodegenerative diseases to regain function by controlling artificial limbs, wheelchairs, or other devices. And it's completely noninvasive: Brain waves (EEG) are picked up by the electrodes of an EEG cap on the scalp, not a chip implanted in the brain.

Michael Garwood, PhD – Minnesota

Professor, University of Minnesota
Center for Magnetic Resonance Research

Garwood focus has been on developing cutting-edge MRI and MR spectroscopy techniques and on exploiting them in studies of tissue function, metabolism, and microstructure. An emphasis has been on identifying and validating quantitative metrics to assess normal and disease states non-invasively with imaging, and on applying them to learn about metabolism, hemodynamics, and tissue micro-environment.

Center for Magnetic Resonance Research – Minnesota

Director: Kamil Ugurbil
Institute for Translational Neuroscience, University of Minnesota

Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) focuses on development of unique magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and spectroscopy methodologies and instrumentation for the acquisition of structural, functional, and biochemical information non-invasively in humans, and utilizing this capability to investigate organ function in health and disease. The distinctive feature of CMMR is the emphasis on ultrahigh magnetic fields (7 Tesla and above).

Wei Chen, PhD – Minnesota

Professor, Departments of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota
Faculty, Center for Magnetic Resonance Research

Chen's research focuses on development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/spectroscopy (MRS) methodologies and technologies for noninvasively studying cellular metabolism, bioenergetics, function and dysfunction of the brain and other organs. He has been a principal investigator for a large number of NIH RO1 grants, served as grant reviewer for many funding organizations and editorial boards for imaging journals.

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