Our ultimate goal is to
develop translational neuroscience research at
all levels. One goal of the CTN is to
effectively translate new knowledge, mechanisms,
and techniques generated by advances in basic
science research into new approaches for
prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of
disease. We have been very successful in this
T1 aim. A second goal (T2) is to improve
access, coordinate systems of care, and help
clinicians and patients make more informed
choices, providing point-of-care decision
support tools, and strengthening the patient
physician relationship. Both goals are aimed at
improving the health of our citizens. We
currently support laboratory research
(molecular, cellular, organ), pre-clinical
research, are beginning to study medical and
behavioral outcomes, and have solid experience
in community based research and outreach.
Human Electrophysiology Core: We
needed to be able to measure the effects of illness, lesion, drugs, etc. on
different levels of the neuraxis in humans. Therefore, we established the
capacity for recording the midlatency auditory P50 evoked potential, whose
amplitude is a measure of level of arousal and thus assesses brainstem-thalamus
processes (5). The use of paired auditory stimuli allows us to measure
habituation to repetitive stimulation, or sensory gating, a process disturbed in
a number of diseases (5). We also developed the capacity to measure reaction
time (RT) using a Psychomotor Vigilance Task (6) to derive the prototypical
measure of attention and thalamocortical processes (7). We developed the
capacity to measure frontal lobe blood flow using near infrared spectroscopy,
which provides an economical indicator for the use of more expensive methods
such as PET. We have a clinical EEG machine with electrode cap, along with
MatLab software. We established a satellite facility for spinal reflex testing
in spinal cord injury and other patient populations.
Animal Electrophysiology Core: This
Core includes the rodent equivalent of the human P50 potential, the midlatency
auditory P13 evoked potential (8), allowing parallel human and animal studies.
A separate room contains an animal reflex testing set-up to allow parallel
studies on humans and animal with spinal cord injury and other motor disorders.
We set up multiple patch-clamp rigs with immersion and interface chambers, and a
full surgical facility is also part of this Core. We have expanded our
capabilities to include voltage-sensitive dye and calcium imaging at high speed
and at high resolution.
Image Analysis Core: This Core has a
confocal microscope and morphometric analysis software, along with multizoom,
and fluorescence microscopy capability, and a fully equipped and staffed
histology laboratory for histochemical and immunocytochemical labeling.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Core:
This Core allows testing of TMS on a number of conditions. As the equipment
aged, we upgraded the human facility and used the older equipment to develop our
capacity to use TMS on animals in the Animal Electrophysiology Core.
Molecular Biology Core: This Core
includes a RT-PCR and multi-gene assay capacity, along with a state-of-the-art
metabolic cage system.
Behavioral Core: The Core is based
in the Pharmacology department under Dr. Fantegrossi's direction. It includes
chambers for assessing, in rats and mice, locomotion, conditioned place
preference, and prepulse inhibition. A new Noldus EthoVision system was added
for video tracking and activity measures, while a CatWalk system was purchased
for gait analysis and detailed locomotion analyses.
Telemedicine Core: This Core
includes real-time teleconferencing and diagnostic quality imaging equipment for
20 rural hospitals and a central Mediasite facility. Weekly telemedicine
conferences on perinatology allow our community of health care personnel,
including physicians, nurses and therapists, to participate live, to gain
continuing medical education (CME) credit, and to help develop therapeutic and
other guidelines. The program is called Pediatric Physician Learning and
Collaborative (Peds PLACE) program. Consultations follow the educational
conferences and help form collaborative relationships, provide better care for
rural and underserved populations, and lead to more organized transfers and
referrals. A second program links 9 existing Emergency Department sites with 6
new ones in a program called Emergency Department Physician Learning and
Collaborative Education (EDs PLACE).