Research — Neurology


Beau Ances, MD
2nd Floor, Storz Building
Neuroimaging of Neurodegenerative Disorders. Students can work in a neuroimaging laboratory that is focused on translational discovery of neuroimaging biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases. The laboratory focuses on the pathogenesis of HIV dementia and Alzhiemer’s disease. We are investigating the effects of neurodegenerative diseases on brain networks using blood oxygen level dependent imaging and arterial spin labeling. Multiple projects that involve bioengineering, neuroimaging, and infectious disease are available depending on the interest of the student.

Randall Bateman, MD
304 Biotechnology Center
Central Nervous System protein metabolism in aging and dementia. This research elective will expose the student to translational research in the study of Alzheimers disease. The student will participate in multiple areas of the research including participant consent, enrollment, and admission to a research hospital unit. Lumbar catheter placement and CSF sample collection will be demonstrated. The student will participate in sample analysis including processing for mass spectrometry quantitation, ELISA, and western gel methods. Quantiation, analysis and modeling of the data will be taught in the context of data interpretation and study design.

Maurizio Corbetta, MD
4525 East Building, Room 2127
The elective will provide the opportunity to learn about neuroimaging (Structural MRI, functional MRI, Diffusion MRI, Functional Connectivity MRI), behavior methods (reaction times; psychophysics; eye movement recordings), and their application to cognitive neuroscience, and investigations of brain injury (stroke, TBI) and recovery of function. A 3-month project will involve typically a well-defined data analysis project on available data either neuroimaging or behavioral, while a longer rotation may provide the opportunity for a more substantial project that can lay the foundation for a training or fellowship. Experience in programming (C++, Matlab) is desirable for neuroimaging projects.

Anne H. Cross, MD, and Laura Piccio, MD, PhD
3rd Floor, McMillan
314-747-4591 or 314-747-0405
Understanding interactions of the immune system with the central nervous system as it relates to multiple sclerosis and other neuroimmunological disorders. Our goal is to understand how immune cells cross the blood-brain barrier and initiate the cascade of events leading to lesions of multiple sclerosis. We are also funded to study the effects of diet and adipokines on neuro-inflammation. Depending upon the time commitment of the student and their individual interests and goals, they will either assist with ongoing projects, or be given a laboratory project on which to work. Projects may involve animal models for MS, cell culture or studies of human samples (CSF, blood, autopsied specimens).
Interested students should contact Dr. Cross ( or Dr. Piccio ( several weeks in advance before signing up for this research to allow for sufficient planning.

Robert T. Naismith, MD
310B McMillan
Clinical Imaging Research in Multiple Sclerosis (8 weeks). The student will learn about neuroimaging, imaging analyses, data collection, data management, and clinical study endpoints in multiple sclerosis (MS). They will observe patient participants undergoing a detailed evaluation of disability measures, such as ambulation, symptom scales, cognition, vision, upper extremity function, etc. They will witness the entire process of image acquisition, processing, analyses, and data extraction. They will have the opportunity to interact with many people who are vital to the research, including research coordinators, imaging technologists, imaging physicists/chemists, and specialized research clinicians (i.e. neurocognitive and physical therapy research specialists).

The student will assist with hands-on clinical investigative research. They will gain an excellent appreciation of MS, from its pathophysiology within the central nervous system, to how it affect the neurological function of individuals. Through detailed and quantitative imaging analysis, the student will become very adept at analyzing brain MRI scans. They will marks and track lesions, determine their effects on clinical function, normal appearing white matter, cortex and gray-matter structures. They will become familiar with Amira Imaging Analysis Software, SPSS Statistical Analysis Software, SIENA Volume Analysis Software, and Matlab Imaging Analysis Software.

Steven E. Petersen, PhD
2108 East Building
This lab is interested in brain organization and function, particularly for language, attention, and memory. Our main approaches to these issue is through functional MRI and large-scale network analysis.

Joel S. Perlmutter, MD
2nd Floor East Building
Pathophysiology of Movement Disorders. The lab is primarily interested in etiology, pathophysiology and treatment of basal ganglia disorders. We have several studies of PD. We investigate mechanisms of action of deep brain stimulation, a dramatic new treatment. These studies combine PET, cognitive testing and quantified measures of movement. We also test new drugs that might rescue injured nigrostriatal neurons (a model of PD). For these, we use PET to measure dopamine pathways and also quantify motor behavior. We also have an active program developing and validation neuroimaging biomarkers for PD and integrity of the nigrostriatal pathway that includes studies in people and animal models of PD. We have an active program combining a variety of approaches to develop biomarkers and investigate the pathophysiology of dementia associated with PD. We use PET to measure radioligand binding and sensorimotor processing in dystonia. We developed a new animal model of dystonia to investigate pharmacologic and physiologic changes. We use PET to investigate drug-mediated pathways in the brain and parse out the effects of selective dopaminergic agonists. We also are working to develop MR-based methods including DTI and resting state functional connectivity to investigate brain mechanisms underlying PD and dystonia.

Brad A. Racette, MD
9th Floor, McMillan
Our lab is primarily interested in environmental risk factors associated with Parkinson disease. We use a variety of techniques to study these risk factors, including traditional field epidemiology in which we evaluate workers exposed to metals in the US and residents living near a smelter in South Africa, neuroimaging where we study the pathophysiology of toxin mediated parkinsonism, geographic information systems research where we associate environmental toxin exposures with incident and prevalent Parkinson disease in the US and Finland, and neuropathologic studies in manganese exposed workers from South Africa. There are numerous opportunities available for students to be involved with any of these projects. Students will have some clinical exposure, as well, to familiarize them with pertinent clinical syndrome.

Marcus E. Raichle, MD
Neuro Imaging Laboratory – 2nd Floor, East Building
In vivo brain hemodynamic, metabolic and functional studies of human cognition and emotion using cyclotron-produced isotopes and emission tomography (PET) as well as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in humans. See also Steven E. Petersen, PhD.

Gregory Wu, MD, PhD
3rd Floor, McMillan
Understanding how immune responses are generated that target the central nervous system.  Specifically, studies on antigen presentation cell contributions to autoimmune animal models of multiple sclerosis. Our goal is to understand what cellular interactions are critical to the development of immune-mediated demyelination.