Our lab is interested in understanding how blood is supplied to the brain during health and disease. We use advanced optical techniques and genetic targeting strategies to visualize and manipulate blood flow at the level of the smallest arterioles, venules and capillaries of the brain. The goal is to determine how anomalies in blood flow at the microvascular level affect brain function and repair after injury. Our current research is driven by three main questions.

1) What microvascular changes occur in the chronic stages of stroke, and how do those changes affect neuronal rewiring during rehabilitation?

2) What vascular dysfunctions are involved in cognitive impairment during dementia, and can we advance imaging techniques to detect them in humans?

3) How is cortical blood flow is regulated by the electrical, ionic and modulatory activity of the underlying neurons and nonneuronal cells?

Our research is expected to advance our understanding and treatment of vascular diseases in human subjects including stroke and vascular dementia. It is also expected to impact measurement of brain function and detection of microvascular lesions by non-invasive imaging techniques such as MRI.

magnified vessels

Zooming in on cerebral blood vessels in the rat brain. Left, a whole rat brain with vasculature filled with a fluorescent dextran dye. Middle, in vivo view of blood vessels through a cranial window. Arterioles are red and venules are blue. Right, a high-resolution in vivo view of penetrating arterioles and penetrating venules