Research Overview

The Hoglund Brain Imaging Center (HBIC) brings together a unique combination of neuroimaging technologies under one roof. By providing an environment where basic and clinical neuroscientists can work together to integrate structural and functional approaches to the assessment of the brain in both health and disease, HBIC functions as a regional resource engaged in activities at the forefront of neuroscientific endeavors. HBIC brings together scientists from diverse disciplines such as Neurology, Neurosurgery, Radiology, Physiology, Psychiatry, Psychology, Physics, Engineering, Computing, Biochemistry, and Anatomy together in a highly collaborative and integrative environment to exploit new technologies for the study of the central nervous system.

HBIC technologies are primarily focused on research studies at basic and clinical translational levels.

HBIC Imaging Capabilities

The Hoglund Brain Imaging Center recently competed successfully for a $2.88 million High End Instrumentation grant from the National Institutes of Health to purchase a new magnetic resonance imaging system. It is the largest grant received for a single piece of equipment at KU Medical Center in the past decade. The scanner has now been fully installed, optimized  and is taking new studies.

The new 3T Siemens Skyra MRI system has the ability to scan the full body. This provides an opportunity to expand the center's current focus on the brain to include research on the heart and spine, as well as on other parts of the body. It produces data of higher quality, as it includes technological improvements unavailable in older MRI scanner models. This whole body MRI scanner is capable of high resolution structural and functional MRI, MR spectroscopy, and diffusion and perfusion imaging and will expand imaging capabilities on the existing 3T Siemens Allegra head-only MRI system.

Complementing this human system is a 9.4T Varian MRI system for animal studies.

HBIC is presently one of the few facilities in the world with capabilities for whole-cortex adult magnetoencephalography (MEG) and high-density fetal MEG under one roof. The center has a 151-channel whole-head adult unit with capabilities for simultaneous recording of 156 channels of EEG. In a separate magnetically shielded room, there is an 83 channel high-density custom-designed unit which can be used for fetal MEG and MCG studies. This unit can also be used for investigation of cardiac and gastrointestinal physiology.

Research discoveries

Within the past ten years since it was established, critical discoveries have been made and facilitated by Hoglund Brain Imaging Center in regard to diseases and medical conditions and concerns. These findings are being investigated with great vigor through larger clinical trials to determine their impact on public health. These include:

Babies: Prenatal studies focus on developmental programming and could have a significant impact on the long-term health of future generations. We have shown that life-style choices during pregnancy contributes to improved nervous system development in babies, which can be detected before birth.

Obesity: Functional MRI is helping us understand how brain function contributes to diet success. This research could positively impact the lives of the two-thirds of Americans who are overweight or obese.

Smoking: Using fMRI, we have shown that smokers are more sensitive to psychological punishment than non-smokers. Moreover, this sensitivity increases with cigarette craving. We are investigating whether relieving this punishment, by behavioral strategies such as exercise, can help in quitting smoking.

Children and marketing: When shown food logos, obese children showed significantly less brain activation than the healthy-weight children in regions associated with cognitive control, providing evidence that obese children may be more vulnerable to the effects of food advertising.

Consumer behavior: Using advanced functional MRI, we learn how people make decisions on controversial food technologies as artificial growth hormones or cloned food products. Results predict how a consumer chooses between lower price and avoiding these technologies.

Alzheimer's disease: Scans show that exercise has a positive effect on brain decline in Alzheimer's disease, which currently affects an estimated 5.3 million Americans.

Multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, or diabetes: Anti-oxidant levels are lower in patients with multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, or diabetes, suggesting elevated oxidative stress.

Brain cancers: Noninvasive brain imaging measures of molecules that are essential in cancer metabolism allow us to monitor tumor growth and survival as well as to evaluate treatment efficacy in order to develop new treatment options.

Stroke: Sophisticated imaging tools can identify patients who might respond to intensive rehabilitation following stroke.

Traumatic brain injury: Imaging tools can be used to demonstrate efficacy of new drug treatments in animal models and in human survivors of traumatic brain injury.

 Discoveries such as these stand to make a lasting and positive difference in human health.

HBIC Impact on grant applications

The impact of the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center on the regional research landscape is immense. Its presence has led to academic collaboration in support of large multi-component center grant applications. An example of these collaborations is the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center's role as the Brain Imaging Core in the NIH-sponsored institutional research grants below.

Frontiers - The Heartland Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (CTSA Award)

Kansas Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (KIDDRC)  

Alzheimer's Disease Center  grant (ADCC)  which was awarded by the National Institutes of Health in 2011, making KU one of only 29 U.S. Universities with such centers.

Such grant programs will promote the development of young faculty scientists as strong independent researchers numerous neurological disease and other conditions.

Patient Care

The Hoglund Brain Imaging Center also plays an important role in clinical care of patients. The center maintains a close relationship with The University of Kansas Hospital to provide clinical MRI services and to develop advanced imaging procedures for specific clinical needs, including epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.

Last modified: Dec 04, 2013