Can we use MRI to measure how neurons and glia change their shape?

This is a hybrid event. To attend in person, please come to New Radcliffe House, Department of Experimental Psychology. To attend online, talk links will be sent to the EP Seminars list the day before the talk. Contact Nima ( ) or Lauren ( if you are not on the list and would like to join the seminar.

From birth to death, neurons and glial cells morphologies evolve. They respond to environmental challenges (e.g. spine density and learning, activated microglia and infection etc) or can reflect an abnormal brain condition (e.g. astrocytic hypertrophy, neuronal atrophy, dendritic tree defects etc). Diffusion MRI provides insights about brain microstructure, from the water molecules constrained by cell membranes. However, water is ubiquitous, and its diffusion can hardly disentangle contributions from the extracellular space, glial cells or neurons for example. This is where diffusion-weighted MRS steps in! In this presentation, I will introduce a few applications in the healthy (developing) rodent brain and in a mouse model of astrocytic activation. This method exists both on animal and human scanners and facilitates translational perspectives. At WIN, it is already implemented on the rodent 7T MRI scanner, and it has been recently installed on the human 3T. Besides presenting the potential applications of diffusion weighted-MRS in neuroscience and psychology, this talk will be an opportunity to briefly highlight the work of some people from the Preclinical Imaging Group working with the rodent 7T here at Oxford, and facilitate connections with EP in case of matching research interests!