The National Institutes of Health has awarded nearly $1.9 million in combined grants to two Purdue University researchers. The projects by assistant professors Meng Cui and Mathew Tantama involve brain imaging and optical sensor technology.
Both grants are part of a recent round of awards totaling more than $38 million from the NIH Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative.
Cui is part of both the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue. The Cui-led researchers are supported by a $1.4 million grant to support work with a non-invasive imaging system based on optical technology usually used in astronomy. The efforts will focus on the brain’s cortex, which will be examined at a higher depth than other imaging techniques usually yield.
Tantama, who is affiliated with Purdue’s Center for Integrated Neuroscience, has been awarded around $450,000 and will continue work to create an optical sensor to detect and follow molecules involved in cell signaling and communication in the brain, called neuropeptides. Tantama says "it could pave the way for sensors targeted to other important neuropeptides. A better understanding of how signals in the brain work also helps us understand how things go wrong in disease states, like Parkinson’s disease. This is the path to uncovering potential treatments and lessening the devastating impact of neurological disorders."
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