The Brain Imaging Core is central to the integration of behavioral and biological research at the Waisman Center IDDRC. Intellectual and developmental disabilities, whether resulting from environmental factors or genetic factors, involve a pathological alteration of brain structure and/or function. Examination of such alterations is critical to our understanding of the causal pathways from environmental or genetic processes to behavioral outcome and for the development of preventive or ameliorative interventions.
Andrew Alexander, PhD
Alexander is a professor of medical physics and psychiatry and has significant expertise in MRI physics, pulse sequence programming, image protocol development, multi-subject image analysis methods and statistical analysis methods. He has assisted and collaborated with many Waisman investigators on neuroimaging studies that are relevant to the IDDRC mission including studies of infants, autism, fragile X syndrome, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, adolescent anxiety, nonhuman primate brain development and pediatric brain injury. He is currently funded by NICHD to develop new imaging methods to improve quantitative relaxometry for young and intellectually impaired children. Alexander is responsible for all aspects of MR imaging in the Brain Imaging Core, including quality assurance on the scanner, development and evaluation of new pulse sequences, improvements to MR methodology, and interpretation of quantitative MRI measures.
Bradley Christian, PhD
Christian is a professor in medical physics and psychiatry and will provide overall leadership for the application of the PET molecular imaging for research studies. He is an expert in PET neuroreceptor imaging, and has conducted studies in preclinical animal models for radiotracer development and characterization and translated these methods to human and disease specific cohorts. The PET lab is currently conducting investigations with a variety of PET neuroligands, including 2 first-in-human investigations, and is the recent recipient of an NICHD/NIA jointly funded multi-investigator grant to identify biomarkers such as β-amyoid and tau for studying dementia in adults with Down syndrome. Christian directs all aspects of PET research in the Core, including the human PET scanner and radiopharmaceutical development and the provision of training and consultation to investigators on the use of neuroligands for PET imaging of neurotransmitter and molecular function.