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Imaging Core

Human imaging studies allow for the development of imaging biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease and characterization of the temporal sequence of AD pathology, and lead to better assignment of patients to clinical research studies and clinical trials. Imaging is a major strength at Yale, as exemplified by the breadth and depth offered by the Yale PET Center and the Yale Magnetic Resonance Research Center (MRRC). In the PET Center, an example of recent, significant work is the introduction of PET synaptic imaging with the SV2A tracer 11C-UCB-J. In the MRI, the Yale MRRC has generated numerous, novel methods to characterize an individual's functional connectome and relate the functional organization to behavior and clinical variables. Overall, these two Centers develop cutting-edge imaging technologies and apply these techniques to answer important questions.

The Yale ADRC Imaging Core (YAIC) leverages the vast experience of Yale's imaging infrastructure to provide state-of-the-art acquisition and analysis of imaging data and to focus on the development of novel approaches to AD. This core is co-led by Drs. Richard Carson PhD, Director of the Yale PET Center, and Todd Constable PhD, Co-Director of the Magnetic Resonance Research Center. The YAIC will provide a common infrastructure for acquisition, processing, and analysis of multimodal imaging data, supporting and training AD investigators, and developing the next generation of imaging tools. The current and future methods will be applied to ongoing imaging studies to acquire a rich, multifaceted and multi-modality dataset in human subjects.

The Imaging Core has the following aims:

  • To develop and optimize PET image and data analysis strategies to facilitate within- and between-subject comparison. Multi-tracer within-subject correlations are important, involving amyloid, tau, synaptic density, and glucose metabolism.
  • To enhance our MR-based functional connectome modeling to better functionally phenotype patients and link brain to behavior. This approach provides a functional profile for each individual while localizing the networks and revealing the network organizing principles supporting these functions.
  • To develop and enrich multi-modality analyses between PET and fMRI for within- and between-subject studies. The combination of fMRI-based connectivity with the regional patterns of neurodegeneration measurable with PET provides an ideal opportunity to understand the pathways of disease progression.