Our research program uses Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging, a technique that combines physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and medicine to enable detection of the molecular underpinnings of the brain including neurotransmitters and synapses. We use the state-of-the-art facility at the Yale PET Center that focuses on quantitative PET techniques using cutting-edge tools such as novel tracers along with advanced imaging technology and techniques to study the brain in living people. Specifically, we have three major areas of interest:
Our work is translational in nature and focused on elucidating the underlying pathology of brain diseases and disorders with an aim to find more effective clinical diagnoses, provide early detection and monitor disease progression guided by molecular neuroimaging. The goal is to develop the next generation of imaging biomarkers for brain research that, most importantly, have the potential to translate into the clinic.
The need to develop better effective therapies in brain based conditions is a priority. Despite a multitude of preclinical research, there is an often a gap of knowledge when possible treatments are studied in people. We aim to provide a crucial link employing translational science as a bridge from preclinical models to clinical work. With the use of specialized PET tracers we can understand the mechanisms of prospective treatments (that are new or repurposed) for brain based disorders by providing information about the biological targets and determining optimal therapeutic interventions.
The brain is the driving engine behind what makes us unique, and despite its central importance much is still unknown. Employing PET imaging and related technologies we investigate the core molecular signatures of the brain to understand fundamental aspects such as the distribution of underlying receptors, the effects of aging on multiple neurotransmitter systems, and how factors such as cognition, reward, social structure and the environment can influence the molecular underpinnings of our brain.