Ansel Hillmer, PhD, assistant professor of radiology and biomedical imaging and of psychiatry, has been awarded a federal grant to develop a new brain imaging tool to study the brain’s immune system.
The project will develop a new positron emission tomography (PET) imaging radiotracer that targets the colony stimulating factor receptor 1, which is highly expressed on the brain’s primary immune cells. Hillmer said this tool will be used to characterize adaptive brain immune processes from repeated alcohol exposure, and link the brain immune effects with drinking behaviors. The results will provide new data identifying ways the brain’s immune system contributes to the development and progression of alcohol use disorder in people.
The project is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Hillmer’s research involves the characterization of novel PET imaging tools and applying these paradigms to study psychiatric conditions in new and innovative ways.