Applying medical imaging expertise to battles against kidney disease, nervous system disorder
Biomedical engineer and physicist Kevin Bennett works with ASU engineering students and colleagues at the Barrow Neurological Institute and Mayo Clinic Scottsdale on research to fight kidney disease and neurofibromatosis. Credit: Jessica Slater/ASU
(Medical Xpress) -- Promising efforts to improve detection of early-stage kidney disease and treat children with neurofibromatosis have earned grants for Arizona State University research projects from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Kevin Bennett, a biomedical engineer and physicist at ASU, is playing a leading role in both projects. Bennett is an assistant professor in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, one of ASUs Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He also is the undergraduate program chair for the schools Harrington Bioengineering Program.
His work focuses on medical imaging, specifically the development and application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). He has conducted post-doctoral research in the area for the National Institutes of Health.
I love developing new ways to see things in the body that we werent able to see before, he says.
For the past five years, Bennett has been using MRI to examine kidney structure and function and to detect early stages of kidney diseases.
He and his research team use magnetic nanoparticles and super high-field MRI to make very precise measurements of kidney structure and function, says Bennett, who is also an adjunct assistant professor of radiology at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale.
A kidneys susceptibility to disease can be determined by examining MRI images and determining the amount of nanoparticles that collect in a kidneys filtering nephrons. Nephrons regulate the levels of water and soluble substances in the blood.
MRI can be used to examine the functionality of nephrons in living organisms to assess risk of kidney disease, as well as to help measure how well a donor kidney is going to function once its transplanted, Bennett says.
The AHA recently awarded $140,000 to help continue the project. Bennetts grant proposal was among the 13 percent of requests to be approved for funding.
The grant recognizes the value of his teams work, he says, because the AHA typically selects projects it considers promising to make breakthroughs and have a significant impact on human health.
Bennett is working on the project with John Bertram, a professor and head of the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology at Monash University in Australia, and Teresa Wu, an associate professor of industrial engineering and director of the Collaborative Decisions Lab at ASU, and an associate professor of radiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
Also on the team is ASU biomedical engineering doctoral student Scott Beeman and industrial engineering doctoral student Min Zhang.
Bennett is collaborating with Vinodh Narayanan, a pediatric neurologist and researcher with the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) in Phoenix and adjunct faculty member at ASU, to find a drug that can reverse the effects of cognitive deficit symptoms in children with neurofibromatosis.
Neurofibromatosis is an incurable genetic disorder of the nervous system whose symptoms range from tumors to bone disorders. Narayanan, the lead researcher for the project, works with patients who have cognitive deficits caused by a specific gene, which leads to neurofibromatosis.
Its been proposed that the cognitive deficits in people with the condition are caused by a certain kind of molecular transport in cells that is being blocked, Bennett says.
Neuron cells have an axon a long nerve fiber that transports electrical impulses. Narayanan believes that the axonal transport is what is blocked by neurofibromatosis. He is targeting these axons in his experiments.
As a co-investigator, Bennett is helping by using MRI to view and record the effects of certain drugs targeted to increase the transport rates of cells. Hes introducing manganese ions to cell transport because the ions can brighten MRI images
Manganese ions behave like calcium in cells and follow the same transport paths. So when paired with MRI, the manganese allows researchers to track the rate at which axons are transporting matter through cells.
We just squirt a little manganese into the nose and we monitor how fast manganese is moved from the nose into the olfactory bulb in the brain, Bennett says.
The process is then used in combination with certain drugs to test their ability to increase the rate of transport.
Research is being performed at both ASU and the BNI, focusing mostly in Narayanans lab and at the BNI-ASU preclinical imaging center.
The project was making advances significant enough to attract support from the NIH. Narayanans team has been awarded $275,000 to continue the work. Only about 10 percent of applicants for such funding were selected to receive NIH grants.
The grant comes from R21 funding, which is reserved for high-risk, high-impact projects. Applicants compete with accomplished researchers across the country for the R21 grants, Bennett says.
I think our success [at winning a grant] can be attributed to Dr. Narayanans brilliance and our productive collaboration, he says.
The Army Research Office initially funded the project for two years with a grant of $120,000.
Bennett says its especially rewarding when his team can collaborate on research pursuing solutions to critical biomedical challenges.
We get to see our work applied to important fundamental research and to clinical problems," he says.
Provided by Arizona State University
- Structural brain changes in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease Nov 17, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Adult kidney stem cells found in fish Jan 26, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Combination PET-MRI scanner expands imaging frontiers Feb 16, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Flow dynamics work promises fuel efficiency, less pollution Apr 13, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Complications of chronic kidney disease occur earlier in children Oct 04, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
19 hours ago From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Scientists investigating the interaction of a group of proteins in the brain responsible for protecting nerve cells from damage have identified a new target that could increase cell survival.
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
New findings by researchers carrying out experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Advanced Photon Source (APS) help explain why some drugs that interact with two kinds of human serotonin ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Peptide molecules derived from the body's natural immune system can help boost the body's defence against life-threatening blood poisoning, joint University research has uncovered.
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 4 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A new Montréal study conducted by Dr. May Faraj, associate research professor at the Université de Montréal and invited scientist at the IRCM, along with her research team and medical collaborators, shows ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new case of the deadly coronavirus has been detected in Saudi Arabia where 15 people have already died after contracting it, the health ministry announced on Saturday on its Internet website.
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
20 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
21 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0