Video: Imaging the living brain
Elizabeth Hillman, associate professor of biomedical engineering, leads a team that is developing new imaging methods for the living brain. Their goal is to understand the way that the brain functions and regulates its blood flow, which can provide important clues to understanding early brain development, disease and aging.
The brain increases local blood flow when neurons fire, and this increase is what is detected by a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan. Hillman's team has found that a layer of cells is capable of propagating signals important to increasing blood flow in the brain.