The overall goal of the University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (PITT-ADRC) is to perform and promote research that increases our understanding of: 1) the etiology and pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), 2) the mechanisms underlying the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of AD, and 3) to develop strategies that will result in effective early diagnoses and treatments for AD and related dementias.
James T. Becker, PhD
The Neuroimaging Core will support these Center-wide goals by developing and applying cutting edge neuroimaging technology to studies that are focused on early and presymptomatic stages of the AD spectrum.
As the search for preclinical biomarkers continues, it is becoming increasingly clear that functional and structural brain imaging data may hold the key to identifying the earliest pathological manifestations of AD prior to any meaningful clinical change. The Neuroimaging Core will continue to develop and distribute technology for acquiring and interpreting brain functional and structural imaging data in the support of AD research. The Core will advance the Center goals by supporting and promoting research that increases our understanding of the etiology and pathogenesis of AD, and facilitates the development of new therapies and methods for monitoring therapeutic efficacy. The Core maintains data sets of structural imaging on individuals enrolled through the Clinical Core (currently 934 MRI datasets), and we continue to work on the expansion of leading edge analytic technologies, and novel radiotracer ligands measured with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) (i.e., PiB and T807, Projects 1 and 2). Our developmental work includes the high definition quantification of white matter fiber tracts, and measurement of functional networks based on high resolution functional imaging. We will validate and implement methodologies and statistical techniques (e.g., functional connectivity, data mining) in order to provide ADRC investigators with state-of-the-art tools.