IBS Institute for Basic Science


In human studies, fMRI signal is an indirect marker of neural activities, yet providing most powerful means to study the brain. In order to interpret fMRI data properly, it is crucial to understand the relationship between neural activity and vascular responses. However, even after two decades of intense research, this relationship is still not clear.

This group will aim to study the physiological mechanism of neurovascular and neurometabolic relationships among cells, cerebral vasculatures, and brain function. Since vascular dysfunction can change neurovascular coupling, normal as well as vascular dysfunctional animal models will be used.

Detailed relationships between neural activity and hemodynamic/ metabolic responses will be examined with electrophysiology, multi-photon microscopy, various optical approaches, bio-sensors, and animal fMRI. This group equips a multi-photon laser scanning microscope and a super high-resolution confocal microscope, and directs the “Histology Core” and “Rodent Animal Care Core”.

To understand the contributions of neuronal vs. astrocyte vs. dendrite signaling to vascular or metabolic responses, various approaches will be implemented, including two-photon microscopy, intrinsic optical imaging, auto-fluorescence imaging, cerebral blood flow measurements, and various nano-probes (e.g., CO, NO, O2). To modulate cell-type specific neural activity, optogenetic molecular tools will be implemented.

To identify crucial vasodilators/constrictors and their controlling pathways, pharmacological interventions and genetically engineered rodents will be utilized. Specific emphasis is the role of inhibitory interneurons to hemodynamic responses and neurological dysfunction, chronic epileptic seizure.