our lab

Physics and Neuroscience

The Bolding Lab does basic neuroscience and advanced imaging research (principally MRI physics). We are using MRI, materials engineering, and ultrasound (oh and now x-rays) to study brain function. Our lab collaborates with many other groups at UAB and other universities. We also support multiple core resources at UAB.

Our long term goal is development of non-invasive, optical and molecular brain interface techniques that can be translated into humans.

Lab goals and lines of work are for the next few years are:

  • MRI guided non-invasive drug delivery (e.g. viruses, nanoparticles, and small molecule drugs) system for precision neuromodulation: cFUS
  • X-ray stimulated optogenetics for non-invasive neuromodulation.
  • Active MRI contrast agents that can be used as reporters of brain function.

Specific current projects include the development of a noninvasive method of drug delivery to focal brain areas using a combination of focused ultrasound and specially developed nanoclusters. This technology has the potential to completely replace cranial injections for drug and gene delivery, enable scientists to study the human brain at an unprecedented level of detail, and avoid harmful side effects caused by current systemic neuropsychiatric drug delivery methods. We are also working with several collaborators to develop a noninvasive version of optogenetics, the cutting edge of technology in precision neuromodulation, which uses light to make neurons of interest fire at will allowing for precise probing of neural circuits to discover their structure and function. We aim to replace the cranial implant currently used to deliver light in optogenetics with a combination of low doses of x-ray radiation and scintillating nanoparticles.

We are excited to be collaborating with GE to develop new AirCoil technology, which improves current rigid MRI coils with an array of flexible coils that can be wrapped around body parts to be imaged like a blanket, allowing for improved image quality and a more comfortable patient experience.

Dr. Bolding is also Director of the CINL and facilitates neuroscience research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham through continued growth of key UAB imaging centers including the Civitan International Neuroimaging Lab (CINL) and through the creation of a new shared transcranial ultrasound core facility.

We also work collaboratively with many others through the imaging centers that we direct, the Alabama Advanced Imaging Consortium, and the UAB Comprehensive Neuroscience Center. Our lab is a central resource for MRI research and image analysis expertise at UAB.

“In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.”

Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies