Facilities that have received support from StratNeuro.
Karolinska Institutet Brain Bank
The nanoScan® PET-MRI preclinical system is an imaging system with high resolution (0.7 mm) that is used for imaging of central nervous system in rodents. To allow for more efficient use of PET radioligands, an additional PET-CT system was also installed in 2012. This makes it possible to examine two animals using the same radioligand batch. The investment has reduced costs/measurement and secures capacity to meet current demands. The demand has also been steadily increasing.
National Magneto EncephaloGraphy center (NatMEG)
Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a functional neuroimaging technique for mapping brain activity by recording magnetic fields produced by electrical currents occurring naturally in the brain, using very sensitive magnetometers. Applications of MEG include basic research into perceptual and cognitive brain processes, localizing regions affected by pathology before surgical removal, determining the function of various parts of the brain, and neurofeedback. The new MEG was installed during autumn 2013. The unit serves the whole Swedish human electrophysiology community.
Neuroscience Behavioural-analysis Resource (NBR)
NBR is a behavioural facility with methods tailored to study cognitive and motor functions in rodents focusing on behaviour that is commonly impaired in human brain diseases. Available platforms within NBR are;
- Schizophrenia/Depression Behavioural Platform,
- ADHD/Autism Spectrum/Addiction Behavioural Platform,
- Alzheimer Behavioural Platform and
- Optogenetic platform. Optogenetics is a technique whereby cells that express a light-sensitive protein are controlled by light.
The mission is to support StratNeuro researchers with regard to neuroinformatics, mainly computational neuroscience and analysis of large brain imaging datasets (fMRI, PET, and M/EEG). The neuroinformatics platform has access to recently acquired dedicated supercomputers (Cray XE30) for experimental work.
Professor Anders Lansner, KTH.
Human Cellular Reprogramming Laboratory
Reprogramming somatic cells to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells opens up for studies on cells from patients. To date much of our understanding of human diseases relies on our ability to study suitable pathological tissues. For diseases of the brain this is particularly difficult as there is little live brain biopsy tissue available for analysis and postmortem specimens are of limited experimental value. Reprogramming and directed differentiation of human iPS cells offers a way to meet this lack of suitable tissues by generating the necessary pathological cells for analysis. The Falk Laboratory is building cellular models of human brain disorders to study the mechanism behind the disease using reprogramming, iPS cells, neural stem cell and neurons.
Virus Synaptic Tracing (VSP) facility
A fundamental question is how the brain is connected to itself and the rest of the body. Having this information could help in the future to better understand effects of localized brain damage. Virus synaptic tracing is a tool for visualizing the connections between the neurons in the brain. Virus has the ability to infect neurons and also spread to adjacent neurons. With the use of labelled virus particles it is possible to visualize presence of virus in single neurons and to which other neurons virus has spread. This state-of-the-art technique requires the use of modified viruses that can be administered locally in the nervous system to study the upstream neuronal populations and possibly also downstream targets of specific genetically defined cell populations. In this way a brain network map can be produced.
The Zebrafish Core Facility is a state-of-the-art facility at Karolinska Institutet, and the largest such facility in Sweden. It houses fish in a continuously monitored environment and all staff are qualified animal technicians. Researchers are provided with fish from wild-type lines and they also can bring in mutant/transgenic fish lines of interest from other laboratories. The facility has, in collaboration with researchers from Karolinska Institutet, developed protocols for a wide range of techniques, including modification of gene expression using antisense technology, whole-mount in situ hybridisation, electron microscopy and immunofluorescence assays. There are already zebrafish models established for a number of human diseases, for example muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease.
Radiation Source for CNS Lesions
A powerful 320 kV radiation source for animals has been purchased, enabling irradiation of the whole brain or selected brain regions in order to study radiotoxicity or to deplete neurogenesis. Whole body irradiation prior to bone marrow transplantation facilitates detection of bone marrow-derived cells in the brain, for example to distinguish between resident microglia and blood-borne macrophages. Bone marrow transplantation is a very useful tool to study the interaction between the immune system and the brain.