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Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program

Brenton DeBoef

Associate Professor
(401) 874-9480

Research Description: Molecular probes that can monitor biochemical events are of increasing value as diagnostic and theranostic devices. We are currently synthesizing novel molecules that will produce a relaxivity enhancement, which can be detected using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), when they interact with neurochemicals or neuroreceptors. The probes contain two functional parts: one that binds the neurochemical target, and one that produces a magnetic signal by altering the relaxivity of neighboring water molecules. Our first efforts in this field have been directed toward the development of a contrast agent for imaging the dopamine transporter have been successful.

The future of this research program will involve the synthesis and evaluation of probes for detecting other neurochemical phenomena such as glutamate-mediated synapse activity or the gene expression that is associated with long-term memory. In addition to gadolinium-based contrast agents, we are interested in synthesizing probes that contain cryptophane cages for encapsulating hyperpolarized xenon (HP-Xe) that can be dissolved in an organism's blood stream. This event has been shown to produce a HyperCEST signal, which is 10,000-100,000 times more sensitive than a traditional MRI relaxation measurement.

The Program

The Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program (INP) offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, or a Certificate in the Neurosciences. The program provides broad instruction across several neuroscience disciplines and gives students an opportunity to focus on a specific area of specialization.

Executive Committee Organizational Chart



Request for Proposals Rhode Island Neuroscience Collaborative Pilot Study Awards - Deadline for Applications: April15, 2014