Research Abstracts Online
January 2010 - March 2011
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Science and Engineering
of Biomedical Engineering
PI: Hubert H. Lim
Three-Dimensional Computer Reconstructions of Histological Brain Preparations
The growing success and widespread acceptance of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s and essential tremor has opened up the possibilities for applying brain stimulation for other neurological disorders and conditions. The Lim lab pushes to develop new neural prostheses for hearing restoration and tinnitus suppression. This research requires parallel experiments in animals and in humans to understand the various ways different brain regions can be stimulated to restore normal auditory function in patients suffering from hearing loss and debilitating tinnitus. For animal experiments, special electrode arrays are implanted into different brain regions and stimulated with various parameters to characterize the corresponding activation effects on neural coding and perception. After each experiment, the researchers extract and fix the brain to obtain histological slices that are then used to reconstruct three-dimensional computational brain models using Rhinoceros software to identify the locations of the electrode arrays. In this way they can identify how specific brain regions are related to different electrical stimulation brain activation patterns. These results will not only help characterize different brain regions but will also help to identify optimal locations for implanting neural implants in future patients.
The large data files used to create these brain reconstructions require high-processing computers offered by MSI to ensure effective and efficient creation and manipulations of the various brain models. The collaboration with MSI and the use of the high-performance computer resources contribute to the success of this auditory implant research.
David P. Edge, Undergraduate Student