Penn Medicine Researcher Receives High Impact Neuroscience Resource Center Grant from …

Award will enable widespread use of high resolution imaging of oxygen in the brain, with implications for wide array of neurological disorders

PHILADELPHIA – Sergei A. Vinogradov, PhD, an associate professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has been awarded a four-year, $1.2 million High Impact Neuroscience Research Resource Center Grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The award, presented to Vinogradov and his colleague at Massachusetts General Hospital David Boas, formerly a Penn graduate student, is only one of four given nationally. The grant will enable further development and dissemination of technology for assessing brain oxygenation on a microscopic level. It has the potential to transform understanding of such important clinical problems as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, chronic hypertension, and brain cancer, promoting the development of new therapies and helping to improve clinical imaging and treatment options.

Until recently, no technology has been capable of microscopic oxygen imaging in the brain with high resolution. Over the past several years, Vinogradov and colleagues have developed a method, termed two-photon phosphorescence lifetime microscopy of oxygen (2PLM), which has the unique capability of fulfilling this technological niche. Unlike MRI, which measures only relative changes in the oxygenation of the blood, 2PLM is capable of detecting absolute levels of free oxygen either in the blood or directly in the tissue, that is outside the blood vessels. The 2PLM technique has spatial resolution orders of magnitude higher than MRI and can detect fine oxygen gradients around individual capillaries and even around individual red-blood cells.

“This is the only imaging method that allows micron-scale resolution mapping of brain oxygenation in real time, and it already has shown potential in neuroscience and stem cell biology,” Vinogradov said. In the last five years, 2PLM technology has produced four papers in Nature journals and several other high-impact publications.

2PLM uses ultrafast laser pulses to penetrate deep into the brain or other organs without damaging them. This non-damaging feature allows for repeated examination of the same experimental animal (and specifically the same group of cells) over weeks and months. This yields an unparalleled wealth of information on disease progression and drug action dynamics, which increases the statistical significance of the results. Compared to other imaging techniques, 2PLM reveals exceptionally rich detail by visualizing individual cells — and even subcellular organelles — in their natural, undisturbed environment. 

2PLM is based on special two-photon-enhanced phosphorescent probes whose signal is sensitive to oxygen. The probes and the method’s principles were originally developed by the Vinogradov laboratory in collaboration with the Penn ultrafast laser resource, formerly directed by the late Robin M. Hochstrasser.

The new grant will allow Vinogradov and colleagues to establish a center for 2PLM, making it available to interested researchers across different fields of neurology and neuroscience.


Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report‘s survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania — recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital — the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2013, Penn Medicine provided $814 million to benefit our community.

Source: Penn Medicine Researcher Receives High Impact Neuroscience Resource Center Grant from …

Via: Google Alert for Neuroscience

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