focused ultrasound activation of drug loaded clusters

Problem: Lack of tools for non-invasive neuromodulation with temporal, spatial, and chemical specificity

Solution: A focused ultrasound (FUS) and nanocluster platform for localized drug delivery in the brain with MRI feedback

We employ MRI-visible albumin based drug carriers (engineered by Dr. Yuping Bao at the Univerity of Alabama Tuscaloosa) to deliver neuropharmacological agents to the brain non-invasively using focused ultrasound (FUS) blood brain barrier (BBB) opening. Nanocluster drug delivery allows neuromodulatory agents to remain inside an albumin based nanocluster, limiting biodistribution until reaching the desired site for drug release, thus protecting off-target locations from drug action. Nanoclusters are delivered to target rat brain regions by FUS induced BBB opening. In addition, transcranial FUS can be used to activate release of neuromodulatory agents (release-FUS) from nanoclusters, providing temporal control. This new platform can provide location specific neuromodulation with MRI feedback, enabling the investigation of relationships between circuit manipulations and behavioral outcomes in rodents (sidebar) and eventually humans.

Graduate student Megan Rich pioneered the FUS projects in the lab

FUS BBB opening in the right hippocampus evident by Evans Blue Dye and gadovist MRI contrast

MRI visible drug loaded nanoclusters loading into rat brain following BBB opening in the right hippocampus.

whole brain fluorescent image of localized delivery

stereotactic FUS delivery system

transducer calibration

failed attempt to make an ultrasound waveguide

FUS cavitation demonstration

Theranostic Ultrasound poster

Setting up electrospray for drug microencapsulation

“Any man could, if he were so inclined, be the sculptor of his own brain.”

Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Advice for a Young Investigator