University of Georgia Bio-Imaging Research Center Director Brett Clementz

Clementz, Brett

Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

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Dr. Clementz’ research has two general goals. The first is to understand how accurate sensory processing is maintained even within the context of changing environmental circumstances, as assessed using multiple brain imaging technologies. This involves discerning how neural activities in a “controlled” system (e.g., sensory cortices that initially register incoming information from the environment) are influenced by a “controlling” system (e.g., prefrontal cortex, the part of brain that interprets instructions and discerns differences in environmental situations) – a phenomena that is termed “top down control”. Understanding interactions between regulation of sensory input and the ability to use learned rules to guide behavior via input from higher level (e.g., prefrontal) cortices is crucial when studying clinical populations because deviations at any stage (sensory registration, ability to bias sensory input given situational demands, attentional selection, ability to appropriately manipulate sensory information to select context-appropriate responses) can cause abnormalities observed in behavior and brain functioning. The second goal is to understand neurobiological distinctions between different subgroups of brain diseases called the psychoses. Psychosis is defined clinically by the presence of hallucinations, delusions, and disorders of cognitive functions, and they have been demonstrated, at least for the majority of cases and in large measure, to have a substantial genetic diathesis. For Dr. Clementz, the first goal, which often involves the study of the healthy brain, informs the second goal of understanding deviations in brain functions associated with manifestation of psychosis in order to facilitate improved diagnosis and treatment of severe psychiatric disorders. The methodological core of Dr. Clementz’ research involves use of simple and complex behavioral paradigms combined with use of neuroimaging technologies including electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). He uses the most modern and sophisticated approaches to analyzing data collected with these technologies and is known for developing innovative analysis techniques.

Karumbaiah, Lohitash

Karumbaiah, Lohitash

Associate Director of Animal Imaging

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Research in the Karumbaiah lab is focused on identifying shared mechanisms by which brain glycosaminoglycans influence brain tumor progression and traumatic brain injury pathophysiology. Findings from these studies have led to the development of novel glycomaterial implants for brain tissue repair, as well as cytostatic approaches to block invasion promoting glycosaminoglycan signaling in the brain tumor microenvironment. Ongoing work is focused on (1) the development of an integrative regenerative rehabilitation approach to accelerate functional recovery following severe traumatic brain injuries; and (2) the design and development of in vitro therapeutic potency testing platforms and therapeutic approaches to stem tumor invasion and enhance the effectiveness of standard-of-care therapeutics.

Kevin McCully

McCully, Kevin

Associate Director of Human Imaging

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Dr. McCully received his PhD in Physiology from the University of Michigan. His graduate research was on contractile properties and muscle injury in small animals. Subsequently, he did a post doc in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania, mainly to learn how to study skeletal muscle with magnetic resonance spectroscopy. He studied patients with peripheral arterial disease and neuromuscular diseases. He then was a MDA postdoctoral scholar for two years, following which we was employed in Geriatric Medicine at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences and continued to study skeletal muscle using 31P MRS and NIRS in older adults. He then joined the Kinesiology Department at the University of Georgia. Dr. McCully’s research program at UGA is focused on developing new non-invasive approaches to studying skeletal muscle metabolism, blood flow and oxygen utilization. The lab focusing on changes to muscle function after chronic illnesses and injuries: including spinal cord injury, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, peripheral vascular disease and heart failure. The lab is also focused on innovative methods of improving physical activity levels and exercising people with chronic illnesses and injuries. He uses near infrared spectroscopy, Doppler Ultrasound, muscle accelerometry, electrical stimulation, MRI and 31P MRS to study humans. We also work on novel methods of training humans to improve health, primarily by training skeletal muscle.