Andre Obenaus, PhD
Professor of Pediatric Neurology
Department of Pediatrics
Director, Preclinical and Translational Imaging Center
School of Medicine
University of California – Irvine
Project 1 & Imaging Core
I have a long-standing interest in the use of non-invasive imaging modalities to understand normal brain physiological functions and those that accompany pathophysiology. Probing white matter using neuroimaging methods is an area of published interest using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) as a non-invasive readout. For example we have published several studies in altered white matter after mild TBI (Wendel 2018) and in our proposed limited bedding and nesting (LBN) model of fragmented maternal care (Bolton et al 2018). These approaches used tractography as well as quantitative indices of white matter alterations including dispersion. We also have experience in acquiring resting and evoked fMRI data using very light planes of anesthesia.
Historically my interests have been in cerebral pathophysiology of disease, including TBI, stroke and epilepsy. I have used standardized imaging tools (T2, DWI) to extensively describe the evolution of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signals to characterize status epilepticus models (Wall 2000, Eidt 2004). In collaboration with Dr. TZ Baram (also Conte Center PI), we have further examined whether very acute (<4hr) MR signals could be predictive of animals that become epileptic later in life following febrile seizures (Choy et al 2014). More recently we have extended these studies to report that unique inflammatory markers correlate with these predicative MR signals (Patterson et al 2015) as well as expand the time window over which we can observe these modified signals (Curran 2018, Epilepsia, in revision). We are now extending these studies to investigate how febrile seizures alters learning and memory circuits in the brain using DTI.
In addition, as a co-investigator in the NIMH funded “Conte Center on Brain Programing in Adolescent Vulnerabilities” we have been examining developing new methods including gray-matter DTI to assess local brain changes as well as long-range circuits in rodents exposed to early life adversity (Molet 2016, Bolton 2018). We have described altered hippocampal microstructure using DTI that reflected behavioral alterations including memory deficits and anhedonia. Our recent report in Biological Psychiatry reported increased tracts in adults experiencing fragmented early-life experiences (Bolton et al 2018). These novel and other emerging analytical approaches will be utilized in our proposed research efforts related to understanding modifications to brain circuitry.
As the former Director of the Non-Invasive Imaging Laboratory (NIL) at Loma Linda University, I was instrumental in purchase, installation and all imaging activities on our high field MRIs (4.7T, 11.7T), a micro-CT and a micro-PET which supported the research efforts of numerous NASA, DOD and NIH funded researchers as well as my own research. At the present time I am the Director of the Preclinical and Translational Imaging Center at UCI which houses a state of the art 9.4T MRI. I have extensive experience as well as significant resources for computational analysis of imaging data and examples of these efforts are reported in Ghosh et al 2012 and Donovan et al 2012, including national and international patents.
These experiences, coupled with my productive collaborations with the PI, TZ Baram for close to ten years, provide me with the skills and the passion to enable the success of our renewed Center.