Imaging

IMAGING THE BRAIN IN ACTION
Come and take a deep look into our brains in action! Which bits in our brain do we use for what? How does it change as we get older? How do we make a hologram appear? We show you the technologies that can be used and many fascinating images of our brains.
Fun activities:
explore the world of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) ● feel the force – use your brain power to make a hologram appear ● does exercise make you cleverer? ● can men navigate better than women? ● do young people have better memories than old people? ● watch gleaming brains under the microscope ● see amazing movies of how dynamic nerve cells are!

 

AimagingDiscovery zone 1: Understanding the human brain

To understand how the human brain works or to identify the causes of brain dysfunction in disease or injury, we have clever means to “image” the brain in action. Here we will take you on a journey explaining what is possible with modern techniques and how this works.

The Drishti-Prayog-plinth

The Drishti-Prayog-plinth

Take a look at the detailed pictures of the brain obtained via Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Positron Emission Tomography (PET), revealing the connections between different brain regions, the blood flow in the brain, and even which areas of the brain are in active use at any given time. Explore with us, how these scanners turn the signals from your brain into images by using the interactive Drishti Prayog presentation software package [LINK] which allow you to scroll, rotate and ‘cut’ through 3D brain images on a touchscreen.

 

BrainScanCome and do a series of experiments with us to address questions such as: Does exercise make you cleverer? Can men navigate better than women? Do young people have better memories than old people? Feel the force – use your brain power to make a hologram appear…  Intrigued? Experts will be there for you to explain the images of the brain, and the physics of how the scans are acquired. Tricky questions welcome! Come and see for yourself… — [Learn more about MRI here and about PET here]

Discovery zone 2: Studying nerve cells with gleaming markers

A "fluorescent" microscope

A “fluorescent” microscope

Taking fruit flies as the example, explore with us how brain researchers make use of modern genetic markers to study the detail and dynamics of nerve cells. Take a look through our microscope to see the gleaming brains of flies, and how aberrations can be spotted and studied at a wink of the eye. See amazing films of nerve cells and  the enormous dynamics of proteins within, or see activity waves running through the brain as a maggot moves. Explore with us, how this helps to advance our understanding of nerve cells and the brain.

Contributing research groups & facilities:

  • Laura Parkes, The University of Manchester — [LINK]
  • Centre for Imaging Sciences, The University of Manchester — [LINK]
  • Nils Muhlert, The University of Manchester — [LINK]
  • School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Manchester — [LINK]
  • Rebecca Elliott, The University of Manchester — [LINK]
  • Centre for New Treatments and Understanding in Mental Health, The University of Manchester — [LINK]
  • Manchester Fly Facility, The University of Manchester — [LINK]
  • Manchester X-ray Imaging Facility (MXIF), The Univ. of Manchester — [LINK]
  • Research IT, The University of Manchester — [LINK]
  • School of Materials, The University of Manchester — [LINK]