Introduction

Laboratory of Biomedical Imaging and Signal Processing (BISP Lab) is a joint interdisciplinary lab between EEE and LKS Faculty of Medicine. The frontier biomedical research is to understand the relationship among anatomical structures, physiological and neuronal functions in normal, altered and diseased neural system. BISP Lab aims to develop and apply the state-of-the-art imaging and computational technologies to the studies in the anatomical structures, physiological and neuronal functions in various animal models and in human.

Background: With advances in engineering and computation, extraordinary body imaging technologies and applications have been developed over the last 25 years. One of the most promising areas of imaging application in the biomedical sciences is the study of small animal models. The mouse and rat have become ubiquitous participants in most areas of molecular biology, toxicology, and drug discovery research. Well-characterized models have been developed for a wide range of diseases to facilitate the understanding of the diseases and to provide appropriate vehicles for drug validation. The mouse, in particular, has become a key animal model system to study the development and human disease. The ability to manipulate the mouse genome has resulted in significant progress in understanding these diseases.

Among the various in vivo imaging modalities available, NMR imaging is the most valuable tool in animal imaging studies. In vivo NMR imaging allows the users to alter contrast parameters based on the application. The NMR signal reflects the physical and chemical state of cell-water and the metabolite molecules that are highly sensitive to changes in their environment. For example, NMR anatomical imaging has superb soft tissue contrast and can provide a spatial resolution up to 20 Ám. Dynamic NMR imaging can capture the beating mouse heart in motion. Careful NMR spectroscopic imaging is capable of detecting metabolites such as choline, creatine, glutamine and glutamate in ~10 Ámolar concentrations. With the ongoing research on target-specific contrast agents, NMR imaging is gradually gaining the sensitivity to visualize the molecular or cellular events in vivo that are specific to diseases processes, such as gene expression.

Optogenetics is an emerging neuromodulation method employed in neuroscience that uses a combination of techniques from optics and genetics to control the activities of specified subset of neurons in living animals. The combination of optogenetics and fMRI provides a powerful tool to investigate how activity in one region of the brain causally affects activity in distant regions via long-range connections. Therefore, optogenetic fMRI technology was developed in BISP lab and was used to study long-range circuit, rsfMRI neural basis and auditory processing.

Vision and Mission: The BISP lab fulfills the scientific needs of biomedical researchers. It aims to develop advanced imaging methodologies and provide the researchers the ability to visualize and quantify the anatomic structures, physiologies, and functions of small animal models in normal, pathologic, or genetically or pharmacologically modified states in vivo and intact. BISP lab supports a broad range of scientific programmes in HKU such as in the area of neurosciences, neurological disorders, cancer genomics, developmental genomics, skeletal development, cardiac disease, drug, TCM research, human imaging research, signal processing, image reconstruction, device and material micro-inspection. The enhanced research capability provided by BISP lab will catalyze new competitive projects, and contribute towards training the next generation of biomedical engineers and researchers.