The core idea of this project is based on combined biomaterials and stem cell applications in the brain monitored by combined bioluminescent imaging (BLI) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This would allow to enhance the stem cell delivery and integration in the brain and to monitor both the stem cells and their effects in the living animals (in vivo). BLI and MRI are technologies at the opposite parts of in vivo molecular imaging spectrum. BLI offers the maximum sensitivity, but the lowest resolution, while MRI has superior resolution with low sensitivity.

Bioluminescent imaging (BLI) is based on sources of light emitted from luminescent enzymes. Bioluminescence enzymes such as firefly luciferase (luc) emit light when provided with the appropriate substrate.

MRI imaging is based upon the proton movement of the hydrogen atom (H+), abundant as H2O in tissue. Protons are positively charged particles that spin in random directions in the absence of an external magnetic field. When caught in a strong magnetic field however, the protons align like compass needles. A brief radio signal is emitted and its intensity reflects the number of protons in a particular "slice" of matter.

The in vivo molecular imaging changes the use of animals in experiments. The strategy enables us to study biological processes in living animals in real time.

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