Blood flow and metabolism

Our mission is to establish a quantitative relationship between brain signalling and brain blood flow and metabolism, and an energy budget for signalling in cerebral grey matter in health and disease states. Our current and planned work is aimed at exploring and providing

(i) A fundamental understanding of how the brain’s computations are powered, how the energy supply for thinking is regulated, and how constraints on information processing power are constrained by energy supply;

(ii) A deeper understanding of what is actually being measured in functional imaging experiments;

(iii) Insights into how neurological disorders are caused by, and contribute to defects in brain energy supply.

A measure of success will be our ability to account for the metabolic consequences of functional signalling in sufficient detail to match the published mathematical models of energy budgets for cortical networks. In addition we focus on the mechanisms that control blood flow and energy metabolism. Our hypothesis is that it is the same mechanisms that control energy consumption and its supply. To this end we are currently implementing 2-photon microscopy to be able to measure in vivo activity-dependent changes in Ca2+-signalling in relation to changes in blood flow, glucose and oxygen metabolism in young, mature and aged rodents.

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