Honors & Awards

  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation (2018)

Lab Affiliations

All Publications

  • Transcranial ultrasound neuromodulation of the thalamic visual pathway in a large animal model and the dose‐response relationship with MR‐ARFI Scientific Reports Mohammadjavadi, M., Ash, R. T., Li, N., Gaur, P., Kubanek, J., Saenz, Y., Glover, G. H., Popelka, G. R., Norcia, A. M., Butts Pauly, K. 2022; 12: 19588
  • Histologic safety of transcranial focused ultrasound neuromodulation and magnetic resonance acoustic radiation force imaging in rhesus macaques and sheep. Brain stimulation Gaur, P., Casey, K. M., Kubanek, J., Li, N., Mohammadjavadi, M., Saenz, Y., Glover, G. H., Bouley, D. M., Pauly, K. B. 2020; 13 (3): 804–14


    BACKGROUND: Neuromodulation by transcranial focused ultrasound (FUS) offers the potential to non-invasively treat specific brain regions, with treatment location verified by magnetic resonance acoustic radiation force imaging (MR-ARFI).OBJECTIVE: To investigate the safety of these methods prior to widespread clinical use, we report histologic findings in two large animal models following FUS neuromodulation and MR-ARFI.METHODS: Two rhesus macaques and thirteen Dorset sheep were studied. FUS neuromodulation was targeted to the primary visual cortex in rhesus macaques and to subcortical locations, verified by MR-ARFI, in eleven sheep. Both rhesus macaques and five sheep received a single FUS session, whereas six sheep received repeated sessions three to six days apart. The remaining two control sheep did not receive ultrasound but otherwise underwent the same anesthetic and MRI procedures as the eleven experimental sheep. Hematoxylin and eosin-stained sections of brain tissue (harvested zero to eleven days following FUS) were evaluated for tissue damage at FUS and control locations as well as tissue within the path of the FUS beam. TUNEL staining was used to evaluate for the presence of apoptosis in sheep receiving high dose FUS.RESULTS: No FUS-related pre-mortem histologic findings were observed in the rhesus macaques or in any of the examined sheep. Extravascular red blood cells (RBCs) were present within the meninges of all sheep, regardless of treatment group. Similarly, small aggregates of perivascular RBCs were rarely noted in non-target regions of neural parenchyma of FUS-treated (8/11) and untreated (2/2) sheep. However, no concurrent histologic abnormalities were observed, consistent with RBC extravasation occurring as post-mortem artifact following brain extraction. Sheep within the high dose FUS group were TUNEL-negative at the targeted site of FUS.CONCLUSIONS: The absence of FUS-related histologic findings suggests that the neuromodulation and MR-ARFI protocols evaluated do not cause tissue damage.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.brs.2020.02.017

    View details for PubMedID 32289711

  • Effects of Non-invasive, Targeted, Neuronal Lesions on Seizures in a Mouse Model of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. Ultrasound in medicine & biology Zhang, Y., Zhou, H., Qu, H., Liao, C., Jiang, H., Huang, S., Ghobadi, S. N., Telichko, A., Li, N., Habte, F. G., Doyle, T., Woznak, J. P., Bertram, E. H., Lee, K. S., Wintermark, M. 2020


    Surgery to treat drug-resistant epilepsy can be quite effective but remains substantially underutilized. A pilot study was undertaken to test the feasibility of using a non-invasive, non-ablative, approach to produce focal neuronal loss to treat seizures in a rodent model of temporal lobe epilepsy. In this study, spontaneous, recurrent seizures were established in a mouse model of pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus. After post-status epilepticus stabilization, baseline behavioral seizures were monitored for 30 d. Non-invasive opening of the blood-brain barrier targeting the hippocampus was then produced by using magnetic resonance-guided, low-intensity focused ultrasound, through which a neurotoxin (quinolinic acid) administered intraperitoneally gained access to the brain parenchyma to produce focal neuronal loss. Behavioral seizures were then monitored for 30 d after this procedure, and brains were subsequently prepared for histologic analysis of the sites of neuronal loss. The average frequency of behavioral seizures in all animals (n = 11) was reduced by 21.2%. Histologic analyses along the longitudinal axis of the hippocampus revealed that most of the animals (n = 8) exhibited neuronal loss located primarily in the intermediate aspect of the hippocampus, while sparing the septal aspect. Two other animals with damage to the intermediate hippocampus also exhibited prominent bilateral damage to the septal aspect of the hippocampus. A final animal had negligible neuronal loss overall. Notably, the site of neuronal loss along the longitudinal axis of the hippocampus influenced seizure outcomes. Animals that did not have bilateral damage to the septal hippocampus displayed a mean decrease in seizure frequency of 27.7%, while those with bilateral damage to the septal hippocampus actually increased seizure frequency by 18.7%. The animal without neuronal loss exhibited an increase in seizure frequency of 19.6%. The findings indicate an overall decrease in seizure frequency in treated animals. And, the site of neuronal loss along the longitudinal axis of the hippocampus appears to play a key role in reducing seizure activity. These pilot data are promising, and they encourage additional and more comprehensive studies examining the effects of targeted, non-invasive, neuronal lesions for the treatment of epilepsy.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2020.01.008

    View details for PubMedID 32081583

  • Histologic evaluation of activation of acute inflammatory response in a mouse model following ultrasound-mediated blood-brain barrier using different acoustic pressures and microbubble doses. Nanotheranostics Pascal, A. n., Li, N. n., Lechtenberg, K. J., Rosenberg, J. n., Airan, R. D., James, M. L., Bouley, D. M., Pauly, K. B. 2020; 4 (4): 210–23


    Rationale: Localized blood-brain barrier (BBB) opening can be achieved with minimal to no tissue damage by applying pulsed focused ultrasound alongside a low microbubble (MB) dose. However, relatively little is known regarding how varying treatment parameters affect the degree of neuroinflammation following BBB opening. The goal of this study was to evaluate the activation of an inflammatory response following BBB opening as a function of applied acoustic pressure using two different microbubble doses. Methods: Mice were treated with 650 kHz ultrasound using varying acoustic peak negative pressures (PNPs) using two different MB doses, and activation of an inflammatory response, in terms of microglial and astrocyte activation, was assessed one hour following BBB opening using immunohistochemical staining. Harmonic and subharmonic acoustic emissions (AEs) were monitored for all treatments with a passive cavitation detector, and contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (CE-MRI) was performed following BBB opening to quantify the degree of opening. Hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides were assessed for the presence of microhemorrhage and edema. Results: For each MB dose, BBB opening was achieved with minimal activation of microglia and astrocytes using a PNP of 0.15 MPa. Higher PNPs were associated with increased activation, with greater increases associated with the use of the higher MB dose. Additionally, glial activation was still observed in the absence of histopathological findings. We found that CE-MRI was most strongly correlated with the degree of activation. While acoustic emissions were not predictive of microglial or astrocyte activation, subharmonic AEs were strongly associated with marked and severe histopathological findings. Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that there were mild histologic changes and activation of the acute inflammatory response using PNPs ranging from 0.15 MPa to 0.20 MPa, independent of MB dose. However, when higher PNPs of 0.25 MPa or above were applied, the same applied PNP resulted in more severe and widespread histological findings and activation of the acute inflammatory response when using the higher MB dose. The potential activation of the inflammatory response following ultrasound-mediated BBB opening should be considered when treating patients to maximize therapeutic benefit.

    View details for DOI 10.7150/ntno.49898

    View details for PubMedID 32802731

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7425053