Functional Brain Mapping & Multimodal Neuroimaging

Mri brain with headache

Across species, higher cognitive function is supported by large-scale networks of cells that are distributed throughout the brain. Determining how these networks function across the lifespan and relate to age-related changes at the cellular level is imperative for understanding and treating cognitive aging. The Neurophysiology & Functional Brain Mapping research program is dedicated to understanding how aging impacts the brain networks that support cognition using invasive and non-invasive methods to map activity in relation to behavior.


CAM Center researchers have access to state-of-the-art equipment that enables visualization of single molecules to whole brain. They further take advantage of an array of tools to interrogate neural activity in behaving subjects. Moreover, microscopes within CAM Center facilities enable visualization of brain tissue sections and whole brains cleared with CLARITY or iDISCO techniques. Other systems are designed to implement design-based stereology and other quantitative methods that require single cell analysis.

Human Electrophysiology

The Human Electrophysiology Facilities in the CAM Center contain a state-of-the-art acoustic and radio frequency shielded faraday chamber for electrophysiology recording procedures with a separate experimenter observation station. The observation station contains extensive live data and subject monitoring equipment. The lab has 64-channel active and TMS compatible (passive) electrode arrays using a BrainVision ActiChamp electrophysiology system for electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potential (ERP) recording, as well as all necessary electrodes, gels, caps, and materials. The CAM Center also maintains BrainVision equipment for simultaneous recording of electrocardiography (ECG), electromyography (EMG), electrooculography (EOG), galvanic skin response (GSR), heart rate, respiration rate, and three-dimensional movement capture (3D Accel). In addition, the CAM Center space contains hair washing and electrode- cleansing facilities for participant prep and equipment maintenance. The CAM Center houses both stationary and mobile data collection and analysis computers equipped with EEG/ERP Lab and Brain Vision Analyzer. All electrophysiology data collection and analysis equipment are dual designed for onsite or offsite recording, to facilitate projects where participants are unable to travel to the lab for research testing.

Interrogating neural circuits in behaving animals

  • Electrophysiological recording of neural activity in behaving rats: CAM Center labs house multiple high-density recordings rigs: two capable of 96-channel recordings (Neuralynx/Tucker Davis Technologies) and another capable of 256-channel recordings (Intan) with all of the associated hardware and software necessary for conducting the behavioral tasks in conjunction with neurophysiology recording experiments.
  • Optogenetics in behaving rats: CAM Center labs house 16 operant chambers that are equipped with all of the hardware and software necessary for optogenetic manipulations in behaving rats. Specifically, operant chambers are integrated with blue and yellow lasers for stimulation of channelrhodopsin and halorhodopsin, respectively.

Study investigates brain mechanisms critical for ability to delay gratification

In a new eLife article, UF neuroscientists examine brain mechanisms involved with the ability to delay gratification in older and younger adults.

Doctor Hernandez describing the technology used in discovery

Microscopy and Cellular Imaging

  • ZEISS Axioimager M2 microscope equipped with Apotome and StereoInvestigator: This microscope is equipped with ApoTome.2, Hamamatsu C10600 (ORCA-R2) camera and shift free filter cube sets that allow acquisition of fluorescence at four distinct wavelengths. Using structured illumination, the ApoTome.2 technology affords high-quality, accurate, and efficient optical sectioning and three dimensional visualization of fluorescent specimens. This scope is configured for brightfield and multi-channel fluorescent work with StereoInvestigator software that is programmed to control the stage in the X, Y, and Z dimensions. This integration allows the implementation of design based stereology in Apotome-imaged fluorescent tissue and automated serial Z-stack acquisition at each counting frame in a stereological probe. This system can be used both in ‘real time’ or to acquire sets of images/image stacks (in brightfield, widefield or confocal fluorescent modes) that are subsequently processed/quantified offline. Overall 3D spatial information is retained for all images and image stacks within and across all sections so that their spatial relationships to each other are fully preserved.
  • ZEISS Light sheet imaging of cleared brain tissue: A ZEISSt Z.1 light sheet microscope is available for use by CAM Center investigators. This scope is equipped with the chamber and objectives to visualize cleared tissue with both CLARITY and iDISCO procedures. A separate Arivis Vision 4D workstation is available for image analysis.
  • Keyence BZ-X7000 fluorescent scope: Two fluorescence microscopes (Keyence BZ-X7000) are available to CAM Center researchers for high throughput optical sectioning (Z-stack collection), creation of image montages, and quantification of fluorescent material.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

All magnetic resonance imaging studies are carried out in the Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy facility (AMRIS)

  • Human Neuroimaging: The CAM Center uses multimodal neuroimaging to investigate neural mechanisms underlying brain aging, the impact of co-morbid conditions on brain health, as intervention outcome measures, and to investigate brain-based variables with predictive value for individual differences in intervention response. The CAM Center has expertise in structural (T1/MPRAGE, T2, FLAIR), diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), task-based and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), arterial spin labeling (ASL), proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS), and phosphorus (31P) MRS. These imaging modalities are central to studies carried out in the CAM Center. The CAM Center has access to two research dedicated 3T MRI systems in the McKnight Brain Institute Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (AMRIS) facility – Siemens Prisma and Philips Elition. The CAM Center’s behavior testing space and neuromodulation facilities are located adjacent to both scanners and is equipped with dedicated stimulus delivery computers for each scanner and a variety of task-based functional imaging paradigms using EPRIME. The CAM Center also maintains assess to a whole head dual tuned 31P MRS coil on both 3T MRI scanners to assess markers of mitochondrial function (alpha-, beta-, & gamma-ATP) as well as other markers of energy metabolism. In addition, the CAM Center uses the UF HiperGator super-computer for image processing and analyses. This computer infrastructure provides high-throughput parallelized processing of imaging data using FreeSurfer, SPM, FSL, AFNI, and other local processing software. Working with High Performance Computing at the University of Florida, we have created a state-of-the-art semi-automated imaging pipeline for rapid processing of large imaging datasets, as well as a variety of automated quality control reporting mechanisms.
  • Small Animal: ARMIS houses various MRI machines of differing field strengths for animal imaging: horizontal 4.7 Tesla and 11 Tesla systems and a vertical wide bore 17.6 Tesla system. It also houses various high field systems used for ex vivo imaging and spectroscopy (two 14 Tesla, one 11.7 Tesla, one 5 Tesla dynamic nuclear polarizer, and two 3-Tesla human whole-body system) all within the same facility. Radiofrequency devices (2 rat coil systems) are available for imaging rodents on the 4.7 Tesla and the 11 Tesla systems. Learn more.
Researchers using an M-R-I machine