The overall goal of the STRONG STAR Neuroimaging Core is to foster the use of advanced neuroimaging methods in the study of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) for the purposes of:
- investigating the underlying pathology (using structural imaging) and pathophysiology (using functional imaging);
- assessing and enhancing the diagnostic sensitivity of imaging methods; and
- investigating the neurophysiology of treatment response (image response assessment).
The Neuroimaging Core is provided by the Research Imaging Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and operates as a research resource available to all STRONG STAR investigators and to other investigators engaged in research studies of relevance to the Consortium's mission. The Research Imaging Institute supports numerous state-of-the-art brain-imaging devices and support systems for species ranging from rodent to human, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), positron emission tomography (PET), and event-related potentials (ERP).
The Research Imaging Institute has served as a regional research resource for the past 17 years, including seven years as an NCRR Imaging Core, a designation by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). STRONG STAR’s Neuroimaging Core is modeled after this highly successful NCRR Imaging Core, in which funding is equally divided between support for core activities (imaging-project consultation and collaboration and imaging technology development) and support for imaging pilot projects by Consortium investigators. Pilot and supplemental funding for imaging is appropriated through a peer review process, with the review committee being composed of both RIC imaging experts and the Consortium Investigator's Committee. We anticipate that this model will generate a broad portfolio of state-of-the-art neuroimaging projects that will advance scientific understanding of and improved treatment options for PTSD and related disorders.