14 April 2020

The team of Alan Urban has shared their latest work: it's the first pre-print on volumetric functional ultrasound imaging (vfUSI) of brain-wide circuits dynamics in behaving mice, now available at In less than one day this paper hit the top 5% percentile of red, having been selected as a Promising Preprint - and it is promising!

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“This work focused on the development of a neurotechnology platform of high performance that neuroscientists can easily integrate into their routine experiments in order to gain access to the spatiotemporal dynamics of brain-wide activity during behavior.” – Clement Brunner, NERF postdoc and co-first author of this study.

“We developed a platform for brain-wide vfUSI of awake head-fixed rodents. We standardized data registration and segmentation based on the Allen Mouse Brain Atlas allowing for temporal analysis in 268 individual brain regions.” – added Micheline Grillet, co-first author of the study.

The newly developed vfUSI system underwent a battery of experiments:

  • Resolution and specificity: vfUSI can detect the activated brain region of a single whisker stimulation in mice and rats.
  • Activation map of the visual system: in just a few trials sustained increases in activity are detected and reproducible.
  • In combination with optogenetic tools – this study in collaboration with Arnau Sans Dublanc from the Farrow Lab showed selectively that activation of distinct cell types in the superior colliculus elicited reliable hemodynamic responses in distributed areas across the brain revealing cell-specific activity across several synapses.
  • Identification of large-scale circuits during a complex behavior task – revealed the pattern of activity in cortical and subcortical regions in both hemispheres but also activated regions involved in higher-level functions such as feeding behavior, reward anticipation, decision-making, memory and even behavioral arousal.
"vfUSI will become a key neuroimaging technology and a credible alternative to BOLD-fMRI in preclinical research while offering a better spatiotemporal resolution, versatility, ease of use, and affordability." - Alan Urban
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