Brain Development Imaging Laboratory
Dr. Müller’s lab, the Brain Development Imaging Laboratory, occupies over 2,000 square feet near the SDSU campus, including 8 offices for students and postdoctoral researchers, a large computer lab, and a testing room with stimulus presentation hardware and software and multiple button-box response systems. Shared use of two conference rooms within the building is also available.
A wide array of software for all necessary components of stimulus presentation, response logging, data preprocessing and analysis (behavioral and neuroimaging), statistical analyses, visualization, and preparation for publication is available. Computer equipment includes 8 UNIX compatible workstations (each with 14-64GB memory) for high-speed functional MRI data processing and analysis. Currently available storage space for fMRI data totals about 50 Terabyte, including over 25 Terabyte external and portable hard disk space.
Center for Behavioral Teratology (CBT)
Dr. Mattson and Dr. Riley, faculty members in the CBT, which is a University-wide center at San Diego State University (SDSU) focused on the study of brain and behavioral changes associated with prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol. Faculty within the CBT are involved in various projects aimed at understanding FASD. Current clinical research projects include assessment of brain and behavior in individuals with FASD and studies of attention in FASD.
The CBT recently moved to newly renovated space and occupies over 7,000 sq. ft. of office and testing space on the first floor of a medical office building dedicated to research. There are 6 testing rooms equipped with one-way mirrors and video equipment. All staff members are provided offices with computers. The CBT also includes a conference room, library, and work area for students and staff.
The CBT is equipped with a recently acquired MRI simulator, which allows us to acclimate subjects to the scanning environment prior to the actual test session. This will reduce motion and anxiety during the scanning session, which will reduce the amount of data lost to motion artifact or behavioral issues during testing. Prior to testing, all subjects will be scheduled for a standardized mock MRI session at the CBT, which will mimic the auditory and tactile features of the scanner as well as provide an opportunity to practice tasks similar to the ones used in the fMRI protocol. Since initiating use of the mock scanner, we have reduced the amount of data lost to motion artifact from 25% to less than 10%.
All neuropsychological testing will be conducted within the Center for Behavioral Teratology. There are 6 testing rooms dedicated to the CBT, equipped with video and/or one-way viewing capabilities. The four primary testing rooms have been equipped with two Bosch minidome color cameras strategically placed to provide comprehensive video coverage of the entire testing environment, while the other two rooms contain ambulatory video cameras and/or one-way viewing glass. Additionally, a Louroe audio system has been installed to record all vocalizations within the rooms. Both audio and video feeds are relayed to a Bosch eight channel DVR with 1TB of storage and subsequently transferred onto DVD.
Laboratory for Language and Cognitive Neuroscience
LLCN (Dr. Emmorey, Director) consists of 4,000 square feet of space owned and maintained by the SDSU Research Foundation. This space is divided into offices equipped with flashing doorbells and video relay phones for the Principal Investigator, deaf Research Scientists, and deaf Research Assistants. The lab also has two large common work areas with computer workstations for graduate students, SDSU undergraduate students and volunteers, and visiting scholars. The lab is equipped with three experimental testing rooms and a professional video studio to film and edit sign language stimuli. In addition, the lab has a dedicated server room, a conference room/library for project meetings, and a large central area for hosting a community based lecture series.
The Language and Neuroscience Group (LANG)
Co-directed by Drs. Shapiro and Love, the LANG lab is a state-of-the-art facility for examining real-time language and cognitive processes in neurologically unimpaired (young and old) individuals and those with aphasia, as well as children with and without language disorders. The lab has two sites.
The off-campus site (at the Alvarado medical complex) is a 2,940 square foot suite which includes 4 (8ft x 5ft) independent sound-isolated response rooms for subject testing, each room equipped with state of the art computer testing set ups that allow for high quality video and auditory presentation with millisecond accurate delivery and response acquisition. All testing space is wheelchair accessible and includes videotaping facilities. The space includes a large conference room, space and equipment for high-end neuroimaging analysis, a multi-functional resource/analysis room with 8 computer set ups (MAC and PC) for research assistants to process data, lab manager and research scientist offices, and a large child-friendly waiting area. The suite is ADA compliant.
The on-campus site at SDSU currently has 4 sound isolated testing suites, each 7ft x 9ft and each equipped with 2 computer workstations and on-line processing hardware/software, as well as ergonomically designed button press response boxes that can be used with either one or two hands. These setups allow the simultaneous testing of approximately 8 participants. There is an additional sound isolated room with sound recording hardware and software designed solely for digitizing, manipulating, and timing speech. There is also a large control room with computers for data storage and analysis, and space for research assistants. Three Tobii eye-trackers are used across both suites; each can sample data at 60Hz (one sample/17ms).
Center for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
The Center for Functional MRI (CFMRI) at UCSD is located approximately 15 miles from SDSU and houses two human imaging systems: both are 3T short bore, full body scanners (GE Discovery MR 750). Both systems are equipped for state-of-the-art high resolution structural imaging, dynamic imaging (echo-planar imaging), and proton and phosphorous magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Available RF coils include integrated body coils, a Nova Medical 32-channel head coil, Invivo 8-channel head coils, and GE flexible surface coils. Video and physiological monitoring and eye tracking equipment are also available for use. Technical expertise is provided by a core faculty and members of the CFMRI technical staff as needed, and training in various aspects of biomedical imaging is available at both the pre- and post-doctoral levels in collaboration with other UCSD faculty and staff. Additional facilities at the center, fully available to the project, include a mock scanner which simulates the looks, sound, and feel of a real MRI scanner, allowing subjects to experience a simulated scan prior to their actual scanning session (increasing the successful rate of data acquisition and data quality), two research subject examination rooms, a waiting area, and a machine shop for creating custom equipment if needed (e.g. response devices).