Neuroanatomy Lab

The University of Minnesota Neuroanatomy Lab is a joint venture between the Neurosurgery and Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery Departments.

Overseen by neurosurgeon Andrew Grande, MD, and otolaryngologist Emiro Caicedo-Granados, MD. The lab supports Neuroanatomy Fellows, neurosurgery and radiology residents, and medical students. In addition to helping participants learn neuroanatomy and/or enhance their neuroanatomical skills through dissection, research is conducted in the lab. Projects may explore specific anatomical areas in the head and neck or dissect particular pathways or tracts in the brain. A selection of these projects includes:

  • Microsurgical and tractography studies of the supplementary motor area complex in the human brain
  • Anatomical study of selective amygdalohippocampectomies (removal of the hippocampus)
  • Classification according to dome projection of middle cerebral artery bifurcating aneurysms with lateral supraorbital approach in different head positions
  • Comparing three approaches (paternal, supraorbital, and orbitozygomatic) with landmarks for the anterior cerebral circulation
  • Comparing horizontal interhemispheric approaches with the transsylvian approach for anterior communicating artery aneurysms
  • Comparing diffuse tensor imaging (DTI) quantitative measures obtained directly from tract dissection done under a microscope with three-dimensional images generated on a 3D laser scanner (part of the Human Connectome Project)
  • Improving the safety of conventional cerebral angiography in patients with a high risk for contrast-induced nephropathy (oral presentation by Fellow Guarav Sandhu accepted for 2016 American Society of Neuroradiology meeting, May 21 – 26, in Washington, DC).

In addition, a three-phase aneurysm project includes:

  1. Generating 3D pictures from MRI and CT angiograms of intracranial aneurysms ranging in size from 2 – 7 mm and calculating surface area and volume for both ruptured and unruptured to see if these variables can be used instead of size as better predictors of rupture risk (oral presentation by Fellow Guarav Sandhu accepted for 2016 American Society of Neuroradiology meeting, May 21 – 26, in Washington, DC)
  2. Working with the University of Minnesota aerospace lab using particle image velocimetry and flow MRIs to print 3D watershed models of these aneurysms and measure flow velocity, wall shear stress, and other variables that might contribute to some aneurysms having higher risk of rupture than others
  3. Creating a prospective study using flow MRI to look at the above variables in patients with untreated aneurysms.

Other educational programs are routinely conducted in the Neuroanatomy Lab under the direction of Sean Moen, lab director. Several times a year, Moen will create and conduct advanced neuroanatomy courses for medical device sales representatives to improve their knowledge of neuroanatomy.

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