Blood flow may reveal how we think

A UW-Milwaukee engineer is building a device that could help answer a particularly puzzling biological question – how blood is directed to the brain to power thinking.

Charting the complex brain networks involved in information processing is the first step in preventing diseases like Alzheimer’s or strokes.

Brain cells called neurons need oxygen and glucose to process information. Blood delivers these metabolic products. But there is another kind of brain cell, an astrocyte, that sits between the neurons and the muscle cells that control blood flow.

Ramin Pashaie, an associate professor of electrical engineering, has received a prestigious CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to develop equipment with high-resolution imaging that will reveal and quantify the role played by each type of brain cell and how the types work together.