FLIM plaque

Bacskai Lab at MIND

Brian Bacskai's laboratory uses sophisticated optical techniques to address fundamental questions in Alzheimer's disease research.


Using the mulitphoton micrsocopy imaging technique, senile plaques of Alzheimer's disease can be detected in the brains of living transgenic mice, and characterized with chronic imaging.

This detection platform was used to characterize a therapeutic approach to clearing the senile plaques based on immunotherapy, as well as to characterize novel amyloid-targeting ligands in preclinical development for PET imaging in humans.

Current research is aimed at optimizing anti-amyloid- therapeutic approaches, and imaging the anatomy and physiology of specific cell types in the brain before and after treatment. Development of novel optical techniques is ongoing, and includes methods to measure protein-protein interactions using fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM), and non-invasive approaches to amyloid imaging in intact animals.

Group Members

Principal Investigator

Brian J. Bacskai, PhD

Brian J. Bacskai, PhD

  • Professor of Neurology,
    Harvard Medical School
  • Principal Investigator, Neurology,
    Massachusetts General Hospital

Lab Members

  • Maria Calvo Rodriguez, PhD
  • Patricia Kelly, PhD
  • Rebecca Gillani, MD, PhD
  • Steve Hou, PhD
  • Susanne Van Veluw, PhD

Research Projects

Bacskai lab

Serial in-vivo imaging of ceregral amyloid agiopathy (CAA) in a Tg2576 mouse starting at 10.3 months. The images shown are at the 4th, 5th and 6th week of imaging. CAA deposition proceeds mostly through propagation of existing deposits. Robbins et al.

Amyloid plaques alter the morphology and trajectory of neurites in-vivo. GFP filled neurites (in green) curve around the plaque (blue, stained with methoxy-XO4, rather than penetrating the plaque. The arrow indicates a distrophic neurite. Blood vessels contain Texas Red Dextran. Spires et al.

A FLIM pseudocolor representation of a senile plaque labeled with fluorescent 3d6 and 10d5 exhibiting fluorescence energy transfer (FRET). Lifetimes are not uniform throughout the plaque, but rather show a reduction at the periphery (red) as compared to the core (blue/green). Bacskai et al.

F(ab)2 fragments of 3d6 are equally effective as full length 3d6 at clearing away diffuse amyloid.(green) after three days in the PDAPP mouse model. Bacskai et al.

Dense core plaques activate the fluorogenic activator Amplex Red in-vivo (A). Histochemical marker ThioFlavin-S confirms the presence of the dense core plaque (C). McLellan et. al.

Imaging of an intact mouse brain from a 22 month Tg2576 mouse imaged after staining with ThioFlavin-S. By 22 months, Tg2576 mice develop extensive CAA. Domnitz et. al.

Research Positions

Read about and apply for residency, fellowship and observership programs in Pathology athttp://www.massgeneral.org/pathology/training/ or in Neurology at http://www.massgeneral.org/neurology/education/.

All applicants should register with the Mass General Careers Web site at http://www.massgeneral.org/careers/viewall.aspx.

Request a list of current open Neurology positions at mghneurologyjobs@partners.org.



Contact Us

MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease

Building 114, Charlestown Navy Yard

114 16th Street, Room 2003Mailcode: CNY B114-2-2003 Charlestown, MA 02129
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible
  • Phone: 617-726-2000
  • Fax: 617-724-1480

How to Apply for Positions

How to apply for jobs: Send an e-mail to mghneurologyjobs@partners.org to receive an automated e-mail with full instructions for all types of positions.

Fundraising Contact

Contact Krista McCabe in the Mass General Development office at 617-726-1392 or KMCCABE@PARTNERS.ORG.


Anne B. Young, MD, PhD
Director, Massgeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease 
Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School

Clinical Appointments, Consultations & Clinical Trials

Please visit the main Neurology Service Contact page for all other contact information.

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