Directed Brain Connectivity Identifies Widespread Functional Network Abnormalities in Parkinson’s Disease
Mite Mijalkov, Giovanni Volpe, Joana B Pereira
Cerebral Cortex, bhab237 (2021)
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by topological abnormalities in large-scale functional brain networks, which are commonly analyzed using undirected correlations in the activation signals between brain regions. This approach assumes simultaneous activation of brain regions, despite previous evidence showing that brain activation entails causality, with signals being typically generated in one region and then propagated to other ones. To address this limitation, here, we developed a new method to assess whole-brain directed functional connectivity in participants with PD and healthy controls using antisymmetric delayed correlations, which capture better this underlying causality. Our results show that whole-brain directed connectivity, computed on functional magnetic resonance imaging data, identifies widespread differences in the functional networks of PD participants compared with controls, in contrast to undirected methods. These differences are characterized by increased global efficiency, clustering, and transitivity combined with lower modularity. Moreover, directed connectivity patterns in the precuneus, thalamus, and cerebellum were associated with motor, executive, and memory deficits in PD participants. Altogether, these findings suggest that directional brain connectivity is more sensitive to functional network differences occurring in PD compared with standard methods, opening new opportunities for brain connectivity analysis and development of new markers to track PD progression.
Microscopic Metavehicles Powered and Steered by Embedded Optical Metasurfaces
Daniel Andrén, Denis G. Baranov, Steven Jones, Giovanni Volpe, Ruggero Verre, Mikael Käll
Nat. Nanotechnol. (2021)
Nanostructured dielectric metasurfaces offer unprecedented opportunities to manipulate light by imprinting an arbitrary phase gradient on an impinging wavefront. This has resulted in the realization of a range of flat analogues to classical optical components, such as lenses, waveplates and axicons. However, the change in linear and angular optical momentum associated with phase manipulation also results in previously unexploited forces and torques that act on the metasurface itself. Here we show that these optomechanical effects can be utilized to construct optical metavehicles – microscopic particles that can travel long distances under low-intensity plane-wave illumination while being steered by the polarization of the incident light. We demonstrate movement in complex patterns, self-correcting motion and an application as transport vehicles for microscopic cargoes, which include unicellular organisms. The abundance of possible optical metasurfaces attests to the prospect of developing a wide variety of metavehicles with specialized functional behaviours.
Extracting quantitative biological information from bright-field cell images using deep learning
Saga Helgadottir, Benjamin Midtvedt, Jesús Pineda, Alan Sabirsh, Caroline B. Adiels, Stefano Romeo, Daniel Midtvedt, Giovanni Volpe
Biophysics Rev. 2, 031401 (2021)
Quantitative analysis of cell structures is essential for biomedical and pharmaceutical research. The standard imaging approach relies on fluorescence microscopy, where cell structures of interest are labeled by chemical staining techniques. However, these techniques are often invasive and sometimes even toxic to the cells, in addition to being time-consuming, labor-intensive, and expensive. Here, we introduce an alternative deep-learning-powered approach based on the analysis of bright-field images by a conditional generative adversarial neural network (cGAN). We show that this approach can extract information from the bright-field images to generate virtually-stained images, which can be used in subsequent downstream quantitative analyses of cell structures. Specifically, we train a cGAN to virtually stain lipid droplets, cytoplasm, and nuclei using bright-field images of human stem-cell-derived fat cells (adipocytes), which are of particular interest for nanomedicine and vaccine development. Subsequently, we use these virtually-stained images to extract quantitative measures about these cell structures. Generating virtually-stained fluorescence images is less invasive, less expensive, and more reproducible than standard chemical staining; furthermore, it frees up the fluorescence microscopy channels for other analytical probes, thus increasing the amount of information that can be extracted from each cell.
Laura Pérez presented the work “FORMA and BEFORE: expanding applications of optical tweezers” at the ELS conference (online) on the 13th of July.
The main objective of the Electromagnetic and Light Scattering Conference (ELS) is to bring together scientists and engineers studying various aspects of light scattering and to provide a relaxed academic atmosphere for in-depth discussions of theoretical advances, measurements, and applications.
FORMA and BEFORE: Expanding Applications of Optical Tweezers. Laura Pérez Garcia, Martin Selin, Alejandro V. Arzola, Giovanni Volpe, Alessandro Magazzù, Isaac Pérez Castillo.
ELS 2021 Date: 13 July 2021 Time: 15:45 (CEST)
FORMA (force reconstruction via maximum-likelihood-estimator analysis) addresses the need to measure the force fields acting on microscopic particles. Compared to alternative established methods, FORMA is faster, simpler, more accurate, and more precise. Furthermore, FORMA can also measure non-conservative and out-of-equilibrium force fields. Here, after a brief introduction to FORMA, I will present its use, advantages, and limitations. I will conclude with the most recent work where we exploit Bayesian inference to expand FORMA’s scope of application.