Facilities and Technologies
Facilities and Technologies at the Center for Mind and Brain
The Center for Mind and Brain is located in two adjacent new buildings near the UC Davis campus. The CMB main building is located at 267 Cousteau Place. This 23,000 gross sq. ft. building houses the CMB administrative offices, common space, and ten faculty laboratories. Adjacent to this facility at 202 Cousteau Place is an additional facility cooperatively managed with Psychology that includes an additional eight laboratories of CMB core faculty members. Conference rooms for colloquia, seminars, workshops, graduate classes and research meetings are in each location. Additional space for shared use include waiting rooms and reception areas. For directions see http://mindbrain.ucdavis.edu/about/directions-to-the-cmb.
The CMB is a leading international site for EEG and ERP research with ten 128-channel EEG systems located in specialized shielded and sound proofed recording labs. Systems at the CMB include the new Neuroscan Synamps 2 systems and the Biosemi Active Electrode systems (see also Simultaneous EEG and fMRI below).
The CMB also supports important training opportunities in cognitive electrophysiology. Every year, an NIH-supported summer school – the ERP Boot Camp -- is led by Program Director, Dr. Steven Luck, who has decades of experience that includes both basic science research in cognitive neuroscience and translational research in psychiatry and neurology. The summer school includes the participation of faculty and staff of the CMB, as well as invited visiting faculty. The participants are recruited from around the world by advertisement from a variety of research domains, including cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, linguistics, gerontology, speech pathology, and reading disorders.
The CMB is also the development site for a new NIH-funded ERP data analysis package, ERPLAB Toolbox.
Researchers at the CMB make extensive use of the magnetic resonance imaging scanners operated by the Imaging Research Center (IRC, http://ucdirc.ucdavis.edu/). Two research-only scanners are currently available, and a third system will be coming on line in 2011. The 3T Siemens Trio whole body is configured for both human and animal imaging research. This system has short-bore (2 meter length) magnet, a fast gradient system that provides high-speed brain imaging for fMRI as well as regular body imaging, a parallel data acquisition system with eight 1 MHz channels of signal reception for enhanced imaging speed and for parallel imaging (e.g. SENSE, SMASH techniques), as well as multinuclear spectroscopy (MNS) hardware including a 2nd RF transmitter for dynamic polarization studies. The gradient rise time (200 mT/m/ms), peak gradient strength (40 mT/m per axis) and duty cycle (up to 25 64x64 echo-planar images per second) are the best in the industry for whole body systems. Parallel imaging technology allows EPI images to be acquired with higher temporal resolution and with less distortion, providing novel functional imaging studies to be performed.
The IRC also supports a Neuroscan Maglink 128-channel system for simultaneous EEG/ERP recording in the 3T MRI system. One of few operational systems in North America, the system, which has custom upgrades from and provides a powerful tool for high temporal resolution. Specialized electronics, recording materials and analysis algorithms permit EEG/ERPs to be recorded in the high magnetic field of the 3T scanner. This permits a complete coregistration of the electrical and blood flow signals from the two modalities, yielding information about the functional anatomy (from MRI) and the time course (from EEG/ERPs) of cognitive brain activity.
The TMS lab at the CMB includes a MAGSTIM Superapid TMS System, with a BrainSite Stereotaxic Alignment module which includes a position tracker and software for coregistration of the magnetic stimulating coil over target brain loci using either skull landmarks or information from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the subject’s brain. A visual and auditory stimulation system and behavioral response and analysis system is in place in the lab.
Numerous behavioral testing suites are located in the CMB, including those with specialized auditory and visual stimulus presentation equipment and eye tracking capability. These suites permit testing of infants, children, adults and patients of all ages in studies of typical developing and adult cognition and perception, and investigation of disorders across the lifespan.
CMB Computing Infrastructure
The CMB Computing Facility occupies over 800 sq. ft. of space, including two data centers (one 100 sq. ft. at 202 Cousteau, and another of 250 sq. ft. at 267 Cousteau), each of which is environmentally monitored (temperature, humidity, leak, vibration, and smoke detection) and cooled by dedicated and redundant five-ton Liebert air conditioning units providing over 120,000 BTU of cooling capacity. Each data center contains sufficient and expandable battery backup capacity for existing and future needs, and the larger center at 267 Cousteau contains an industrial Liebert uninterruptible power supply (50 kVA) which provides backup power to both the data center and the human electrophysiology labs, and a Sabah FM200 equipment-safe fire suppression system.
The CMB data center also hosts a 30-processor Linux-based computing cluster with a total of 100GB memory (RAM) used for parallel processing of ERP and fMRI data. At present, archiving capabilities includes more than 50 terabytes of hard disk storage and an automated tape silo with a total capacity of over 24 terabytes (Overland Neo 4000, using Ultrium-2 tapes). The CMB has an internal gigabit Ethernet research network and is connected to the campus and Imaging Research Center at UCDMC over dual gigabit fiber links.
The data center makes a significant portion of space available to other campus departments for hosting off-site backups and server equipment. The CMB systems administrators strive to make the most efficient use of power and cooling by employing server virtualization whenever possible. This has allowed us to reduce the amount of server equipment used by 1/3 from the initial deployment in 2003. The data center is supported by CMB general funds and augmented as required by research from the startup and extramural grant support of the faculty. The computer facilities are maintained by two full-time systems administrators, Jeremy Smith and Chris Brick, and one student assistant (the latter for primarily helpdesk and desktop support).