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This presentation will explore Magnetic Resonance (MR) visible probes to target image intracellular gene
transcription activator proteins that are induced by drugs of addiction. Drug addiction is a major health problem
that severely hampers the productivity of many members of our society. While studies indicate that drug
addiction results from combined influences of genes and environment, recent studies suggest that epigenetic
modifications of gene transcription factors may play an important role in the develop\ment of addictions in
humans. Advances in cellular and molecular biology in the past century have led to identification of novel gene
markers, the signaling pathways they influence and gene activities they regulate. With biopsy the only source of
tissue for conventional assays, such studies are not permitted in humans. We will present our effort to develop
and investigate a targeted MR imgaing technique and to apply it for studies of drug addiction in a series of live
brains. Three such activities that they have shown modification in in studies of drug addiction are intracellular
protein coding (messenger RNA) and noncoding (microRNA) and activator protein-1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor
kappa-beta (NF-k-b). Our efforts for validation of such technology for gene actions in living brains include
using a transgenic mouse that is unable to produce a functional AP-1 protein to bind at the AP-1 site and blocks
sensitization of drugs of abuse.
Philip K. Liu has completed his Ph.D. from Michigan State University and postdoctoral studies from the Department of Pathology,
University of Washington Medical School. He is an associate biologist and Associate Professor of Radiology at Massachusetts
General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He has published more than 45 peer-reviewed papers in reputed journals.
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