Bistra Iordanova

Assistant Professor
Lab website Google scholar Bioengineering Department


My lab develops multimodal neuroimaging platforms to explore systems-level neurovascular and metabolic events during neurogenesis, normal development and neurodegeneration. We are interested in the life of brain cells inside living animals, particularly in the context of neuronal activity, oxygen and glucose metabolism. We deliver an integrative view on the dynamic neurovascular coupling and neuroenergetics in rodent dementia models, particularly Alzheimer’s Disease. The objective is to uncover and probe the cell-specific signaling pathways behind the vascular and metabolic contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia. Recently, we also began to investigate the sex-specific changes in the brain metabolism and neurovascular health that drive differences in etiology, onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. We aim to provide mechanistic insights into the neurometabolic and vascular deficits of vulnerable populations and motivate tailored therapeutics that can benefit all humans. We employ a set of interdisciplinary approaches that combine molecular tools such as optogenetics and reporter protein design with systems-level methods such as in vivo multichannel electrophysiology, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, two-photon and intrinsic optical imaging. We collect multi-modal datasets and use bioimage and signal processing algorithms to identify accessible molecular targets connected to brain dysfunction.


(2019 - 2020) Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Seed Grant.

(2017 - 2020) Alzheimer’s Association Research Fellowship ($175K).

(2016) Alzheimer’s Imaging Consortium Fellowship.

(2016 - 2017) NINDS T32 Training Fellowship, Neurobiology of Neurological Disease.

(2012) International Society of MR in Medicine - Summa Cum Laude Award.

(2007 - 2010) National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

PhD, Carnegie Mellon University, 2005 - 2011

Fitz, N.F., Nam, K.N., Wolfe, C.M., Letronne, F., Playso, B.E., Iordanova, B.E., Kozai, T.D.Y., Biedrzycki, R.J., Kagan, V.E., Tyurina, Y.Y., Han, X., Lefterov, I., & Koldamova, R. (2021). Phospholipids of APOE lipoproteins activate microglia in an isoform-specific manner in preclinical models of Alzheimer's disease. Nat Commun, 12(1), 3416.Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23762-0.

Poplawsky, A.J., Iordanova, B., Vazquez, A.L., Kim, S.G., & Fukuda, M. (2021). Postsynaptic activity of inhibitory neurons evokes hemodynamic fMRI responses. NEUROIMAGE, 225, 117457.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117457.

Iordanova, B., Fukuda, M., Klunk, W., & Vazquez, A.L. (2019). Vascular and metabolic dysfunctions in APP/PS1 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. JOURNAL OF CEREBRAL BLOOD FLOW AND METABOLISM, 39, 44-45.

Iordanova, B., Klunk, W.E., & Vazquez, A.L. (2018). P1-441: HYPERCAPNIA EXPOSES DEFICIENCIES IN CEREBROVASCULAR RESPONSE AND TISSUE OXYGENATION IN TRANSGENIC AD MICE. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 14(7S_Part_8), P480.Wiley. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2018.06.450.

Iordanova, B., Vazquez, A., Kozai, T.D., Fukuda, M., & Kim, S.G. (2018). Optogenetic investigation of the variable neurovascular coupling along the interhemispheric circuits. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, 38(4), 627-640.SAGE Publications. doi: 10.1177/0271678X18755225.

Jin, T., Iordanova, B., Hitchens, T.K., Modo, M., Wang, P., Mehrens, H., & Kim, S.G. (2018). Chemical exchange-sensitive spin-lock (CESL) MRI of glucose and analogs in brain tumors. Magn Reson Med, 80(2), 488-495.Wiley. doi: 10.1002/mrm.27183.

Koldamova, R., Lefterov, I., Fitz, N.F., Nam, K.N., Wolfe, C.M., Iordanova, B.Koldamova, R., Lefterov, I. (2018). P4-051: EFFECT OF APOE ISOFORM ON MICROGLIAL RESPONSE TO AMYLOID-BETA. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 14(7S_Part_27), P1453.Wiley. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2018.06.2454.

Iordanova, B., Li, L., Clark, R.S.B., & Manole, M.D. (2017). Alterations in Cerebral Blood Flow after Resuscitation from Cardiac Arrest. Front Pediatr, 5, 174.Frontiers Media SA. doi: 10.3389/fped.2017.00174.

Iordanova, B., Murphy, M.C., Klunk, W.E., & Vazquez, A.L. (2016). P4-093: In Vivo NADH Fluorescence Imaging of Double Transgenic Alzheimer's Disease Mice Reveals Chronic Tissue Hypoxia. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 12, P1047-P1048.Wiley. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2016.06.2182.

Iordanova, B., Murphy, M.C., Klunk, W.E., & Vazquez, A.L. (2016). IC-P-030: In Vivo Nadh Fluorescence Imaging of Double Transgenic Ad Mice Reveals Chronic Tissue Hypoxia. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 12, P30-P31.Wiley. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2016.06.040.

Iordanova, B., Vazquez, A.L., Poplawsky, A.J., Fukuda, M., & Kim, S.G. (2015). Neural and hemodynamic responses to optogenetic and sensory stimulation in the rat somato sensory cortex. JOURNAL OF CEREBRAL BLOOD FLOW AND METABOLISM, 35(6), 922-932.SAGE Publications. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2015.10.

Iordanova, B., Goins, W.F., Clawson, D.S., Hitchens, T.K., & Ahrens, E.T. (2013). Quantification of HSV-1-mediated expression of the ferritin MRI reporter in the mouse brain. GENE THERAPY, 20(6), 589-596.Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1038/gt.2012.70.

Iordanova, B., Hitchens, T.K., Robison, C.S., & Ahrens, E.T. (2013). Engineered Mitochondrial Ferritin as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging Reporter in Mouse Olfactory Epithelium. PLOS ONE, 8(8), e72720.Public Library of Science (PLoS). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072720.

Iordanova, B., & Ahrens, E.T. (2012). In vivo magnetic resonance imaging of ferritin-based reporter visualizes native neuroblast migration. NEUROIMAGE, 59(2), 1004-1012.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.08.068.

Iordanova, B., & Ahrens, E.T. (2012). MRI Reporter Genes for Cancer Research. In Molecular Imaging Probes for Cancer Research. (pp. 715-731).WORLD SCIENTIFIC. doi: 10.1142/9789814293686_0024.

Iordanova, B., Robison, C.S., & Ahrens, E.T. (2010). Design and characterization of a chimeric ferritin with enhanced iron loading and transverse NMR relaxation rate. JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL INORGANIC CHEMISTRY, 15(6), 957-965.Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi: 10.1007/s00775-010-0657-7.

Iordanova, B., Robison, C.S., Goins, W.F., & Ahrens, E.T. (2010). Single chain ferritin chimera as an improved MRI gene reporter. Prilozi, 31(2), 151-155.

Iordanova, B., Rosenbaum, D., Norman, D., Weiner, M., & Studholme, C. (2006). MR imaging anatomy in neurodegeneration: A robust volumetric parcellation method of the frontal lobe gyri with quantitative validation in patients with dementia. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF NEURORADIOLOGY, 27(8), 1747-1754.

Rousseau, F., Glenn, O.A., Iordanova, B., Rodriguez-Carranza, C., Vigneron, D.B., Barkovich, J.A., & Studholme, C. (2006). Registration-based approach for reconstruction of high-resolution in utero fetal MR brain images. ACADEMIC RADIOLOGY, 13(9), 1072-1081.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2006.05.003.

Studholme, C., Drapaca, C., Iordanova, B., & Cardenas, V. (2006). Deformation-based mapping of volume change from serial brain MRI in the presence of local tissue contrast change. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON MEDICAL IMAGING, 25(5), 626-639.Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). doi: 10.1109/TMI.2006.872745.

Rousseau, F., Glenn, O., Iordanova, B., Rodriguez-Carranza, C., Vigneron, D., Barkovich, J., & Studholme, C. (2005). A novel approach to high resolution fetal brain MR imaging. MEDICAL IMAGE COMPUTING AND COMPUTER-ASSISTED INTERVENTION - MICCAI 2005, PT 1, 3749(Pt 1), 548-555.Springer Berlin Heidelberg. doi: 10.1007/11566465_68.

Rousseau, F., Glenn, O., Iordanova, B., Rodriguez-Carranza, C., Vigneron, D., Barkovich, J., & Studholme, C. (2005). A novel approach to high resolution fetal brain MR imaging. Medical image computing and computer-assisted intervention : MICCAI ... International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention, 8(Pt 1), 548-555.

Fukuda, M., Poplawsky, A.J., Iordanova, B., Vazquez, A.L., & Kim, S.G. (2019). Coupling of neuronal activity to blood flow in dendrodendritic synapses is mediated by postsynaptic gabaergic cells in olfactory bulb. In JOURNAL OF CEREBRAL BLOOD FLOW AND METABOLISM, 39, (pp. 239-240).

Rodriguez-Carranza, C.E., Rousseau, F., Iordanova, B., Glenn, O., Vigneron, D., Barkovich, J., & Studholme, C. (2006). An ISO-surface folding analysis method applied to premature neonatal brain development. In Medical Imaging 2006: Image Processing, 6144 I.SPIE. doi: 10.1117/12.652516.

Research interests

Adult neurogenesis
Bioimaging and signal processing
Brain imaging
Brain metabolism
Neurodegenerative diseases
Neurovascular coupling