Date of Award

Spring 4-5-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

A. G. Unil Perera

Second Advisor

Mukesh Dhamala

Third Advisor

Brian Thoms

Fourth Advisor

Michael Crenshaw


Regional tissue temperature dynamics in the brain are determined by the balance of the metabolic heat production rate and heat exchange with blood flowing through capillaries embedded in the brain tissue, the surrounding tissues and the environment. Local changes in blood flow and metabolism during functional activity can upset this balance and induce transient temperature changes. Invasive experimental studies in animal models have estab- lished that the brain temperature changes during functional activity are observable and a definitive relationship exists between temperature and brain activity. We present a theoreti- cal framework that links tissue temperature dynamics with hemodynamic activity allowing us to non-invasively estimate brain temperature changes from experimentally measured blood- oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signals. With this unified approach, we are able to pinpoint the mechanisms for hemodynamic activity-related temperature increases and decreases. In addition to these results, the potential uses and limitations of optical measurements are dis- cussed.