Department of Neurosciences
Case Western Reserve University
School of Medicine, Robbins E-725
Our research focuses on the biophysical mechanisms underlying neuronal synchronization and the formation of spatiotemporal patterns of neural activity. To this end, we apply a multidisciplinary approach that combines electrophysiology and imaging techniques with mathematical and computational models.
In particular, we investigate the emergence and extension of synchronized spontaneous activity in acute cortical slices of the mouse brain and compare the results with the predictions of theoretical models. In these studies we translate to the cortex the techniques that we have previously used in the study of the neural dynamics in the olfactory bulb.
From a broader perspective, we are interested in the functional role of brain rhythms. Synchrony and other forms of coherent behavior in neural networks are thought to facilitate the processing of sensory and motor information in the brain. Interestingly, an alteration of neural synchronization and EEG rhythms in different brain areas correlates with pathologies like epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease (synchrony excess), autism, short-term memory loss and schizophrenia (synchrony deficit). Also, in the absence of stimulation, neural circuits frequently display spatiotemporal patterns of spontaneous activity that, if properly analyzed, inform us about the underlying connectivity and modularity of the circuits. Our lab is developing experimental and computational tools to perform these analyses in brain preparations efficiently.