Project: Research project

Project Details


The PI is a Neurophysiologist and Pediatric Neurosurgeon who will be the
Associate Director of Center V (Behavioral and Neurobiology Research), with
special responsibility for Neurobiology programs, at the Children"s
Research Institute. This RCA will permit the PI to devote nearly full time
to research.

Short term goals are to test the hypothesis that neuronal ensembles have
nonlinear deterministic properties. If so, they will 1) have activity that
can be characterized and controlled through unstable periodic orbits, 2)
hen noise driven will exhibit stochastic resonance, and 3) because of
coupling will exhibit generalized (nonlinear) synchrony and emergence.
Long-term goals are to achieve a better understanding of neuronal network
and brain behavior, and to develop novel methods of treating dynamical

The research project will involve theoretical work on the detection of
unstable orbits in In Vitro brain slices and human epileptic foci. Such
orbit information forms a novel method of characterizing the deterministic
properties of complex systems despite nonstationarity, and can be used to
control those systems. Nonlinear systems also optimize their response to
weak signals in the presence of noise - stochastic resonance. We will
define the statistical mechanics of stochastic resonance through
simultaneous measurements of single neuron and neuronal ensemble activity.
Since neuronal ensembles may demonstrate nonlinear generalized synchrony,
we will quantify spatio-temporal generalized synchrony through dual
simultaneous single cell recordings as a function of separation in a
neuronal network. Both unstable orbit detection and generalized synchrony
will be used to define the emergence of nonlinear behaviors in neuronal

The results of this research will fundamentally alter the way that neuronal
dynamics can be characterized and controlled, will provide a means to deal
with neuronal nonstationarity, will further explain the role of noise in
the nervous system, and may provide a novel approach for the control of
pathological neuronal ensembles in dynamical diseases such as epilepsy,
spasticity, and tremor.
Effective start/end date9/30/975/31/98