We design systems to interact with complex neural circuits in vivo in behaving rodents. These systems enable us to explore how information is processed, stored, and retrieved in both healthy brains and in models of human neurological diseases and disorders. The experimental neurobiological topics we focus most on are understanding memory and the mechanisms of deep brain stimulation. Additionally, we do a signicant amount of pure neural interface technology development as well as building software and embedded tools for data analysis and experimetns.
Forming, storing, and using memory requires the hippocampus. We are developing systems that translate ongoing neural activity into information and use this to manipulate the hippocampal circuit in real-time. Why is that useful? We hope to build systems that will, for example, allow us to selectively inhibit the recall or long-term storage of traumatic episodes. More information.
DBS - stimulation of midbrain regions with implanted electrodes - currently benefits patients with Parkinson's disease despite its side effects and crude stimulation patterns. By understanding information flows in movement-generating neural circuits in healthy brains, how this flow is disrupted by disease, and how DBS changes the flow, we hope to optimize DBS stimulation to maximize therapeutic benefit and minimize side effects. More information.
In collaboration with other labs at Rice (Pasquali, Robinson, Veeraraghavan), we are developing new tools for interfacing with the brain. Our work includes: using cutting-edge flexible materials such as carbon nanotube fibers to make new kinds of flexible electrodes; building new technologies for inserting flexible electrodes without stiffening; developing battery-powered embedded systems for chronic brain stimulation; and developing new types of implantable microscopes for imaging brain activity More information.
We are developing a number of open source software and embedded systems tools for neuroscience and neural engineering that we are eager to share. More information about tools for neuroscience and neural engineering.