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Seminars in Neuroscience

Fall 2016


"Invasive cortical neuroprosthetics for sensorimotor science and rehabilitation"
Robert Gaunt, PhD
Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine + Rehabilitation
University of Pittsburgh
Host: Dr. Sergiy Yakovenko

Synopsis: Over the past decade, several groups have been implanting microelectrode arrays into the sensorimotor cortex of paralyzed individuals. At the University of Pittsburgh, we have worked with two volunteers and have shown that recording and decoding the activity of a few hundred neurons in motor cortex enables a person to control a prosthetic arm in up to 10 degrees-of-freedom simultaneously. But we know that the sensory system is crucially important to regulate ongoing movement and to enable controlled interactions with our environment. In this talk I will focus on our recent efforts to understand how proprioception, that sense of where our limbs are in space, influences motor control using a brain-computer interface and how we might begin to restore cutaneous sensations through electrical microstimulation of the primary somatosensory cortex. Ultimately we aim to restore dexterous hand and arm movements, complete with the appropriate sensory experiences, to people who have lost their limbs or are unable to use them because of injury or disease.


"GABAergic inhibition in neucortical dendrites"
Michael Higley, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurobiology
Program in Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair (CNNR)
Kavli Institute for Neuroscience
Yale School of Medicine   
Host: Dr. Aric Agmon

Synopsis: The vast majority of inhibitory GABAergic synapses in the cortex target pyramidal neuron dendrites, though their function is not well understood.  Using an array of approaches, we show that both phasic and tonic inhibition play key roles in the local regulation of dendritic calcium signaling.  Furthermore, we find that the molecular composition of dendritic inhibitory synapses makes them particularly sensitive to long-term modulation by glutamatergic signaling.  These interactions likely participate in the dynamic rebalancing of excitation and inhibition necessary for the proper function of cortical circuits.


"Development of interneuronal connectivity: role of primary cilia" 
Eva Anton, PhD 
Professor of Cell Biology + Physiology
UNC Neuroscience Center 
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Host: Dr. Eric Tucker


"Mechanisms of neuroplasticity following Constraint Induced Movement therapy: implications for rehabilitation planning"
Lynne Gauthier, PhD 
Associate Professor of Physical Medicine + Rehabilitation 
Director, Neurorecovery + Brain Imaging Laboratory
The Ohio State University, College of Medicine  
Host: Dr. Valeriya Gritsenko 

Fall 2015


Paul Barnes, PhD
Oregon Health & Science University
Function of Non-Functional Kinases in the Developing Brain
Host: Dr. Eric Tucker


Tzumin Lee, MD, PhD
Howard Hughes Medical Institute - Janelia Farm 
Lineage- and Age-Dependent Neural Stem-Cell Fate
Host: Dr. George Spirou


Robert Friedlander, MD
University of Pittsburgh
Role of Caspase Pathways in Neurological Disease
Hosts: Kelly Smith and Dr. Charles Rosen


Justus Verhagen, PhD
Yale University
Time in Olfactory Coding and Perception: 
Optogenetic, Behavioral and Electrophysiological Studies
Host: Dr. Kevin Daly


Barry Stein, PhD
Wake Forest School of Medicine
How Does the Brain Develop Its Ability to Integrate Information from Different Senses?
Hosts: Paula Webster and Dr. Richard Dey

All seminars are held Wednesdays at 12:30, in 301 BMRC (unless otherwise noted).

Sponsored by the Dept. of Neurobiology and Anatomy and the WVU Centers for Neuroscience