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PaulHolcomb

Inhibitory interneurons play a vital role in the modulation of signaling in the brain, despite representing only 20% of the neuron population in the cortex. Disruption of inhibitory interneurons, either through developmental problems or brain injury, may influence the development of serious disorders such as epilepsy, autism, and schizophrenia. In addition, despite much research being undertaken to describe the effect that cortical implants have on neural circuitry, the impact of such implants on inhibitory interneurons remains unexplored. My research focuses on determining the changes in interneurons--both as a whole and subtype-specific--that occur during chronic implantation, and the effect these changes have on the function of the overall cortical circuit.

I completed my doctoral degree in neuroscience with Dr. George Spirou at West Virginia University's Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute. My dissertation work involved segmentation, reconstruction, and analysis of neurons and associated structures in the auditory brainstem of developing mice using serial block-face scanning electron microscopy. Prior to this, I worked for 5 years as a biomedical engineering consultant for Breault Research in biomedical optics, virtual optical design, and light/tissue interface. I obtained my undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Vanderbilt University in 2005, where I also worked as a research assistant in cancer and angiogenesis research with Dr. Jin Chen.