Recent work in engineering and neural sciences have made tremendous progress in neural interface technologies. From therapeutic treatment of essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease with deep brain stimulation (DBS) to restoration of somatosensation in amputees and stroke rehabilitation, electrical stimulation shows great neuromodulatory promise. Although a lot has been accomplished using neural stimulators, the neurobiological mechanisms defining their therapeutic benefits, in addition to their ultimate failure, remain largely unknown. Utilizing in vivo electrophysiology and multiphoton imaging, I hope to better characterize the dynamic neurobiological response to electrical stimulation. This work has the potential to impact neural circuit research to clinical DBS therapy.
I received by B.S. in physics from Ohio State University with a minor in neuroscience. While at OSU, I worked in the lab of Dr. Candice Askwith investigating the mechanism of action of the Acid-Sensing Ion Channel (ASIC). Neuronal death follows ASIC activation as a consequence of sustained reductions in extracellular pH, which occur in neurological disorders such as stroke. Thus, ASICs are considered a potential target to reduce acid-induced neuronal damage in multiple neurological disorders. After graduation, I worked as a postbaccalaureate fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Rapp in the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health. There I worked on developing a method to utilize transcranial magnetic stimulation to reduce or normalize age related memory impairments in a rat model of neurocognitive aging.