Scalable systems for high-throughput and longitudinal electrophysiology in clinical research.
This project is a collaboration with an electrophysiology equipment company, SpikeGadgets Inc, through STTR grants. Extracellular electrophysiology is an important technique in clinical neuroscience because it serves as a staple in understanding how ensemble neural spiking patterns control complex behaviors and how faults in those same neural codes can lead to deficiencies in normal behavioral functions. However, as we begin to study more complex relationships between large-ensemble neural activity and behavior, current techniques have come against two practical hinderances that preclude studies with large potential benefits to society. First, with high-level brain functions such as decision making, memory, and social interaction (among others), neuro-behavioral relationships often requires the use of large cohorts of animals in order to grasp the full distribution of observed activity patterns and gain enough statistical power to understand the effects of experimental perturbations. Second, brain functions and dysfunctions often result in long-term changes in neural activity that occurs over months and years. For preclinical therapy development pipelines both of these hinderances need to be solved simultaneously to enable significant advancement. Although highly desired, a circuit oriented, mechanistic understanding of psychiatric diseases and therapeutic effects is still lacking, largely due to technical limitations. This project aims to develop a commercial tool that enables high-throughput, detailed, and long-term neural measurements in behaving models of disease, in particular mouse and rat models that are most commonly used.