A critical barrier towards advancing our understanding of impaired cognitive function in mental illness and its treatment is the overwhelming complexity of the brain’s microcircuitry. This deficit severely limits our ability to understand and draw conclusions about the nature of mental illness within the brain and the impact of pharmacological interventions intended to treat them. To overcome this challenge, we use multi-electrode arrays (MEAs) to investigate the electrical property of hundreds of networked neurons in controlled laboratory conditions, where we can generate spatiotemporal maps with sub-millisecond temporal resolution. We then apply this information to investigate basic features governing the formation and development neural circuitry and their implications in the context of neurodegeneration. To accomplish this, we work with transgenic mouse models as well as patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with the aim to uncover how genetic deficits impact electrical signaling within neural circuits.
Linda Petzold (UCSB), Paul Hansma (UCSB), Mahdi Golkaram (UCSB), Destinee Cheng (UCSB), Yun Zhao (UCSB)