Seminars People Information Computing Research
Computational Neuroscience/Electrobiology
P.I.s: Natalia Trayanova (Biomedical Engineering), Jeffrey Tasker (Cell and Molecular Biology) Alexander Komendantov (CCS).
The goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive computational model of the electrical activity of neuroendocrine cells, some of which are responsible for the secretion of brain hormones into the blood stream. The hormone secretion is a direct result of patterned electrical discharges. An extremely important open question is how the membrane ionic mechanisms combine to produce the patterned electrical output observed in these cells in vivo. This research project will bring together the information currently known about the intrinsic ionic mechanism of neuroendocrine cells and create a computational model to explain the electrical behavior and pulsatile hormone output. The model of the hypothalamic neuroendocrine nerve cell will be based on the Hodgkin-Huxley formalism describing the voltage-gated behavior of the ionic channels responsible for the generation of the action potential in excitable cells. The mathematical model can be described as a system of nonlinear differential equations relating the transmembrane potential, the ionic current, the specific membrane capacitance and gating variables for the ionic currents. Due to the large number of variables involved, the results are often visualized in multidimensional graphs and their cross-sections.
The investigators associated with this project are Prof. Natalia Trayanova (Biomedical Engineering), Prof. Jeffrey Tasker (Cell and Molecular Biology) and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Alexander Komendantov. The team combines Prof. Tasker's expertise in experimental neuroscience with Prof. Trayanova's expertise in electrobiology and modeling of excitable cells. Prof. Trayanova will provide guidance in the assembly of the model and the simulation protocol based on her extensive experience with the simulation of caridac cell electrical activity. Prof. Tasker will guide the simulation project to ensure match between model and experiment and will be involved in the analysis of the data. Dr. Komendantov has extensive experience with mathematical and computational models of various biomedical systems. In particular, Dr. Komendantov has done research on the mechanisms of firing pattern regulation in midbrain dopamine neurons. This work prepares him exceptionally well for the current project.
Tulane Tulane University
201 Lindy Boggs Center
Computational Science
6823 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70118