Events Calendar

23 Sep
Bioengineering Graduate Seminar: Dr. Helen Schwerdt
Event Type

Lectures, Symposia, Etc.

Topic

Research

Target Audience

Undergraduate Students, Faculty, Graduate Students, Postdocs

University Unit
Department of Bioengineering
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Bioengineering Graduate Seminar: Dr. Helen Schwerdt

This is a past event.

Multi-Modal Interfaces for Probing Chemical and Electrical Neural Activity Long-Term

Helen Schwerdt, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Bioengineering
University of Pittsburgh

http://schwerdt.pitt.edu/

Abstract: Dopamine neurochemicals govern key behaviors including movement and motivation. Dopamine dysregulation is linked to most forms of mood disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and many other neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. In Parkinson’s disease, there is a massive loss of dopamine and an abnormal elevation of beta-band electrical signaling throughout the brain, and these are highly correlated with the debilitating loss of normal motor and mood functions. Techniques that allow long-term tracking of these neurochemical and electrical neural signals are needed to identify and intervene at the sources of these diseases.

I will present on my work focused on addressing key unmet needs in neurochemical interfacing: long-term stability, multi-site monitoring, and synchronous measures of electrical and chemical forms of neural activity. I will describe recent advances in chronic monitoring of dopamine in rodents and primates, where we were able to record these chemical signals over the longest periods following implantation (> 1 year). We recently created multi-modal interfaces to record both chemical and electrical neural activity concurrently. These systems were employed to investigate the link between dopamine and beta-band oscillations, prevalent biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease, in primates (rhesus monkeys). We further explored the link between these chemical and electrical neural signals and the control of mood and movement behavioral variables that are compromised in Parkinson’s.

Bio: Helen is an assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh where she has started a lab to (1) build and apply brain implantable interfaces to elucidate the multiple modes of neural signals that govern our critical day to day behaviors in healthy and pathological states, and (2) to make these implantable devices safer and more robust so they can be used for diagnosis and treatment in humans. One of the goals of this lab is to identify the key molecular (e.g. dopamine) and electrical signaling operations that control the strengthening and weakening of connections between neurons, i.e. plasticity—operations critical for learning, adaptation, and skill and habit formation—and how these become impaired in Parkinson’s disease and major mood disorders. Helen received the B.S in biomedical engineering and M.S.E in electrical and computer engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2008 and 2009, respectively, and the Ph.D in electrical engineering from Arizona State University in 2014. Helen worked in the laboratory of Dr. Junseok Chae at Arizona State University for her graduate studies and in the laboratories of Dr. Ann Graybiel and Dr. Michael Cima at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her postdoctoral training.

Thursday, September 23 at 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Benedum Hall, Room 157
3700 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Bioengineering Graduate Seminar: Dr. Helen Schwerdt

Multi-Modal Interfaces for Probing Chemical and Electrical Neural Activity Long-Term

Helen Schwerdt, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Bioengineering
University of Pittsburgh

http://schwerdt.pitt.edu/

Abstract: Dopamine neurochemicals govern key behaviors including movement and motivation. Dopamine dysregulation is linked to most forms of mood disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and many other neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. In Parkinson’s disease, there is a massive loss of dopamine and an abnormal elevation of beta-band electrical signaling throughout the brain, and these are highly correlated with the debilitating loss of normal motor and mood functions. Techniques that allow long-term tracking of these neurochemical and electrical neural signals are needed to identify and intervene at the sources of these diseases.

I will present on my work focused on addressing key unmet needs in neurochemical interfacing: long-term stability, multi-site monitoring, and synchronous measures of electrical and chemical forms of neural activity. I will describe recent advances in chronic monitoring of dopamine in rodents and primates, where we were able to record these chemical signals over the longest periods following implantation (> 1 year). We recently created multi-modal interfaces to record both chemical and electrical neural activity concurrently. These systems were employed to investigate the link between dopamine and beta-band oscillations, prevalent biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease, in primates (rhesus monkeys). We further explored the link between these chemical and electrical neural signals and the control of mood and movement behavioral variables that are compromised in Parkinson’s.

Bio: Helen is an assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh where she has started a lab to (1) build and apply brain implantable interfaces to elucidate the multiple modes of neural signals that govern our critical day to day behaviors in healthy and pathological states, and (2) to make these implantable devices safer and more robust so they can be used for diagnosis and treatment in humans. One of the goals of this lab is to identify the key molecular (e.g. dopamine) and electrical signaling operations that control the strengthening and weakening of connections between neurons, i.e. plasticity—operations critical for learning, adaptation, and skill and habit formation—and how these become impaired in Parkinson’s disease and major mood disorders. Helen received the B.S in biomedical engineering and M.S.E in electrical and computer engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2008 and 2009, respectively, and the Ph.D in electrical engineering from Arizona State University in 2014. Helen worked in the laboratory of Dr. Junseok Chae at Arizona State University for her graduate studies and in the laboratories of Dr. Ann Graybiel and Dr. Michael Cima at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her postdoctoral training.

Thursday, September 23 at 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Benedum Hall, Room 157
3700 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Topic

Research

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