Harnessing Neuroplasticity for Rewiring Brain Circuits University of Idaho Seed Grant uri icon



  • The complete dynamics of neuronal networks are determined by processes occurring on two levels: (a) The chemical level, wherein neurotransmitters modulate brain electrical activity and (b) the electrical level, wherein brain electrical activity (spiking) causes the release of neurotransmitters. Existing formalisms for studying brain dynamics focus on (a) or (b) separately, even though their dynamics are intimately linked. A need to develop an integrated dynamical modeling and control framework that combines chemical signals with electrical signals is critical for advancing our understanding of the dynamics underlying various neuro- logical and psychiatric disorders and for designing novel therapeutically effective treatments using optimal control theory.

    In this project, the PI proposes to develop an integrated dynamical modeling and control approach for rewiring synaptic connections in small neuronal motifs using both electrical and neuropharmacology-based exogenous inputs. Rigorous dynamical systems analysis of the model will be performed and optimal control problems will be formulated to explore the extent to which neuroplasticity can be harnessed to rewire neuronal synaptic connectivity. One journal publication in Automatica, one conference proceedings in the American Control Conference, and preliminary results for NSF-GARDE grant application are expected.