The main focus of our current research is the axon, particularly the very thin ones that are responsible for communication between neurons in gray matter. Gray matter axons constitute around 50% of all cellular membranes in cortex, yet very little is known about how they function, and therefore also about their pathology.
Techniques: Research on gray matter axons is a technical challenge because these axons are too small to access with electrodes, and they are often too small to be seen by the light microscope. We have therefore developed electrical recording techniques that allow extracellular recordings from individual gray matter axons and recordings of membrane potential changes in bundles of such axons.
By using such techniques combined with detection of fluorescent signals we study the gray matter axons in thin slices of brain tissue and record electrical and optical signals that can tell us how these axons can faithfully transmit signals despite dramatic variations in oxygen levels, pH, nutrients, temperature and other natural challenges to which they are exposed. To better protect our brains we are particularly interested in identifying factors, or combinations of factors, that harm the normal functions of these axons.
Publications: PubMed search