Coulter Laboratory Research Overview

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Epilepsy is fundamentally a disorder of neuronal circuits, defined by the occurrence of recurrent, spontaneous seizures, which are hyper-synchronous discharges of populations of neurons.  

Neuronal circuit dynamics are an emergent function of the behavior of thousands or tens of thousands of diverse, interconnected cells, each with its own intrinsic excitability, afferent output, and efferent input. These neurons influence each other’s activity in a dynamic, interactive, and spatially and temporally complex manner. Astrocytes, star-shaped glial cells that help form the structure of the brain and play a role in regulating neurotransmission, contribute significantly to emergent neuronal circuit dynamics. Recordings from single neurons, although informative, are difficult to extrapolate to circuit-level responses.

Only through study of the dynamics of these complex brain networks both in health and in disease can we hope to further our knowledge of mechanisms disrupting the behavior of specific circuits within the brain.