Department Seminar

A Large Scale Interface for Optogenetics in Non-human Primates with Application to Sensorimotor Cortical Plasticity

Speaker Details:

Azadeh Yazdan-Shahmorad
Postdoctoral Scholar
University of California San Francisco

Lecture Details:

March 10, 2016
12:30-1:20 p.m.
Foege N130A, Wallace H. Coulter Seminar Room


Optogenetics is a powerful tool for relating brain function to behavior, as it enables celltype specific manipulation of neurons with millisecond temporal precision and artifactfree neural recordings. Although optogenetics has been used successfully in non-human primates (NHPs), reliable techniques had not been developed for large-scale, bidirectional study of neural circuits in these animals. In this talk I will present a practical, stable interface for stimulation and recording of large-scale cortical circuits. To obtain optogenetic expression across a broad region, spanning primary somatosensory and motor cortices, we used convection-enhanced delivery of the viral vector, with online guidance from magnetic resonance imaging. To record neural activity across this region, we used a custom micro-electrocorticographic (?ECoG) array designed to minimally attenuate optical stimuli. Lastly, we demonstrated the use of this interface to induce targeted sensorimotor cortical plasticity using spatial and temporal patterns of optical stimulation. This interface offers a powerful tool for studying circuit dynamics and connectivity across cortical areas, for long-term studies of neuromodulation, and for linking these to behavior.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Yazdan-Shahmorad received her BSc and MSc in Biomedical Engineering at Tehran Polytechnic University and University of Tehran, Iran. Following her masters education she moved to the United States and started her PhD studies in the Neural Engineering Laboratory of Dr. Daryl Kipke at the University of Michigan. During her PhD studies, she investigated the effects of cortical electrical stimulation in a targeted region of rat motor cortex using multimodal neural recording. By characterizing network responses to electrical stimulation, this work provides a foundation for developing systems to selectively modulate neural activity. She is currently a post-doctoral scholar at Dr. Philip Sabes’ lab at UCSF. For her post-doctoral studies she has developed novel tools and techniques for implementing optogenetics in non-human primates (NHPs) and rats. Recently she has begun using these tools to study targeted plasticity in sensorimotor connections via patterned optogenetic stimulation in NHPs. Her long-term goal is to utilize novel neural technologies to develop stimulation-based therapies for neurological disorders such as stroke. During her academic career, she has received prestigious awards such as two fellowships from the American Heart Association and the Young Investigator Award from the IEEE Brain Grand Challenges.