Associate Professor
Phone: (206) 543-6127
Office: Foege N210G

Azadeh Yazdan-Shahmorad

Every 40 seconds someone experiences a stroke in the United States. Advances in acute stroke management have led to a significant increase in the number of people who live with stroke-related disability, which makes it a leading cause of long-term disability in the country. There is an urgent need for effective therapies for post-stroke disabilities. The goal of my lab is to develop novel neural technologies and therapeutic protocols towards effective stroke rehabilitation.
Neural Engineering
Brain stimulation
Neural interfaces
Stroke rehabilitation
Stimulation-based therapies

The focus of my lab is on developing novel neural interfaces as well as investigating the plasticity mechanism of the brain. Our goal is to reveal underlying mechanisms of brain plasticity that lead to functional recovery from stroke, which can provide us with vital insight to develop stimulation-based therapies not only for stroke but also for a broad range of neurological disorders. We use a combination of electrophysiological recordings in behaving animals, real-time detection and manipulation of physiological patterns, and perturbation of neural activity in specific circuits during behavior, to determine causal links between physiological phenomena and therapeutic outcomes. In particular, the unique tool we use is optogenetics since it enables us to manipulate neural activity with high spatial and temporal resolution via virally transfected neurons containing light-sensitive ion channels. In addition to its potential for greater spatial resolution and cell-type specificity, this technique offers the significant advantage of artifact-free electrophysiological recording during stimulation. This novel use of optogenetics offers new opportunities to create sophisticated closed-loop stimulation and recording paradigms, and helps us to understand the role of the basic physiological and therapeutic phenomena.

Ph.D, Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, 2011
M.S., Electrical Engineering (Bioelectric Engineering), University of Tehran, 2003
B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Tehran Polytechnic (Amir-Kabir University of Technology), 2001
Postdoctoral training, University of California San Francisco, Center for Integrative Neuroscience, Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, 2011-17

IREK12, Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Engineering Research Career Development Award, NIH, 2018-2019,
Washington Research Foundation Innovation Professorship in Neuroengineering, Washington Research Foundation, 2017-2022
Neuroscience 2016 Hot Topic abstract for Society of Neuroscience, 2016
One-year Post-doctoral Fellowship, American Heart Association, 2016
Team Science scholarship, University of California , 2015
Young Investigator Award, IEEE Brain Grand Challenges, 2014
Post-doctoral Fellowship, American Heart Association, 2014-15
Travel Award, Iranian Neuroscientists Community, Society for Neuroscience, 2013
Featured Student, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011
Best Student Poster Award, 17th annual meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2009
Student award, 38th Neural Interface Conference, 2008
Summer Course Scholarship, Marine Biological Laboratory, NeuroInformatics course, 2008
Graduate fellowship award, 3rd International IEEE EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, 2007
Honor student (ranked first in the class of 2003), Graduate program at The University of Tehran, 2003
BioElectric Masters program scholarship, University of Tehran, Tehran, 2001
Honor student (ranked 3rd in the class of 2001), Undergraduate program at Tehran Polytechnic, 2001
Biomedical Engineering undergraduate program scholarship, Tehran Polytechnic University, 1997

BIOEN 317 – Signals and Sensors Laboratory

Yazdan-Shahmorad*, D. Silversmith* (Equal contribution), P. N. Sabes, “Targeted cortical reorganization using optogenetics in non-human primates”, eLife, 2018 May 29. PMID: 29809133.

A. Yazdan-Shahmorad*, N. Tian*, V. Kharazia* (Equal contribution), A. Kells, J. He, J. Bringas, K. H. Rosenbluth, K. Bankiewickz, P. Sabes, “Widespread cortical expression of ChR2 in Macaque via MR-guided, convection enhanced delivery (CED) of AAV vector to the thalamus”, Journal of Neuroscience methods, 2018 Jan 1;293:347-358. PMID: 29042259.

A. Yazdan-Shahmorad, C. Diaz-Botia, T. Hanson, P. Ledochowitsch, M. M. Maharbiz, P. Sabes, “A large interface for optogentic stimulation and recording in non-human primates”, Neuron; 2016 Feb 10. PMID: 26875625.

P. Ledochowitsch*, A. Yazdan-Shahmorad* (Equal contribution), K. E. Bouchard, C. Diaz-Botia, T. L. Hanson, J.W. He, B. Seyboldt, E. Olivero, E. A. K. Phillips, T. J. Blanche, C. E. Schreiner, A. Hasenstaub, E. F. Chang, P. N. Sabes, M. M. Maharbiz, “Strategies for optical control and simultaneous electrical readout of extended cortical circuits”, Journal of Neuroscience methods (2015). Dec;256:220-31. PMID: 26296286.

A. Yazdan-Shahmorad, D. R. Kipke, M. J. Lehmkuhle, “High gamma power in ECoG reflects cortical electrical stimulation effects on unit activity in layers V/VI”, Journal of Neural Engineering. 10 (2013) 066002. PMID: 24099908, PMCID: PMC4140191.

A. Yazdan-Shahmorad, D. R. Kipke, M. J. Lehmkuhle, “Polarity of cortical electrical stimulation differentially affects neuronal activity of deep and superficial layers of rat motor cortex”, Brain Stimulation Journal (2011). Oct;4(4):228-41. PMID: 22032738, PMCID: PMC3204189.

A. Yazdan-Shahmorad, M. J. Lehmkuhle, G. J. Gage, H. Parikh, T. Marzullo, R. M. Miriani and D. R. Kipke, “Estimation of electrode location in rat motor cortex by laminar analysis of electrophysiology and intracortical electrical stimulation” Journal of Neural Engineering. 8 (2011) 046018. PMID: 21690656.

In the News