Modelling Epilepsy and Epilepsy Drug Effects–Computational Neuroscience Project
It is unclear how large scale electrical oscillations in the CNS are produced with epileptic seizures. Simple hyper-excitability of individual ion channel types and abnormalities of synaptic transmission are undoubtedly important. However, at the network level, recurrent excitation and inhibition from interneurons must be crucial, and may explain why some anti epileptic drugs (AED's) produce paradoxical exacerbation of seizures. This project involves modelling small networks (initially just 2 neurons) to examine the dynamics of seizure production, as well as how certain anti-epileptic drugs suppress or occasionally exacerbate network oscillations.
This modelling involves incorporating novel experimental data from this laboratory on normal and drug affected ion channel mechanisms, as well as the effect of glial (supporting cells) cell interactions. We have developed a unique method to model AED effects which will be used in these simulations. The programs "Neuron" and Matlab are mainly used for the simulations. Some programming experience is necessary, but the modelling language is relatively simple. This project provides an opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of ion channel kinetics and non-linear behaviour of individual neurons and networks, with a strong clinical relevance.
An extension of this project is to study cognitive phenomena in realistic “conductance” based models using a form of distributed “Hopfield” network structure that depend on intrinsic oscillations in the theta (4-8 Hz) and gamma (30-80Hz), as observed in vivo.
- Mr Edward Chmiel
This research project is available to Honours students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.
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Department / Centre
Royal Melbourne Hospital
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