Hayder Amin Group
Plasticity Models for Aging and Neurodegeneration
The laboratory is interested in understanding the interplay between molecular and cellular processes and functional plasticity consequences in neurophysiological states, aging and neurodegenerative disorders. We use multidisciplinary experimental and computational approaches to examine multiple forms of plasticity as changes in the electrical and chemical signals in large-scale networks at single-neuronal details.
The adult brain is a uniquely plastic organ capable of generating new neurons throughout life to modify its structure and function to continuously learn and adapt to changes in everyday experience and environmental demands. These activity-dependent plasticity changes can be ‘functional’, where neurons, adjust their electrophysiological properties. They can also be ‘molecular’, involving the regulation of particular gene expression patterns that are essential for the formation, maturation, and regulation of synaptic strength in those same neurons. But how are functional and molecular processes of plasticity interrelated? What is the functional role of newly-generated neurons in the adult brain? What is the mechanism underlying the integration of these neurons into a resident network? Importantly, how can the brain exploit these new neurons to stall the consequence demands of aging and neurodegeneration? To address these questions, linking morphological, electrophysiological, and transcriptomic data at a single neuron in a large-scale network is essential but has lagged behind due to the lack of multimodal and multiscale techniques. Our laboratory aims to circumvent these challenges by using advanced molecular and cellular, electrophysiological, imaging and computation methodologies.