Analytical Neurochemistry; Dopamine and Serotonin Neurotransmission in Drosophila; Mechanisms of rapid adenosine signaling in rodents
Analytical Neurochemistry I am interested in the development and characterization of analytical techniques to measure neurochemical changes. Measurements in the brain are challenging because zeptomole quantities of neuroactive molecules must be detected in a chemically-complex sample while disturbing the tissue as little as possible. In addition, fast time resolution measurements are needed to track the fast dynamics of neurotransmitter release and uptake. The development of new analytical tools will enable a better understanding of the central nervous system which will, in turn, facilitate the development of new treatments for neurological disorders. Electrochemical Detection of Adenosine The goal of this project is to develop an electrochemical detection method for real-time monitoring of adenosine concentrations. Adenosine is a neuromodulator in the brain that has a variety of actions including regulation of cerebral blood flow, modulation of neurotransmission, and protection against neuronal injury during stroke. There is currently no reliable method for electrochemical detection of adenosine in vivo. Direct detection of adenosine using cyclic voltammetry at carbon-fiber microelectrodes is detected. The sensor is used to characterize extracellular adenosine release in the rat brain following electrical stimulation of neuronal activity and during ischemia, a model of stroke. Simultaneous monitoring of adenosine, oxygen and dopamine concentrations will allow studies of how adenosine modulates neurotransmission and cerebral blood flow. We are studying the modulation of adenosine during stroke. Measurements of Neurotransmitters in Drosophila Our lab also measures neurotransmitters in the Drosophila CNS. We use optogenetics as well as acetylcholine stimulations to elicit dopamine and serotonin release in the brain. We expect to study Parkinson models and test how dopamine differs through the life cycle of the fly.