How do individual neurons and neural networks balance between plasticity and stability in the nervous system?
Welcome to the Schulz Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program at the University of Missouri. Our lab focuses on how plasticity and stability are balanced in individual neurons and neural networks by studying natural network outputs as well as responses to injury and removal of network inputs.
Using electrophysiology,molecular biology, and computer modeling techniques, we study regulation of ion channel proteins and how this influences neuronal excitability. We use central pattern generator (CPG) motor networks at the single neuron level to determine how these networks function and respond to injury. Using this approach, we can investigate not only the effects at the single cell level, but also the influence that changes in single neurons has on the network activity as a whole.
This work has implications not only for understanding how networks maintain functional output, but also what goes wrong when these networks fail, as is the case with some diseases and injuries that affect the circuitry of the brain and spinal cord.