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Special CCNY BME Seminar Oct 26, 2016 featuring two Neural Engineering Lab researchers.

3 PM in the CCNY BME conference room. Steinman Hall Room 402

Modulating synaptic plasticity with tDCS

Mr. Greg Kronberg

Department of Biomedical Engineering, The City College of New York

Abstract: Synapses allow communication between neurons and guide the flow of information throughout the brain. Modification of synapses in response to experience, or synaptic plasticity, is thought to be a cellular mechanism for learning and memory. Noninvasive tools to alter synaptic plasticity are therefore highly desirable. Recently, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), has received much attention as a such a tool. tDCS is the noninvasive application of weak DC electric current to the brain through electrodes on the scalp. In this talk I will discuss mechanisms by which tDCS may influence synaptic plasticity, and how this can inform tDCS protocols to improve learning and memory

Bio-sketch: Greg Kronberg is currently a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering department at The City College of New York (CCNY), where he works under Lucas Parra. He received his BS in Biology from the University of Maryland and his MS in Biomedical Engineering from CCNY. His research focuses on the use of electrical brain stimulation to improve learning and memory.

Measurements and models of electric fields in the in vivo human brain during transcranial electric stimulation

Yu (Andy) Huang, Ph.D.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, The City College of New York

Abstract: Transcranial electric stimulation aims to stimulate the brain by applying weak electrical currents at the scalp. However, the magnitude and spatial distribution of electric fields in the human brain are unknown. Here we measure electric potentials intracranially in ten patients and estimate electric fields across the entire brain by leveraging calibrated current-flow models. Electric field magnitudes at the cortical surface reach values of 0.4 V/m, which is at the lower limit of effectiveness in animal studies. When individual anatomy is taken into account, the predicted electric field magnitudes match the recorded values with r=0.77. Modeling white matter anisotropy and different skull compartments does not improve accuracy, but correct magnitude estimates require an adjustment of conductivity values used in the literature. This is the first study to validate and calibrate current-flow models with in vivo intracranial recordings in humans, providing a solid foundation for targeting and interpretation of clinical trials.

Biosketch: Yu (Andy) Huang received his Ph.D. from Department of Biomedical Engineering, City College of New York. His research focuses on neuroimaging, image segmentation and computational modeling of image data. He received his B.S. and M.S. from University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, both in Biomedical Engineering.