The International Neuroscience Network Foundation (INNF) is supporting translational research that will lead to novel treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders including Parkinsonís disease and schizophrenia. At the Duke Center for Neuroengineering, the INNF is supporting a revolutionary project to understand the neural mechanisms underlying the onset of disease by recording the neuronal activity of brain structures controlling movement, sleep, and learning and memory.
Dukeís research will use patented multielectrode technology to directly measure the activity of hundreds of neurons to study brain dynamics in unique preclinical models of diseases such as Parkinsonís and schizophrenia. For example, transgenic mice lacking dopamine, a key brain chemical for motor control, provide an integral animal model for studying the changes in brain dynamics during the induction and recovery from an induced Parkinsonian state. Specific modalities of treatment that include both pharmacodynamic and neurostimulation paradigms will also be explored. These same approaches will be applied to study schizophrenia and changes in sleep patterns associated with these diseases. This methodology will allow the integration of molecular, cellular, systems, and behavioral data in the same animal, leading to a more complete understanding of the nature of the alterations associated with these disorders.
Principle Investigators: Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurobiology and the Center for Neuroengineering, Duke University; and Sidarta Ribeiro, Ph.D., Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute for Neuroscience of Natal
Collaborators: Marc Caron, Ph.D., Department of Cell Biology, Duke University