Highlights at iM2CS

School of Science Institute for
Mathematical Modeling and
Computational Science

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Transient Neurodynamics of behavioral sensitization 

PIs: L. Rubchinsky (Department of Mathematical Sciences, IUPUI) , C. Lapish (Department of Psychology, IUPUI) 

This interdisciplinary project is synergistically built upon the mutually complimentary backgrounds of Principle Investigators: experimental neurophysiology of addiction and analysis of neural synchronization patterns. Altered communication in the brain is hypothesized to be critical for the expression of a number of pathological behaviors in addiction. However, an understanding of the altered information processing dynamics that occur after repeated drug use, and how they lead to the expression of altered behavioral phenotypes, is very poor. The project will employ time-series analysis techniques and experimental sensitization electrophysiology protocols recently developed by PIs. The proposed studies will characterize the spectrum of dynamical states neural circuits undergo during sensitization with an extremely fine temporal time scale.
This will open future research in several important directions. First is the future investigation of what cellular and network properties are essential for the formation of not only observed synchrony levels but also synchrony patterns in space and time. This highly detailed view of the temporally complex nature of sensitization will allow for realistic computational models of this phenomenon to be generated. Once it is understood how sensitization affects neural processing, then one is well positioned to explore how these altered regimes manifest impaired cognitive function. The translational potential of these data for diagnostic in individuals exposed to drugs of abuse is very intriguing and may yield efficient strategies of treatment of subjects at various stages of addiction. Completion of this study will open a way for this kind of a clinically oriented research in biology of addiction.