Erin K. Purcell, PhD
- East Lansing, Faculty, Computational
Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical And Computer Engineering
Ph.D. 2008, University of Michigan
East Lansing Campus
Neural prostheses are microelectrode arrays that record or stimulate the electrical activity of nearby neurons following implantation in the brain. In a lab setting, these devices are used to understand the role of neural activity in a variety of neuroscience research applications. In the clinic, they can be used to restore sensory and motor function for patients suffering from the debilitating effects of neurological injury and disease. For either application, stable, sustained electrical communication between the implanted electrode surface and a large sample of local neurons is desired. However, poor integration of the device with the surrounding neural tissue remains a significant unsolved problem that limits the long-term function of neural prostheses.
Our research goals are to characterize the integration of implanted electrodes with the neural tissue they record or stimulate and develop approaches to improve the long-term fidelity and patency of the interface. Our approaches include a combination of regenerative scaffolding, genetic engineering, histology and electrophysiology. Current projects include: (1) characterizing and modulating the intrinsic biophysical properties of neurons at the implanted electrode interface over time, and (2) developing optical approaches to alter neuronal connectivity and gene expression within interfaced neural networks. Using such approaches, it may be possible to tune the response properties and prescribe the network architecture of neurons at the neural prosthesis interface, improving the function of both recording and stimulating devices.
Neurological effects of Fragile X Syndrome, regulation and modulation of neuronal excitability of thalamocortical circuits and interactions between basal ganglia and thalamic circuits.
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Human Development; College of Human Medicine
Grand Rapids Campus
4012 Grand Rapids Research Center; 400 Monroe Ave NW; Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Cerebral cortex development: (e.g., neural development of sensory systems)
Neurophysiology and neuroplasticity within thalamocortical circuits. Neurophysiological alterations associated with Developmental disorders (fragile X syndrome, Autism), Epilepsy, and Parkinson's Disesase
Assistant Professor, Physiology
Neurobiology of Chronic Pain
Developmental exposure to drugs of abuse, development of the dopamine system, etiology and experimental therapeutics of Parkinson's disease
Development of neuroprotective pharmacological agents and strategies for the treatment of dopamine neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson's Disease and Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
Neuromodulation, Neuroimaging of cortical function, Post-injury plasticity, Somatosensory system, Traumatic brain injury, Peripheral nerve injury, molecular probes, Optical imaging, Development of molecular-based neuromodulation technologies
Regenerate and redefine the interface between neurons and electrodes implanted in the brain, improving the understanding and control of device-tissue integration
Primary neuronal cultures, ex vivo and in vivo gene therapy, stereotaxic surgery, immunohistochemistry, neuro substructure microdissections, behavioral evaluations of motor performance, microscopy, long term deep brain stimulation platform
Structure-function relation of retinal ganglion cells undergoing glaucoma-related degeneration in the primate eye. Development of treatment strategies aimed at mitigating or preventing glaucomatous retinal ganglion cell degeneration
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technique development. Use neuroimaging to understand mild traumatic brain injury, normal aging, Alzheimer's disease (AD), AD risk reduction, and effects of hypertension on the brain.