Galit Pelled, PhD
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Ph.D. 2004, Hebrew University
East Lansing Campus
2112 Bioengineering Facility
My research program focuses on understanding how injury changes neuronal connections, how neuromodulation impacts these changes, and how these changes affect recovery. We gain a comprehensive appreciation of neuroplasticity and how it translates into behavior by probing the system at the single neuron level all the way up to the whole organism level. One of the characteristics that make our work stand out in the field of neurorehabilitation and neuromodulation is the multimodal approaches the lab employs. When we ask what happens in the rodent cortex after injury, we use intracellular electrophysiology to look at the single neuron level, we insert grids of electrode to map neuronal connections in vivo, we use functional MRI (fMRI) to detect changes in the whole-brain level, and we use batteries of behavioral tests to determine how injury effect cognitive, social and sensorimotor behavior. When we ask if neuromodulation after injury impacts recovery, we use light-sensitive channels (optogenetics) to increase or silence activity and non-invasive Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). When we wanted to probe a specific population of neurons that is involved in reshaping connections after injury we bioengineered cell specific neuronal markers that can report on neuronal activity.
Furthermore, we are working on complementing the neuromodulation arsenal with the development of a technology that will allow a non-invasive way for cellular, location and temporal specific neuromodulation. We discovered and cloned a gene in fish that navigate according to the earth magnetic field. This unique gene which encodes to a protein that is sensitive to electromagnetic fields has never been characterized before and was termed electromagnetic perceptive gene (EPG). We are now working on using the EPG technology as a remote-controlled, non-invasive neurostimulation method in rodent models of disease. We anticipate that this novel technology can transform the field of neuromodulation and complement the neuromodulation methodologies arsenal. In addition, we continue to study the structure and the function of the EPG protein in order to improve, optimize and make it to an even better scientific tool.