The UWIN seminar series continue in March 2020 with a pair of short talks by Azadeh Yazdan and Adrian KC Lee. The seminar is on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 3:30pm in Husky Union Building (HUB) 337. Refreshments will be served prior to the talks.

“Targeted cortical reorganization using optogenetics in non-human primates”

Azadeh Yazdan, Assistant Professor, Departments of Bioengineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Washington

“Inferring function connectivity in auditory attention tasks”

Adrian KC Lee, Professor, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington


“Targeted cortical reorganization using optogenetics in non-human primates” (Azadeh Yazdan)

The brain shows marked plasticity across a variety of learning and memory tasks as well as during recovery after injury. Many have proposed to leverage this innate plasticity using brain stimulation to treat neural disorders. Implementing such treatments requires advanced engineering tools and a thorough understanding of how stimulation-induced plasticity drives changes in network dynamics and connectivity at a large scale and across multiple brain areas. In this talk, I will cover our efforts to investigate targeted stimulation of sensorimotor cortex to drive cortical plasticity towards functional recovery.  We have developed a large-scale interface consisting of state-of-the-art electrophysiology and optogenetics to simultaneously record and manipulate activity from about 5 cm2 of sensorimotor cortex in awake behaving macaques. Using this interface, for the first time, we have shown the feasibility of inducing targeted changes in sensorimotor networks using optogenetics. Furthermore, we have incorporated the capability of producing ischemic lesions in the same interface enabling us to stimulate the cortex around the site of injury and monitor functional recovery via change in blood flow, neurophysiology and behavior. Currently we are using these technologies towards developing therapeutic interventions for neurological disorders such as stroke.

“Inferring function connectivity in auditory attention tasks” (Adrian KC Lee)

Connectivity of the dynamical brain at a systems neuroscience level is a relatively underexplored area, owing perhaps to the unsolved challenge of modeling structured relationships between time series in a big data setting. We have collected MEG data to reveal the connectivity of the auditory attentional network when participants were asked to either maintain or switch attention between two competing sound streams. This computational development paves the way to study the neurobiological basis of a still-controversial clinical construct known as central auditory processing disorder. Specifically, this approach provides a way for us to answer this open question: whether the connectivity structure of the auditory attentional network helps to elucidate the neural underpinnings of certain aspects of auditory dysfunction, e.g., the inability to maintain or switch attention between speakers.