Investigating Neuronal Network Activity in Functionalized Glycomaterial Scaffolds

Project Title: Investigating Neuronal Network Activity in Functionalized Glycomaterial Scaffolds

Project Mentors:

  • Primary Faculty Mentor: Lohitash Karumbaiah

Affiliation: University of Georgia, Regenerative Bioscience Center

Ph: 706-542-2017

Email: lohitash@uga.edu

Website: http://www.karumbaiahlab.org; http://www.rbc.uga.edu

 

  • Secondary Faculty Mentor: Leidong Mao

Affiliation: University of Georgia, College of Engineering

Ph: 706-542-1871

Email: mao@uga.edu

Website: http://magnet.engr.uga.edu

 

  • Graduate Student mentor: Min Kyoung Sun

Affiliation: University of Georgia, Regenerative Bioscience Center

Ph: 412-980-7919

Email: ms91136@uga.edu

Project Description:

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) result in the acute release of the excitotoxic agent glutamate from damaged neurons, which causes neuronal network dysfunction and cell death. Studying neural network responses to excitotoxicityin vivo is challenging due to the complex TBI pathophysiological responses that complicate findings. We therefore propose to investigate the direct effects of excitotoxicity on neuronal activity in vitrousing a microfluidic device platform and functionalized glycomaterials that mimic the structural and functional architecture of brain tissue. We will study neuronal network responses to excitotoxic challenge using calcium imaging and immunocytochemical assessments.

REU Student Role and Responsibility:

The student will perform glycopolymer functionalization and fabrication of hydrogels, fabricate microfluidic devices, maintain neural stem cell cultures, conduct immunocytochemical staining of cells, and perform live-cell calcium imaging of hydrogel encapsulated neurons. The student will also have the opportunity to process/analyze neuronal spike profiles and images obtained using MATLAB.

Required skills or courses:

Prior experience in cell culture, a basic understanding of microscopy, any computer-aided design (AutoCAD, TinkerCAD) experience, and MATLAB experience.

Expected Outcome for REU student:

The student’s contributions will be acknowledged in any resulting journal publications.