Skip to main content

ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Contributor
Resource Type
Subject
Date Range
2011 2019


The increasing availability of experimental data and computational power have resulted in increasingly detailed and sophisticated models of brain structures. Biophysically realistic models allow detailed investigations of the mechanisms that operate within those structures. In this work, published mouse experimental data were synthesized to develop an extensible, open-source platform for modeling the mouse main olfactory bulb and other brain regions. A “virtual slice” model of a main olfactory bulb glomerular column that includes detailed models of tufted, mitral, and granule cells was created to investigate the underlying mechanisms of a gamma frequency oscillation pattern (“gamma fingerprint”) often observed in rodent …

Contributors
Birgiolas, Justas, Crook, Sharon M, Gerkin, Richard C, et al.
Created Date
2019

Development of the cerebral cortex requires the complex integration of extracellular stimuli to affect changes in gene expression. Trophic stimulation activates specialized intracellular signaling cascades to instruct processes necessary for the elaborate cellular diversity, architecture, and function of the cortex. The canonical RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK (ERK/MAPK) cascade is a ubiquitously expressed kinase pathway that regulates crucial aspects of neurodevelopment. Mutations in the ERK/MAPK pathway or its regulators give rise to neurodevelopmental syndromes termed the “RASopathies.” RASopathy individuals present with neurological symptoms that include intellectual disability, ADHD, and seizures. The precise cellular mechanisms that drive neurological impairments in RASopathy individuals remain unclear. In …

Contributors
Holter, Michael C, Newbern, Jason, Anderson, Trent, et al.
Created Date
2019

Reproductive hormones are recognized for their diverse functions beyond reproduction itself, including a vital role in brain organization, structure, and function throughout the lifespan. From puberty to reproductive senescence, the female is characterized by inherent responsiveness to hormonal cyclicity. For most women, a natural transition to menopause occurs in midlife, wherein the endogenous hormonal milieu undergoes significant changes and marks the end of the reproductive life stage. Although most women experience natural menopause, many women will undergo gynecological surgery during their lifetime, which can lead to an abrupt surgical menopause. It is of critical importance to better understand how endogenous …

Contributors
Koebele, Stephanie Victoria, Bimonte-Nelson, Heather A, Conrad, Cheryl D, et al.
Created Date
2019

The label-feedback hypothesis (Lupyan, 2007, 2012) proposes that language modulates low- and high-level visual processing, such as priming visual object perception. Lupyan and Swingley (2012) found that repeating target names facilitates visual search, reducing response times and increasing accuracy. Hebert, Goldinger, and Walenchok (under review) used a modified design to replicate and extend this finding, and concluded that speaking modulates visual search via template integrity. The current series of experiments 1) replicated the work of Hebert et al. with audio stimuli played through headphones instead of self-directed speech, 2) examined the label feedback effect under conditions of varying object clarity, …

Contributors
Hebert, Katherine P, Goldinger, Stephen D, Rogalsky, Corianne, et al.
Created Date
2019

In most of the work using event-related potentials (ERPs), researchers presume the function of specific components based on the careful manipulation of experimental factors, but rarely report direct evidence supporting a relationship between the neural signal and other outcomes. Perhaps most troubling is the lack of evidence that ERPs correlate with related behavioral outcomes which should result, at least in part, from the neural processes that ERPs capture. One such example is the NoGo-N2 component, an ERP component elicited in Go/NoGo paradigms. There are two primary theories regarding the functional significance of this component in this context: that the signal …

Contributors
Hampton, Ryan Scott, Varnum, Michael E.W., Shiota, Michelle N., et al.
Created Date
2019

A direct Magnetic Resonance (MR)-based neural activity mapping technique with high spatial and temporal resolution may accelerate studies of brain functional organization. The most widely used technique for brain functional imaging is functional Magnetic Resonance Image (fMRI). The spatial resolution of fMRI is high. However, fMRI signals are highly influenced by the vasculature in each voxel and can be affected by capillary orientation and vessel size. Functional MRI analysis may, therefore, produce misleading results when voxels are nearby large vessels. Another problem in fMRI is that hemodynamic responses are slower than the neuronal activity. Therefore, temporal resolution is limited in …

Contributors
Fu, Fanrui, Sadleir, Rosalind, Kodibagkar, Vikram, et al.
Created Date
2019

Older adults often experience communication difficulties, including poorer comprehension of auditory speech when it contains complex sentence structures or occurs in noisy environments. Previous work has linked cognitive abilities and the engagement of domain-general cognitive resources, such as the cingulo-opercular and frontoparietal brain networks, in response to challenging speech. However, the degree to which these networks can support comprehension remains unclear. Furthermore, how hearing loss may be related to the cognitive resources recruited during challenging speech comprehension is unknown. This dissertation investigated how hearing, cognitive performance, and functional brain networks contribute to challenging auditory speech comprehension in older adults. Experiment …

Contributors
Fitzhugh, Megan, (Reddy) Rogalsky, Corianne, Baxter, Leslie C, et al.
Created Date
2019

All organisms need to be able to sense and respond to their environment. Much of this process takes place via proteins embedded in the cell membrane, the border between a living thing and the external world. Transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels are a superfamily of membrane proteins that play diverse roles in physiology. Among the 27 TRP channels found in humans and other animals, TRP melastatin 8 (TRPM8) and TRP vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) are the primary sensors of cold and hot temperatures, respectively. They underlie the molecular basis of somatic temperature sensation, but beyond this are also known to …

Contributors
Hilton, Jacob, Van Horn, Wade D, Levitus, Marcia, et al.
Created Date
2019

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by the degeneration of cholinergic basal forebrain (CBF) neurons in the nucleus basalis of Meynert (nbM), which provides the majority of cholinergic input to the cortical mantle and together form the basocortical cholinergic system. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) dysregulation in the temporal lobe has been associated with neuronal degeneration during AD progression. However, whether HDAC alterations play a role in cortical and cortically-projecting cholinergic nbM neuronal degeneration during AD onset is unknown. In an effort to characterize alterations in the basocortical epigenome semi-quantitative western blotting and immunohistochemistry were utilized to evaluate HDAC and sirtuin (SIRT) levels …

Contributors
Mahady, Laura Jean, Mufson, Elliott J, Bimonte-Nelson, Heather, et al.
Created Date
2018

Proprioception is the sense of body position, movement, force, and effort. Loss of proprioception can affect planning and control of limb and body movements, negatively impacting activities of daily living and quality of life. Assessments employing planar robots have shown that proprioceptive sensitivity is directionally dependent within the horizontal plane however, few studies have looked at proprioceptive sensitivity in 3d space. In addition, the extent to which proprioceptive sensitivity is modifiable by factors such as exogenous neuromodulation is unclear. To investigate proprioceptive sensitivity in 3d we developed a novel experimental paradigm employing a 7-DoF robot arm, which enables reliable testing …

Contributors
Klein, Joshua, Buneo, Christopher, Helms-Tillery, Stephen, et al.
Created Date
2018

Neural interfacing applications have advanced in complexity, with needs for increasingly high degrees of freedom in prosthetic device control, sharper discrimination in sensory percepts in bidirectional interfaces, and more precise localization of functional connectivity in the brain. As such, there is a growing need for reliable neurophysiological recordings at a fine spatial scale matching that of cortical columnar processing. Penetrating microelectrodes provide localization sufficient to isolate action potential (AP) waveforms, but often suffer from recorded signal deterioration linked to foreign body response. Micro-Electrocorticography (μECoG) surface electrodes elicit lower foreign body response and show greater chronic stability of recorded signals, though …

Contributors
Barton, Cody David, Greger, Bradley, Greger, Bradley, et al.
Created Date
2018

Estrogen-containing hormone therapy (HT) is approved for treatment of symptoms associated with menopause by the Food and Drug Administration. A common estrogen used in HT is 17β-estradiol (E2). Rodent models of menopause, and some clinical work as well, suggest a cognitively-beneficial role of E2. However, as of the 2017 statement released by the North American Menopause Society, HT is not currently advised for use as cognitive therapy in healthy, menopausal women, given that the data so far from existing clinical studies are not yet definitive. Indeed, the delivery of E2 treatment can be optimized to yield more consistent results on …

Contributors
Prakapenka, Alesia, Bimonte-Nelson, Heather, Conrad, Cheryl, et al.
Created Date
2018

The RASopathies are a collection of developmental diseases caused by germline mutations in components of the RAS/MAPK signaling pathway and is one of the world’s most common set of genetic diseases. A majority of these mutations result in an upregulation of RAS/MAPK signaling and cause a variety of both physical and neurological symptoms. Neurodevelopmental symptoms of the RASopathies include cognitive and motor delays, learning and intellectual disabilities, and various behavioral problems. Recent noninvasive imaging studies have detected widespread abnormalities within white matter tracts in the brains of RASopathy patients. These abnormalities are believed to be indicative of underlying connectivity deficits …

Contributors
Bjorklund, George Reed, Newbern, Jason M, Neisewander, Janet, et al.
Created Date
2018

Serotonin 1B receptors (5-HT1BRs) are a novel target for developing pharmacological therapies to reduce psychostimulant craving. 5-HT1BRs are expressed in the mesolimbic pathway projecting from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the nucleus accumbens (NAc), which is involved in reward and motivation. 5-HT1BR agonists modulate both cocaine- and methamphetamine-seeking behaviors in rat models of psychostimulant craving. In this dissertation, I tested the central hypothesis that 5-HT1BRs regulate cocaine and methamphetamine stimulant and rewarding effects in mice. I injected mice daily with cocaine for 20 days and then tested them 20 days after their last injection. The results showed that the …

Contributors
Der-Ghazarian, Taleen, Neisewander, Janet, Olive, Foster, et al.
Created Date
2018

Timing performance is sensitive to fluctuations in time and motivation, thus interval timing and motivation are either inseparable or conflated processes. A behavioral systems model (e.g., Timberlake, 2000) of timing performance (Chapter 1) suggests that timing performance in externally-initiated (EI) procedures conflates behavioral modes differentially sensitive to motivation, but that response-initiated (RI) procedures potentially dissociate these behavioral modes. That is, timing performance in RI procedures is expected to not conflate these behavioral modes. According to the discriminative RI hypothesis, as initiating-responses become progressively discriminable from target responses, initiating-responses increasingly dissociate interval timing and motivation. Rats were trained in timing procedures …

Contributors
Daniels, Carter W, Sanabria, Federico, McClure, Samuel M., et al.
Created Date
2018

Growing understanding of the neural code and how to speak it has allowed for notable advancements in neural prosthetics. With commercially-available implantable systems with bi- directional neural communication on the horizon, there is an increasing imperative to develop high resolution interfaces that can survive the environment and be well tolerated by the nervous system under chronic use. The sensory encoding aspect optimally interfaces at a scale sufficient to evoke perception but focal in nature to maximize resolution and evoke more complex and nuanced sensations. Microelectrode arrays can maintain high spatial density, operating on the scale of cortical columns, and can …

Contributors
Oswalt, Denise, Greger, Bradley, Buneo, Christopher, et al.
Created Date
2018

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) are the leading causes of early onset dementia. There are currently no ways to slow down progression, to prevent or cure AD and FTD. Both AD and FTD share a lot of the symptoms and pathology. Initial symptoms such as confusion, memory loss, mood swings and behavioral changes are common in both these dementia subtypes. Neurofibrillary tau tangles and intraneuronal aggregates of TAR DNA Binding Protein 43 (TDP-43) are also observed in both AD and FTD. Hence, FTD cases are often misdiagnosed as AD due to a lack of accurate diagnostics. Prior to …

Contributors
Venkataraman, Lalitha, Sierks, Michael R, Dunckley, Travis, et al.
Created Date
2018

Reproduction is energetically costly and seasonal breeding has evolved to capitalize on predictable increases in food availability. The synchronization of breeding with periods of peak food availability is especially important for small birds, most of which do not store an extensive amount of energy. The annual change in photoperiod is the primary environmental cue regulating reproductive development, but must be integrated with supplementary cues relating to local energetic conditions. Photoperiodic regulation of the reproductive neuroendocrine system is well described in seasonally breeding birds, but the mechanisms that these animals use to integrate supplementary cues remain unclear. I hypothesized that (a) …

Contributors
Valle, Shelley, Deviche, Pierre, McGraw, Kevin, et al.
Created Date
2018

The ability to detect and appropriately respond to chemical stimuli is important for many organisms, ranging from bacteria to multicellular animals. Responses to these stimuli can be plastic over multiple time scales. In the short-term, the synaptic strengths of neurons embedded in neural circuits can be modified and result in various forms of learning. In the long-term, the overall developmental trajectory of the olfactory network can be altered and synaptic strengths can be modified on a broad scale as a direct result of long-term (chronic) stimulus experience. Over evolutionary time the olfactory system can impose selection pressures that affect the …

Contributors
Jernigan, Christopher, Smith, Brian H, Newbern, Jason, et al.
Created Date
2018

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a severe motor speech disorder that is difficult to diagnose as there is currently no gold-standard measurement to differentiate between CAS and other speech disorders. In the present study, we investigate underlying biomarkers associated with CAS in addition to enhanced phenotyping through behavioral testing. Cortical electrophysiological measures were utilized to investigate differences in neural activation in response to native and non-native vowel contrasts between children with CAS and typically developing peers. Genetic analysis included full exome sequencing of a child with CAS and his unaffected parents in order to uncover underlying genetic variation that …

Contributors
Vose, Caitlin, Peter, Beate, Liu, Li, et al.
Created Date
2018

The activation of the primary motor cortex (M1) is common in speech perception tasks that involve difficult listening conditions. Although the challenge of recognizing and discriminating non-native speech sounds appears to be an instantiation of listening under difficult circumstances, it is still unknown if M1 recruitment is facilitatory of second language speech perception. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of M1 associated with speech motor centers in processing acoustic inputs in the native (L1) and second language (L2), using repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) to selectively alter neural activity in M1. Thirty-six healthy English/Spanish bilingual subjects …

Contributors
Barragan, Beatriz, Liss, Julie, Berisha, Visar, et al.
Created Date
2018

Exome sequencing was used to identify novel variants linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), in a family without mutations in genes previously linked to ALS. A F115C mutation in the gene MATR3 was identified, and further examination of other ALS kindreds identified an additional three mutations in MATR3; S85C, P154S and T622A. Matrin 3 is an RNA/DNA binding protein as well as part of the nuclear matrix. Matrin 3 interacts with TDP-43, a protein that is both mutated in some forms of ALS, and found in pathological inclusions in most ALS patients. Matrin 3 pathology, including mislocalization and rare cytoplasmic …

Contributors
Boehringer, Ashley, Bowser, Robert, Liss, Julie, et al.
Created Date
2018

Chronic stress results in functional and structural changes to the hippocampus. Decades of research has led to insights into the mechanisms underlying the chronic stress-induced deficits in hippocampal-mediated cognition and reduction of dendritic complexity of hippocampal neurons. Recently, a considerable focus of chronic stress research has investigated the mechanisms behind the improvements in hippocampal mediated cognition when chronic stress ends and a post-stress rest period is given. Consequently, the goal of this dissertation is to uncover the mechanisms that allow for spatial ability to improve in the aftermath of chronic stress. In chapter 2, the protein brain derived neurotrophic factor …

Contributors
Ortiz, John Bryce, Conrad, Cheryl D., Newbern, Jason M., et al.
Created Date
2018

Understanding where our bodies are in space is imperative for motor control, particularly for actions such as goal-directed reaching. Multisensory integration is crucial for reducing uncertainty in arm position estimates. This dissertation examines time and frequency-domain correlates of visual-proprioceptive integration during an arm-position maintenance task. Neural recordings were obtained from two different cortical areas as non-human primates performed a center-out reaching task in a virtual reality environment. Following a reach, animals maintained the end-point position of their arm under unimodal (proprioception only) and bimodal (proprioception and vision) conditions. In both areas, time domain and multi-taper spectral analysis methods were used …

Contributors
Vangilder, Paul, Buneo, Christopher A, Helms-Tillery, Stephen, et al.
Created Date
2017

Food is an essential driver of animal behavior. For social organisms, the acquisition of food guides interactions with the environment and with group-mates. Studies have focused on how social individuals find and choose food sources, and share both food and information with group-mates. However, it is often not clear how experiences throughout an individual's life influence such interactions. The core question of this thesis is how individuals’ experience contributes to within-caste behavioral variation in a social group. I investigate the effects of individual history, including physical injury and food-related experience, on individuals' social food sharing behavior, responses to food-related stimuli, …

Contributors
Finkelstein, Abigail Basya, Amdam, Gro V, Conrad, Cheryl, et al.
Created Date
2017

Approximately 2.8 million Americans seek medical care for traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Of this population, the majority are sufferers of diffuse TBI, or concussion. It is unknown how many more individuals decline to seek medical care following mild TBI. This likely sizeable population of un- or self-treated individuals combined with a lack of definitive biomarkers or objective post-injury diagnostics creates a unique need for practical therapies among diffuse TBI sufferers. Practical therapies stand to decrease the burden of TBI among those who would otherwise not seek treatment or do not meet clinical diagnostic criteria upon examination. For this …

Contributors
Harrison, Jordan Lee, Lifshitz, Jonathan, Neisewander, Janet, et al.
Created Date
2017

The human hand is a complex biological system. Humans have evolved a unique ability to use the hand for a wide range of tasks, including activities of daily living such as successfully grasping and manipulating objects, i.e., lifting a cup of coffee without spilling. Despite the ubiquitous nature of hand use in everyday activities involving object manipulations, there is currently an incomplete understanding of the cortical sensorimotor mechanisms underlying this important behavior. One critical aspect of natural object grasping is the coordination of where the fingers make contact with an object and how much force is applied following contact. Such …

Contributors
McGurrin, Patrick M., Santello, Marco, Helms-Tillery, Steve, et al.
Created Date
2017

Prosthetic users abandon devices due to difficulties performing tasks without proper graded or interpretable feedback. The inability to adequately detect and correct error of the device leads to failure and frustration. In advanced prostheses, peripheral nerve stimulation can be used to deliver sensations, but standard schemes used in sensorized prosthetic systems induce percepts inconsistent with natural sensations, providing limited benefit. Recent uses of time varying stimulation strategies appear to produce more practical sensations, but without a clear path to pursue improvements. This dissertation examines the use of physiologically based stimulation strategies to elicit sensations that are more readily interpretable. A …

Contributors
Tanner, Justin Cody, Helms Tillery, Stephen I, Santos, Veronica J, et al.
Created Date
2017

Schizophrenia is considered a multifactorial disorder with complex genetic variants in response to environmental stimuli. However, the specific genetic contribution to schizophrenia risk is largely unknown. The transcription factor early growth response gene 3 (EGR3) can be activated rapidly after stimuli and thus may translate environmental stimuli into gene changes that influence schizophrenia risk. However, the downstream genes that may be regulated by EGR3 are not clear. While the 5-Hydroxytryptamine receptor 2A (5HT2AR) - encoding gene Htr2a has been implicated in the etiology of schizophrenia, the mechanisms by which Htr2a influences susceptibility to this illness are poorly understood. We previously …

Contributors
Zhao, Xiuli, Gallitano, Amelia, Van Keuren-Jensen, Kendall, et al.
Created Date
2017

Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, impaired language and speech, and movement defects. Most AS cases are caused by dysfunction of a maternally-expressed E3 ubiquitin ligase (UBE3A, also known as E6 associated protein, E6-AP) in neurons. Currently, the mechanism on how loss-of-function of the enzyme influences the nervous system development remains unknown. We hypothesize that impaired metabolism of proteins, most likely those related to E6-AP substrates, may alter the developmental trajectory of neuronal structures including dendrites, spines and synaptic proteins, which leads to disrupted activity/experience-dependent synaptic plasticity and maturation. To test this hypothesis, …

Contributors
Li, Guohui, Qiu, Shenfeng, Newbern, Jason, et al.
Created Date
2017

In the last 15 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of motor neural prostheses used for restoring limb function lost due to neurological disorders or accidents. The aim of this technology is to enable patients to control a motor prosthesis using their residual neural pathways (central or peripheral). Recent studies in non-human primates and humans have shown the possibility of controlling a prosthesis for accomplishing varied tasks such as self-feeding, typing, reaching, grasping, and performing fine dexterous movements. A neural decoding system comprises mainly of three components: (i) sensors to record neural signals, (ii) an algorithm …

Contributors
Padmanaban, Subash, Greger, Bradley, Santello, Marco, et al.
Created Date
2017

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects 5.4 million Americans. AD leads to memory loss, changes in behavior, and death. The key hallmarks of the disease are amyloid plaques and tau tangles, consisting of amyloid-β oligomers and hyperphosphorylated tau, respectively. Rho-associated, coiled-coil-containing protein kinase (ROCK) is an enzyme that plays important roles in neuronal cells including mediating actin organization and dendritic spine morphogenesis. The ROCK inhibitor Fasudil has been shown to increase learning and working memory in aged rats, but another ROCK inhibitor, Y27632, was shown to impair learning and memory. I am interested in exploring how …

Contributors
Turk, Mari Nicole, Huentelman, Matt, Kusumi, Kenro, et al.
Created Date
2017

This dissertation proposes a new set of analytical methods for high dimensional physiological sensors. The methodologies developed in this work were motivated by problems in learning science, but also apply to numerous disciplines where high dimensional signals are present. In the education field, more data is now available from traditional sources and there is an important need for analytical methods to translate this data into improved learning. Affecting Computing which is the study of new techniques that develop systems to recognize and model human emotions is integrating different physiological signals such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and electromyogram (EMG) to detect and …

Contributors
Lujan Moreno, Gustavo A., Runger, George C, Atkinson, Robert K, et al.
Created Date
2017

Neurotoxicology has historically focused on substances that directly damage nervous tissue. Behavioral assays that test sensory, cognitive, or motor function are used to identify neurotoxins. But, the outcomes of behavioral assays may also be influenced by the physiological status of non-neural organs. Therefore, toxin induced damage to non- neural organs may contribute to behavioral modifications. Heavy metals and metalloids are persistent environmental pollutants and induce neurological deficits in multiple organisms. However, in the honey bee, an important insect pollinator, little is known about the sublethal effects of heavy metal and metalloid toxicity though they are exposed to these toxins chronically …

Contributors
Burden, Christina Marie, Amdam, Gro, Smith, Brian H, et al.
Created Date
2016

Biological and biomedical measurements, when adequately analyzed and processed, can be used to impart quantitative diagnosis during primary health care consultation to improve patient adherence to recommended treatments. For example, analyzing neural recordings from neurostimulators implanted in patients with neurological disorders can be used by a physician to adjust detrimental stimulation parameters to improve treatment. As another example, biosequences, such as sequences from peptide microarrays obtained from a biological sample, can potentially provide pre-symptomatic diagnosis for infectious diseases when processed to associate antibodies to specific pathogens or infectious agents. This work proposes advanced statistical signal processing and machine learning methodologies …

Contributors
Maurer, Alexander, Papandreou-Suppappola, Antonia, Bliss, Daniel, et al.
Created Date
2016

Why do many animals possess multiple classes of photoreceptors that vary in the wavelengths of light to which they are sensitive? Multiple spectral photoreceptor classes are a requirement for true color vision. However, animals may have unconventional vision, in which multiple spectral channels broaden the range of wavelengths that can be detected, or in which they use only a subset of receptors for specific behaviors. Branchiopod crustaceans are of interest for the study of unconventional color vision because they express multiple visual pigments in their compound eyes, have a simple repertoire of visually guided behavior, inhabit unique and highly variable …

Contributors
Lessios, Nicolas, Rutowski, Ronald L, Cohen, Jonathan H, et al.
Created Date
2016

Navigation through natural environments requires continuous sensory guidance. In addition to coordinated muscle contractions of the limbs that are controlled by spinal cord, equilibrium, body weight bearing and transfer, and avoidance of obstacles all have to happen while locomotion is in progress and these are controlled by the supraspinal centers. For successful locomotion, animals require visual and somatosensory information. Even though a number of supraspinal centers receive both in varying degrees, processing this information at different levels of the central nervous system, especially their contribution to visuo-motor and sensory-motor integration during locomotion is poorly understood. This dissertation investigates the patterns …

Contributors
Nilaweera, Wijitha Udayalal, Beloozerova, Irina N, Smith, Brian H, et al.
Created Date
2016

MicroRNAs are small, non-coding transcripts that post-transcriptionally regulate expression of multiple genes. Recently microRNAs have been linked to the etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders, including drug addiction. Following genome-wide sequence analyses, microRNA-495 (miR-495) was found to target several genes within the Knowledgebase of Addiction-Related Genes (KARG) database and to be highly expressed in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a pivotal brain region involved in reward and motivation. The central hypothesis of this dissertation is that NAc miR-495 regulates drug abuse-related behavior by targeting several addiction-related genes (ARGs). I tested this hypothesis in two ways: 1) by examining the effects of viral-mediated miR-495 …

Contributors
Bastle, Ryan, Neisewander, Janet, Newbern, Jason, et al.
Created Date
2016

Watanabe, Náñez, and Sasaki (2001) introduced a phenomenon they named “task-irrelevant perceptual learning” in which near-threshold stimuli that are not essential to a given task can be associatively learned when consistently and concurrently paired with the focal task. The present study employs a visual paired-shapes recognition task, using colored polygon targets as salient attended focal stimuli, with the goal of comparing the increases in perceptual sensitivity observed when near-threshold stimuli are temporally paired in varying manners with focal targets. Experiment 1 separated and compared the target-acquisition and target-recognition phases and revealed that sensitivity improved most when the near-threshold motion stimuli …

Contributors
Holloway, Steven Robert, McBeath, Michael K, Macknik, Stephen, et al.
Created Date
2016

The unique anatomical and functional properties of vasculature determine the susceptibility of the spinal cord to ischemia. The spinal cord vascular architecture is designed to withstand major ischemic events by compensating blood supply via important anastomotic channels. One of the important compensatory channels of the arterial basket of the conus medullaris (ABCM). ABCM consists of one or two arteries arising from the anterior spinal artery (ASA) and circumferentially connecting the ASA and the posterior spinal arteries. In addition to compensatory function, the arterial basket can be involved in arteriovenous fistulae and malformations of the conus. The morphometric anatomical analysis of …

Contributors
Martirosyan, Nikolay, Preul, Mark C, Vernon, Brent, et al.
Created Date
2016

Pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in children. When TBI occurs in children it often results in severe cognitive and behavioral deficits. Post-injury, the pediatric brain may be sensitive to the effects of TBI while undergoing a number of age-dependent physiological and neurobiological changes. Due to the nature of the developing cortex, it is important to understand how a pediatric brain recovers from a severe TBI (sTBI) compared to an adult. Investigating major cortical and cellular changes after sTBI in a pediatric model can elucidate why pediatrics go on to suffer more neurological …

Contributors
Nichols, Joshua, Anderson, Trent, Newbern, Jason, et al.
Created Date
2015

Women are exposed to numerous endogenous and exogenous hormones across the lifespan. In the last several decades, the prescription of novel hormonal contraceptives and hormone therapies (HTs) have resulted in aging women that have a unique hormone exposure history; little is known about the impact of these hormone exposures on short- and long- term brain health. The goal of my dissertation was to understand how lifetime hormone exposures shape the female cognitive phenotype using several innovative approaches, including a new human spatial working memory task, the human radial arm maze (HRAM), and several rodent menopause models with variants of clinically …

Contributors
Mennenga, Sarah Elaine, Bimonte-Nelson, Heather, Aiken, Leona, et al.
Created Date
2015

Studies in Second Language Acquisition and Neurolinguistics have argued that adult learners when dealing with certain phonological features of L2, such as segmental and suprasegmental ones, face problems of articulatory placement (Esling, 2006; Abercrombie, 1967) and somatosensory stimulation (Guenther, Ghosh, & Tourville, 2006; Waldron, 2010). These studies have argued that adult phonological acquisition is a complex matter that needs to be informed by a specialized sensorimotor theory of speech acquisition. They further suggested that traditional pronunciation pedagogy needs to be enhanced by an approach to learning offering learners fundamental and practical sensorimotor tools to advance the quality of L2 speech …

Contributors
Lima, Alberto, Pruitt, Kathryn, Van Gelderen, Elly, et al.
Created Date
2015

Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) were first imagined as a technology that would allow subjects to have direct communication with prosthetics and external devices (e.g. control over a computer cursor or robotic arm movement). Operation of these devices was not automatic, and subjects needed calibration and training in order to master this control. In short, learning became a key component in controlling these systems. As a result, BMIs have become ideal tools to probe and explore brain activity, since they allow the isolation of neural inputs and systematic altering of the relationships between the neural signals and output. I have used BMIs …

Contributors
Armenta Salas, Michelle, Helms Tillery, Stephen I, Si, Jennie, et al.
Created Date
2015

Methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2) is a widely abundant, multifunctional regulator of gene expression with highest levels of expression in mature neurons. In humans, both loss- and gain-of-function mutations of MECP2 cause mental retardation and motor dysfunction classified as either Rett Syndrome (RTT, loss-of-function) or MECP2 Duplication Syndrome (MDS, gain-of-function). At the cellular level, MECP2 mutations cause both synaptic and dendritic defects. Despite identification of MECP2 as a cause for RTT nearly 16 years ago, little progress has been made in identifying effective treatments. Investigating major cellular and molecular targets of MECP2 in model systems can help elucidate how mutation …

Contributors
Williams, Alison Ann, Duch, Carsten, Orchinik, Miles, et al.
Created Date
2015

Evidence from the 20th century demonstrated that early life stress (ELS) produces long lasting neuroendocrine and behavioral effects related to an increased vulnerability towards psychiatric illnesses such as major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and substance use disorder. Substance use disorders (SUDs) are complex neurological and behavioral psychiatric illnesses. The development, maintenance, and relapse of SUDs involve multiple brain systems and are affected by many variables, including socio-economic and genetic factors. Pre-clinical studies demonstrate that ELS affects many of the same systems, such as the reward circuitry and executive function involved with addiction-like behaviors. Previous research has focused on …

Contributors
Lewis, Candace R, Olive, M. Foster, Hammer, Ronald, et al.
Created Date
2015

Locomotion in natural environments requires coordinated movements from multiple body parts, and precise adaptations when changes in the environment occur. The contributions of the neurons of the motor cortex underlying these behaviors are poorly understood, and especially little is known about how such contributions may differ based on the anatomical and physiological characteristics of neurons. To elucidate the contributions of motor cortical subpopulations to movements, the activity of motor cortical neurons, muscle activity, and kinematics were studied in the cat during a variety of locomotion tasks requiring accurate foot placement, including some tasks involving both expected and unexpected perturbations of …

Contributors
Stout, Eric, Beloozerova, Irina N, Dounskaia, Natalia, et al.
Created Date
2015

Intermittent social defeat stress produces vulnerability to drugs of abuse, a phenomena known as cross-sensitization, which is proceeded by a corresponding upregulation of ventral tegmental area (VTA) mu-opioid receptors (MORs). Since VTA MORs are implicated in the expression of psychostimulant sensitization, they may also mediate social stress-induced vulnerability to drugs of abuse. Social stress and drugs of abuse increase mesolimbic brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling with its receptor, tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB). These studies examined whether VTA MOR signaling is important for the behavioral and cellular consequences of social stress. First, the function of VTA MORs in the behavioral consequences …

Contributors
Johnston, Caitlin Elizabeth, Hammer, Ronald P., Nikulina, Ella M., et al.
Created Date
2015

Tobacco and alcohol are the most commonly abused drugs worldwide. Many people smoke and drink together, but the mechanisms of this nicotine (NIC) -ethanol (EtOH) dependence are not fully known. EtOH has been shown to affect some nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), which potentially underlies NIC-EtOH codependence. Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) dopamine (DA) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons express different nAChR subtypes, whose net activation results in enhancement of DA release in the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) and Nucleus Accumbens (NAc). Enhancement of DA transmission in this mesocorticolimbic system is thought to lead to rewarding properties of EtOH and NIC, clarification of …

Contributors
Taylor, Devin, Wu, Jie, Olive, M F, et al.
Created Date
2015

ABSTRACT Auditory hallucinations are a characteristic symptom of schizophrenia. Research has documented that the auditory cortex is metabolically activated when this process occurs, and that imbalances in the dopaminergic transmission in the striatum contribute to its physiopathology. Most animal models have focused the effort on pharmacological approaches like non-competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists to produce activation of the auditory cortex, or dopamine antagonists to alleviate it. I hypothesize that these perceptual phenomena can be explained by an imbalance activation of spiny projecting neurons in the striatal pathways, whereby supersensitive postsynaptic D2-like receptor, signaling in the posterior caudatoputamen generates activation of …

Contributors
Parga Becerra, Alejandro, Neisewander, Janet, Hammer, Ronald, et al.
Created Date
2014