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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.


Date Range
2011 2019


Previously accomplished research examined sensory integration between upper limb proprioception and tactile sensation. The active proprioceptive-tactile relationship points towards an opportunity to examine neuromodulation effects on sensory integration with respect to proprioceptive error magnitude and direction. Efforts to improve focus and attention during upper limb proprioceptive tasks results in a decrease of proprioceptive error magnitudes and greater endpoint accuracy. Increased focus and attention can also be correlated to neurophysiological activity in the Locus Coeruleus (LC) during a variety of mental tasks. Through non-invasive trigeminal nerve stimulation, it may be possible to affect the activity of the LC and induce improvements …

Contributors
Orthlieb, Gerrit Chi Luk, Helms-Tillery, Stephen, Tanner, Justin, et al.
Created Date
2019

Of the 2.87 million traumatic brain injuries (TBI) sustained yearly in the United States, 75% are diffuse injuries. A single TBI can have acute and chronic influences on the neuroendocrine system leading to hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) dysregulation and increased affective disorders. Preliminary data indicate TBI causes neuroinflammation in the hippocampus, likely due to axonal damage, and in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN), where no axonal damage is apparent. Mechanisms regulating neuroinflammation in the PVN are unknown. Furthermore, chronic stress causes HPA dysregulation and glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-mediated neuroinflammation in the PVN. The goal of this project was to evaluate …

Contributors
Ridgway, Samantha, Thomas, Theresa C, Newbern, Jason, et al.
Created Date
2019

Greater than 11% of the total population of Americans age 12 and older were illicit drug users with close to 1 million suffering from cocaine use disorder in 2017 alone (SAMHSA, 2017), yet there are no effective pharmacological treatments for this disorder. Previous research from the Neisewander Laboratory in male rats found that administration of a 5-HT1BR agonist facilitates cocaine intake when given prior to a daily self-administration session, while inhibiting cocaine intake and attenuating drug-seeking behavior following 21 days of protracted abstinence, yet it is not known whether such effects are observed in female rats. Women face unique challenges …

Contributors
Scott, Samantha Nicola, Neisewander, Janet L, Olive, Michael F, 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

Stroke remains a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. In recent studies, chronic vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has been proven to enhance functional recovery when paired with motor rehabilitation training after stroke. Other studies have also demonstrated that delivering VNS during the onset of a stroke may elicit some neuroprotective effects as observed in remaining neural tissue and motor function. While these studies have demonstrated the benefits of VNS as a treatment or therapy in combatting stroke damage, the mechanisms responsible for these effects are still not well understood or known. The aim of this research was …

Contributors
Okada, Kristen Yuri, Kleim, Jeffrey A, Si, Jennie, et al.
Created Date
2019

Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant pediatric brain cancer and is classified into four different subgroups based on genetic profiling: sonic hedgehog (SHH), WNT, Group 3 and 4. Changes in gene expression often alter the progression and development of cancers. One way to control gene expression is through the acetylation and deacetylation of histones. More specifically in medulloblastoma SHH and Group 3, there is an increased deacetylation, and histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) can be used to target this change. Not only can HDACi target increases in deacetylation, they are also known to induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. The combination …

Contributors
Dharmaraj, Shruti, Sirianni, Rachael W, Stabenfeldt, Sarah E, et al.
Created Date
2019

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental neuropsychiatric condition with early childhood onset, thus most research has focused on characterizing brain function in young individuals. Little is understood about brain function differences in middle age and older adults with ASD, despite evidence of persistent and worsening cognitive symptoms. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in younger persons with ASD demonstrate that large-scale brain networks containing the prefrontal cortex are affected. A novel, threshold-selection-free graph theory metric is proposed as a more robust and sensitive method for tracking brain aging in ASD and is compared against five well-accepted graph theoretical analysis methods …

Contributors
Catchings, Michael Thomas, Braden, Brittany B, Greger, Bradley, 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

Every year, 3 million older people are treated for fall injuries, and nearly 800,000 are hospitalized, many of which due to head injuries or hip fractures. In 2015 alone, Medicare and Medicaid paid nearly 75% of the $50 Billion in medical costs generated by falls. As the US population continues to age, more adults are beginning to deal with movement related disorders, and the need to be able to detect and mitigate these risks is becoming more necessary. Classical metrics of fall risk can capture static stability, but recent advancements have yielded new metrics to analyze balance and stability during …

Contributors
Kreisler, Itai Goeta, Lockhart, Thurmon E, Tyler, William J, et al.
Created Date
2019

With a growing number of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), more and more research has been conducted on majority male cohorts with ASD from young, adolescence, and some older age. Currently, males make up the majority of individuals diagnosed with ASD, however, recent research states that the gender gap is closing due to more advanced screening and a better understanding of how females with ASD present their symptoms. Little research has been published on the neurocognitive differences that exist between older adults with ASD compared to neurotypical (NT) counterparts, and nothing has specifically addressed older women with ASD. This …

Contributors
Webb, Christen Len, Braden, B. Blair, Azuma, Tamiko, 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

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has shown benefits beyond its original therapeutic application, though there is a lack of research into these benefits in healthy and athletic populations. To address this gap in the VNS literature, the present study addresses the feasibility and possible efficacy of transcutaneous VNS (tVNS) in improving performance and various biometrics during two athletic tasks: golf tee shots and baseball pitching. Performance, cortical dynamics, anxiety measures, muscle excitation, and heart rate characteristics were assessed before and after stimulation using electroencephalography (EEG), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), and electrocardiography (ECG) during the baseball and golf tasks as well …

Contributors
Lindley, Kyle Evan, Tyler, William J, Wyckoff, Sarah, et al.
Created Date
2019

Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) has been shown to be a promising therapeutic technique in treating many neurological diseases, including epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and migraine headache. The mechanisms by which VNS acts, however, are not fully understood but may involve changes in cerebral blood flow. The vagus nerve plays a significant role in the regulation of heart rate and cerebral blood flow that are altered during VNS. Here, the effects of acute vagal nerve stimulation using varying stimulation parameters on both heart rate and cerebral blood flow were examined. Laser Speckle Contrast Analysis (LASCA) was used to analyze the …

Contributors
Hillebrand, Peter, Kleim, Jeffrey A, Helms Tillery, Stephen I, 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

The present series of studies examined whether a novel implementation of an intermittent restraint (IR) chronic stress paradigm could be used to investigate hippocampal-dependent spatial ability in both sexes. In experiments 1 and 2, Sprague- Dawley male rats were used to identify the optimal IR parameters to assess spatial ability. For IR, rats were restrained for 2 or 6hrs/day (IR2, IR6, respectively) for five days and then given two days off, a process that was repeated for three weeks and compared to rats restrained for 6hrs/d for each day (DR6) and non-stressed controls (CON). Spatial memory was tested on the …

Contributors
Peay, Dylan, Conrad, Cheryl D, Bimonte-Nelson, Heather, et al.
Created Date
2019

Development of effective therapeutic interventions for the treatment of mental health disorders has been a significant driving force in the search to understand the human brain. Current treatments for mental health disorders rely on modulating neurotransmitter systems such as norepinephrine (NE), serotonin (5-HT), dopamine (DA) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to achieve clinically relevant relief of symptoms. While many medications are available to the clinician that individually target these neural systems, treatment often results in patients reporting unwanted side effects or experiencing incomplete relief. To counter this lack of treatment efficacy, further investigation of other avenues for achieving similar or better …

Contributors
Stratton, Harrison James, Shafer, Michael, Olive, Micahel F, et al.
Created Date
2019

Nicotine self-administration is associated with decreased expression of the glial glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) and the cystine-glutamate exchange protein xCT in the nucleus accumbens core (NAcore). N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and glutamatergic agent, restores these proteins associated with increased relapse vulnerability. However, the specific molecular mechanisms driving NAC inhibitory effects on cue-induced nicotine reinstatement are unknown. Thus, the present study assessed NAC’s effects on cue-induced nicotine reinstatement are dependent on NAcore GLT-1 expression. Here, rats were treated with NAC in combination with intra-NAcore vivo-morpholinos to examine the role of GLT-1 in NAC-mediated inhibition of cue-induced nicotine seeking. …

Contributors
Namba, Mark Douglas, Gipson-Reichardt, Cassandra D, Conrad, Cheryl D, 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

There is a critical need for creating an implantable microscale neural interface that can chronically monitor neural activity and oxygenation. These are key aspects for understating the development of impaired neural circuits and their functions. A technology with such capability would foster new insights in the studies of brain diseases and disorders. The propose is that MR-PISTOL (Proton imaging of Siloxane to Map Tissue Oxygenation Levels) imaging technique can be used for direct measurements of oxygen partial pressure at microelectrode-tissue interface. The strategy consists of coating microelectrodes with soft-silicone, a ultra-soft conductive PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane), as a carrier for liquid siloxanes …

Contributors
de Mesquita Teixeira, Livia, Muthuswamy, Jitendran, Kodibagkar, Vikram, 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

Properly deciding to engage in or to withhold an action is a critical ability for goal-oriented movement control. Such decision may be driven by expected value from the choice of action but associating physical effort may discount such value. A novel anticipatory stopping task was developed to investigate effort discounted decision process potentially present in proactive inhibitory control. Subjects performed or abstained from target reach if they believed it was a Go or Stop trial respectively. Reward was awarded to a reach, correctly timed to hit a target at the same time as the moving bar in Go trials. During …

Contributors
Tsuchiya, Toshiki, Santello, Marco, Fine, Justin, 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

The Erk/MAPK pathway plays a major role in cell growth, differentiation, and survival. Genetic mutations that cause dysregulation in this pathway can result in the development of Rasopathies, a group of several different syndromes including Noonan Syndrome, Costello Syndrome, and Neurofibromatosis Type-1. Since these mutations are germline and affect all cell types it is hard to differentiate the role that Erk/MAPK plays in each cell type. Previous research has shown that individual cell types utilize the Erk/MAPK pathway in different ways. For example, the morphological development of lower motor neuron axonal projections is Erk/MAPK-independent during embryogenesis, while nociceptive neuron projections …

Contributors
Smith, Colton, Newbern, Jason, Neisewander, Janet, 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

A robotic swarm can be defined as a large group of inexpensive, interchangeable robots with limited sensing and/or actuating capabilities that cooperate (explicitly or implicitly) based on local communications and sensing in order to complete a mission. Its inherent redundancy provides flexibility and robustness to failures and environmental disturbances which guarantee the proper completion of the required task. At the same time, human intuition and cognition can prove very useful in extreme situations where a fast and reliable solution is needed. This idea led to the creation of the field of Human-Swarm Interfaces (HSI) which attempts to incorporate the human …

Contributors
Karavas, Georgios Konstantinos, Artemiadis, Panagiotis, Berman, Spring M., et al.
Created Date
2017

Animals must learn to ignore stimuli that are irrelevant to survival, which is a process referred to as ‘latent inhibition’. This process has been shown to be genetically heritable (Latshaw JS, Mazade R, Sinakevitch I, Mustard JA, Gadau J, Smith BH (submitted)). The locus containing the AmTYR1 gene has been shown through quantitative trait loci mapping to be linked to strong latent inhibition in honey bees. The Smith lab has been able to show a correlation between learning and the AmTYR1 receptor gene through pharmacological inhibition of the receptor. In order to further confirm this finding, experiments were designed to …

Contributors
Petersen, Mary Margaret, Smith, Brian H, Wang, Ying, et al.
Created Date
2017

In recent years, the use of biologically based (neurological, neuropsychological, genetic) evidence in criminal trials as support for claims of mental impairments among offenders has increased in popularity. However, research on how exposure to those arguments affects jury decision-making remains unclear. Specifically, arguments rooted in biology sometimes mitigate and sometimes aggravate judgments of criminal responsibility for mentally ill offenders, and this discrepancy seems to stem from the specific conditions by which that disorder was acquired. The following study’s aim was to uncover the precise mechanism(s) behind this elusive effect. Utilizing a 2x2 between subjects experimental design, participants were presented with …

Contributors
Hunter, Shelby, Schweitzer, Nick, Neal, Tess, 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

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time. It is the cause of 60% to 70% of cases of dementia. There is growing interest in identifying brain image biomarkers that help evaluate AD risk pre-symptomatically. High-dimensional non-linear pattern classification methods have been applied to structural magnetic resonance images (MRI’s) and used to discriminate between clinical groups in Alzheimers progression. Using Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) as the pre- ferred imaging modality, this thesis develops two independent machine learning based patch analysis methods and uses them to perform six binary classification …

Contributors
Srivastava, Anant, Wang, Yalin, Bansal, Ajay, 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