Department of Neurobiology
Fanselow, Erika
Assistant Professor, Neurobiology
Ph.D., Duke University (2001)
Address: W1458 BSTWR
   200 Lothrop Street
   Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2536
Telephone: 412-648-9563
Fax: 412-648-1441

Cortical circuitry in health and disease

Research in Dr. Fanselow’s laboratory focuses on several topics:

Epilepsy treatment via trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS)
The trigeminal nerve is a cranial nerve that transmits information from the face to the brain. For reasons that are not yet clear, electrical stimulation of this nerve can reduce seizure activity in animals and in human epilepsy patients. Dr. Fanselow’s current work in this area is designed to understand the mechanism(s) by which TNS alters neuronal activity and alleviates seizures. In addition, we are interested in optimizing the stimulus parameters for TNS, thus improving the technique for application in humans.
Neuronal mechanisms of seizure generation
The process of seizure generation is known as ictogenesis. Much is known about what can make brain tissue seizure prone, but little is understood about what, acutely, generates a seizure. We study the roles of inhibitory and excitatory neurons in ictogenesis, using both in vivo and in vitro preparations.
Role of inhibitory neurons in non-pathological brain function
We are also studying how inhibitory neurons influence cortical activity under non-pathological conditions. We focus on understanding the physiological roles of inhibitory neurons in the somatosensory-motor regions of the neocortex.

Techniques used in Dr. Fanselow’s laboratory:

By expressing light-activated proteins in neurons within specific brain regions, we can investigate the physiological roles these neurons play.

Indwelling microwire electrode recordings:
These electrodes allow for simultaneous recordings of single-unit, multi-unit and local field potentials.

In vitro patch-clamp techniques:
These techniques allow us to record simultaneously from both inhibitory and excitatory neurons in a slice preparation of the corticothalamic system.


Sample Publications:

Postnatal maturation of somatostatin-expressing inhibitory cells in the somatosensory cortex of GIN mice.
Kinnischtzke AK, Sewall AM, Berkepile JM, Fanselow EE.
Front Neural Circuits. 2012;6:33.

LTS and FS inhibitory interneurons, short-term synaptic plasticity, and cortical circuit dynamics.
Hayut I, Fanselow EE, Connors BW, Golomb D.
PLoS Comput Biol. 2011 Oct;7(10):e1002248.

Trigeminal nerve stimulation: seminal animal and human studies for epilepsy and depression.
DeGiorgio CM, Fanselow EE, Schrader LM, Cook IA.
Neurosurg Clin N Am. 2011 Oct;22(4):449-56, v.

The roles of somatostatin-expressing (GIN) and fast-spiking inhibitory interneurons in UP-DOWN states of mouse neocortex.
Fanselow EE, Connors BW.
J Neurophysiol. 2010 Aug;104(2):596-606.

Selective, state-dependent activation of somatostatin-expressing inhibitory interneurons in mouse neocortex.
Fanselow EE, Richardson KA, Connors BW.
J Neurophysiol. 2008 Nov;100(5):2640-52.

Neocortical Anatomy and Physiology, Chapter 29 in Epilepsy: A Comprehensive Textbook, 2nd Ed., Engel J and Pedley TA (eds).
Richardson KA, Fanselow EE, and BW Connors.
Lippincott-Williams & Wilkins, pp. 323-336, 2008. ebook

Thalamic bursting in rats during different awake behavioral states.
Fanselow EE, Sameshima K, Baccala LA, and Nicolelis MAL.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Dec 18;98(26):15330-5.

Reduction of pentylenetetrazole-induced seizure activity in awake rats by seizure-triggered trigeminal nerve stimulation.
Fanselow EE, Reid AP, and Nicolelis MAL.
J Neurosci. 2000 Nov 1;20(21):8160-8.

Behavioral modulation of tactile responses in the rat thalamocortical loop.
Fanselow EE and Nicolelis MAL.
J Neurosci. 1999 Sep 1;19(17):7603-16.

Hebb's dream: the resurgence of cell assemblies.
Nicolelis MAL, Fanselow EE, and Ghazanfar AA.
Neuron. 1997 Aug;19(2):219-21.

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