• Konstantinos Michmizos
  • Abstract:

    We propose to explore the long-neglected functional roles of the non-neuronal brain cells and engraft them into biologically plausible models of Neural-Astrocytic Networks (NAN). To achieve our goal, we have formed an interdisciplinary team of principal investigators at Rutgers, that balances pioneering and well-established experimental, computational and translational research. We will study how glial cells, astrocytes in particular, work independently and cooperatively with the neuronal brain. To do so, we will conduct experimental studies to explore the biological mechanisms that astrocytes exhibit in modulating neural synchronization and local plasticity, two fundamental components in brain network function and dysfunction. Our NAN models will, on the one hand, be informed by the experimental results and, on the other hand, expand the experimental evi-dence collected from cell recordings to the brain network level, where behavior, and its associated diseases, emerge. The anticipated new knowledge on astrocyte-neuron interaction will advance, if not transform, brain studies and related treatments. Overall, this and other efforts to harness and nurture the functional role of astrocytes into comprehensive computational models have the potential to shape a field that one may call “Computational Astrocyence.

  • Grant Title: BHI
  • Principal Investigator:: Konstantinos Michmizos
  • Co-Principal Investigator:: Bonnie Firestein Zhiping, Pang Cheryl, Dreyfus
  • Grant Agency: BHI
  • Grant Duration: 04/01/2019 to 03/31/2020
  • Amount: $40,000

Konstantinos Michmizos wins the Rutgers Brain Health Institute Grant Award for the proposal entitled "Computational Astrocyence."

This Award is in collaboration with leaders in experimental neuroscience: Cheryl Dreyfus, Zhiping Pang (Rutgers Medical School), and Bonnie Firestein (SAS Cell Biology and Neuroscience.)

The Award will allow Konstantinos to further expand his Lab's research on Neural - Astrocytic Networks by combining his computational modeling with experimental studies, providing an opportunity for a push-pull dynamic between the two aspects. 

The anticipated new knowledge on astrocyte-neuron interaction will advance both computational and brain studies, including studies on brain treatments.

The $40,000/year Grant aligns with ComBra Lab's ongoing efforts to shake the "neurocomputing" dogma, where "brain = neurons", and introduce algorithms employing an abundant yet long-neglected brain cell, astrocytes, with unique computational capabilities.