Three-Dimensional Computer Reconstructions of Histological Brain Preparations and Neural Network Analysis
The growing success and widespread acceptance of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s and essential tremor has opened up the possibilities for applying brain stimulation for other neurological disorders and conditions. The Lim lab pushes to develop new neural prostheses for hearing restoration and tinnitus suppression. This research requires parallel experiments in animals and in humans to understand the various ways in which we can electrically stimulate different brain regions to restore normal auditory function in patients suffering from hearing loss and debilitating tinnitus. For the animal experiments, special electrode arrays are implanted into different brain regions and stimulated with various parameters to characterize the corresponding activation effects on neural coding and perception. After each experiment, histological slices are used to reconstruct three-dimensional computational brain models using Rhinoceros software to identify the locations of our electrode arrays. The researchers also perform extensive spiking pattern analysis and correlations across locations to identify how specific brain regions are related to different electrical stimulation brain activation patterns. These results not only help characterize different brain regions but will also help to identify optimal locations for implanting neural implants in future patients. The large data files used to create these brain reconstructions and neural analyses require the high-performance computers available at MSI to ensure effective and efficient creation and manipulations of the various brain and network models.