Lauren Nicole Lossner
Hometown: Mesa, Arizona, United States
Graduation date: Spring 2021
FURI | Spring 2021
Interictal Spike Depolarization in the Neocortex: Relationship to Action Potential Inactivation
Evaluated how local voltage changes due to interictal spikes impact action potential firing using intracellular recordings and the Hodgkin-Huxley model. The Hodgkin-Huxley model showed inactivated action potentials being generated by large depolarizations. The Hodgkin-Huxley model confirmed the effect of large interictal spike depolarizations on action potential firing and inactivation. This supports the hypothesis that interictal spikes may contribute to idiopathic seizure disorder.
Mentor: Bradley Greger
Featured project | Spring 2021
Lauren Lossner is a biomedical engineering senior conducting research in the FURI program. With her mentor, Associate Professor Bradley Greger, she is studying the effects of voltage changes in the brain called interictal spikes and their firing rate and action potentials to determine if they contribute to epilepsy.
What made you want to get involved in FURI?
I really wanted to get involved in the FURI program in order to advance my skills in problem-solving, innovation and independent thinking, all of which are necessary for my future pursuits after I graduate from ASU.
Why did you choose the project you’re working on?
I chose to work with Dr. Bradley Greger on my project because I have had family members who have experienced neurological deterioration. Through tragic plights, I realized that I want to be part of the solution to solve and treat neurological and nervous system disorders. This project allowed me to pursue my interest in studying neurological disorder pathology.
What does your research involve?
In my project, I utilized the Hodgkin-Huxley model to show the progression from low firing rate normal action potentials to higher firing rate normal action potentials to inactivated action potentials as the amplitude of the interictal spikes increased. The theoretical behavior of neuronal firing is compared to data from human intracellular recordings in order to determine if the model accurately predicts epileptic pathology in human patients.
Taking an integrated approach of human intracellular data from epileptic patients utilizing micro-electrocorticography and animal models may allow me to determine how the activity of individual neurons and groups of neurons correlate with, and contribute to, interictal spikes.
Thinking through the possible interpretations of underlying mechanisms of epilepsy and what this entails for future epilepsy research has been extremely exciting. As an undergraduate research assistant in a neural engineering laboratory, I have learned how to utilize MATLAB, especially the Chronux software package, implement algorithms for sorting data and analyze the response of linear and time-invariant systems to an arbitrary input signal using Fourier and Laplace transforms.
How will your engineering research project impact the world?
I hope to gain insight into the generation and propagation of seizures and mechanistically link the activity of individual neurons and networks of neurons with established electrophysiological markers of seizures and epilepsy.
Conducting neural engineering research taught me that I could make a difference in someone’s life. This research could help save the lives of millions of epileptic people around the world. If interictal spike depolarization and action potential inactivation are the underlying pathology of epilepsy, this could lead to advanced diagnostic, therapeutic and treatment options.
How do you see this experience helping with your career goals?
Dr. Greger’s lab has helped solidify my goal to attend graduate school and conduct research in neurorehabilitation. Additionally, from working in a laboratory with post-doctoral and graduate students, I was inspired by everyone’s intelligence and motivation and can see a career path in neurorehabilitation research for myself more clearly than ever before.
Why should other students get involved in FURI?
The FURI program allows you to conduct high-level research on a subject you are passionate about. It’s a great opportunity to work with mentors and professors at ASU who are welcoming, knowledgeable and want to work with students. The program is designed for you to conceptualize an idea, develop a plan and investigate your own unique research question. You get to develop and investigate innovative solutions to real-world, everyday challenges in multiple fields. It’s a great way to get involved and conduct meaningful research!
What else have you gained as a Fulton Schools student?
My experience in biomedical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU has been a great one. I feel confident that I am prepared for productive employment and graduate study in neural engineering. I am confident in my technical knowledge and leadership abilities to address domestic or global issues in human health and am prepared to ethically and responsibly contribute to society by drawing from an integrated, transdisciplinary biomedical engineering education that focuses on sustainability and environmentalism. I am so happy to be a Sun Devil.