Dr. Olalekan Ogundele
Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBS)
Gross Anatomy, Cell, and Developmental Biology, Histology and Neurobiology.
The brain contains billions of neurons, with each one forming several synaptic connections. Through these structural and electrochemical interactions, groups of neurons, encode information by generating bursts of action potential and post-synaptic current (excitation). However, if unchecked, hyperexcitation can lead to seizures or degenerative changes in the brain. The goal of my research is to investigate novel mechanisms utilized by small conductance channels (SK2) in the regulation of hippocampal neural network excitability. Specifically, we will ascertain how SK2 modulates dendritic spine localization of T286 pCaMKIIα towards controlling network excitation. Through in vivo extracellular voltage recording and optogenetics, we have begun to dissect the significance of SK2 and T286pCaMKIIα activity coupling in CA1 firing rate homeostasis, and their dysregulation in cognitive disorders. Combining optogenetics with neural recording is noteworthy as it allows for simultaneous assessment and modulation of neural activity in awake mice undertaking a quantifiable cognitive-behavioral test. This has also allowed us to determine the correlation between synaptic proteins, burst encoding, and behavior in normal and mutant mice for chronic durations (6-8 months). For this purpose, we use a range of transgenic mouse lines with specific mutations that produce dendritic spine loss and defective synaptic plasticity. Other methods used in my lab include the Cre-lox technique for gene silencing/expression, optogenetic-based neural circuit tracing, neuroanatomical tracing with 3D-fluorescence imaging, immunofluorescence, expansion microscopy (ExM), CLARITY (iDisco), confocal microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), immunoblotting, and RT-PCR.