Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology

Santhakumar Lab - Research Overview

     Our research focus is to determine how connectivity and modulation of inhibitory circuits shapes emergent network behavior in the normal brain and in neurological diseases. The concept that tonic inhibition, mediated by high affinity extra-synaptic receptors, is a major determinant of neuronal excitability, and that certain forms of epilepsy and ataxia are associated with alterations in tonic inhibition, has led to an increasing interest in understanding how tonic extra-synaptic inhibition is regulated. Our goal is to identify mechanisms that modulate tonic inhibition during neuronal activity and determine how these mechanisms are altered in neurological disease states. This research will identify specific perturbations in the inhibitory networks and thereby point out novel therapeutic strategies to treat these conditions. My work combines electrophysiological techniques with computational modeling of network behavior to gain an in depth understanding of the mechanisms of inhibition.


Ongoing Projects
1. Dentate Microcircuit Plasticity in Epilepsy 2. Computational Modeling of Netowrk Dynamics 3. Role of inhibitory circuit development in Epilepsy-Autism Comorbidity.
4. Role of Immune Signaling in Modulating Neuronal Exciability in the normal and injured brain. 5. Cellular and Circuit effects of Concussive Brain Injury. 6. Effect of Injury biomechanics on neuropathology and outcomes after brain trauma.


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University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology
2111 Biological Sciences Bldg.

Manuela Martins-Green: Chair of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology
Tel: (951) 827-2831
Fax: (951) 827-3087
E-mail: manuela.martins@ucr.edu