Today Zaheer Ali, who has been working in our group since spring 2012, presented and defended his work.
The title was Mathematical Modeling of Electrophysiological Data of Facilitation in Layer 6 Pyramidal Cells (abstract below).
Facilitation is a distinctive activation pattern shown by pyramidal
cells in the layer 6 of the cerebral cortex upon rapid and repeated stimulations.
This behavior leads to the generation of tonic-clonic seizures which is a
defining feature of epilepsy. Patch-clamp recording techniques performed on
these cells show facilitation in different experiments. A mathematical modeling
approach is used in order to find the possible mechanism of facilitation
depending on different calcium domains in the presynaptic neurons. Four
different versions of the model have been constructed using ODEs. First version
of the model is a simple model of three compartments in the presynaptic neuron
with an influx of calcium at the triggering calcium compartment, the buffer
compartment and the stable internal domain of calcium can describe the data of
facilitation. Second version of the model has the calcium influx through a
micro-domain compartment near the cell membrane because of physical distance
between ion channel and the vesicle, in addition to the three compartments. The
third version of the model has a limited calcium buffer without micro-domain
calcium compartment which provides saturation to the buffer in this model and
the final version of the model is similar to third version of the model with
the addition of a micro-domain calcium influx. All models can describe the
experimental data sets of facilitation separately fitted to the model. In
addition, the third version of the model can describe all the experimental data
at the same time qualitatively.