Research in our lab is focused on identifying the basic mechanisms of seizures that are unique to infants and young children. The catastrophic epilepsies of childhood often occur during circumscribed periods of brain development; with maturation these seizure disorders can be transformed to other types of epilepsy that are often unresponsive to anticonvulsant medications. Children with these disorders are often cognitively impaired. We have developed an animal model of infantile spasms, one of these catastrophic epilepsies.
The Anderson lab studies the molecular mechanisms by which signaling pathways modulate neuronal excitability in the immature hippocampus. The lab is also investigating how and why seizures induce long-term changes in ion channel plasticity (acquired channelopathies) and has developed several animal models of cortical dysplasia, autism and epilepsy. Additional studies are focused on cardiac mechanisms underlying sudden death in epilepsy. In addition to her research activities, Dr. Anderson leads the NRI EEG core and practices pediatric epilepsy at Texas Children's Hospital.
In the mammalian brain, synaptic connections organize the vast number of neurons into intricate neural circuits that give rise to the senses, cognitions, and actions. To understand how the brain performs its remarkable functions, it is essential to discover how the synapses orchestrate the spatiotemporal patterns of neuronal activities. Furthermore, synaptic dysfunction is being increasingly recognized as a critical underlying etiology of many neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and autism.
Each moment our senses are bombarded with information from many sources. How do networks of neurons in the brain rapidly process this information in order to make sense out of the world and choose appropriate actions? The McGinley lab approaches this question by studying neural mechanisms of auditory perceptual decision making behaviors, in mice. We primarily use whole-cell recording and two-photon imaging in head-fixed mice while they perform auditory perceptual decision-making tasks.