Date of Award

6-2009

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Frank L. Severance

Second Advisor

Dr. Damon A. Miller

Third Advisor

Dr. Bradley J. Bazuin

Fourth Advisor

Dr. John W. Gesink

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The Neurobiology Engineering Laboratory at Western Michigan University is investigating stimulus/response relationships of physiological neural networks via acquisition and analysis of the associated electrical signals. A number of issues including the physical size of neurons of interest, accessibility to neurons within compact physical structures, and small signal amplitudes make data acquisition a complex endeavor. The stochastic nature of action potential generation in physiological neural networks complicates data analysis. To this end, planned research in the Neurobiology Engineering Laboratory will involve specialized glass Petri dishes with micrometer scale embedded electrodes known as microelectrode arrays. Cultures of neurons may be grown directly on top of this electrode array to enable extracellular stimulation and measurement of neural network activity. This thesis describes foundational work for the Neurobiology Engineering Laboratory, including configuration of the laboratory, validation of cell culture protocols, and developed data analysis software based on existing neuron modeling techniques. Those techniques are applied to experimental data.

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