Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Damon A. Miller

Second Advisor

Dr. John Jellies

Third Advisor

Dr. Melinda E. Koelling

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Cindy L. Linn


Electrophysiology, optimal control, neural stimulation, leech, neuron modeling

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Abstract Only

Restricted to Campus until



The WMU Neurobiology Engineering Lab has previously utilized a "Reduced Energy Input Stimulus Discovery Method" to compute reduced energy stimuli which evoke desired neuron responses. This approach is based on applying an optimal control method to conductance-based neuron models. Initial experimental feasibility of using the discovered optimal currents has been previously demonstrated using leech pressure-sensitive mechanosensory neurons. This work validates and analyzes experimental application of this method. Based on this analysis, an `informed' neuron model is developed by adjusting parameters to minimize error between results from the informed model and experimental data. The informed model is used to find optimal currents that are subsequently applied to leech neurons. These informed optimal stimuli provide higher levels of energy reduction with equal levels of performance as compared to results using an uninformed (base) model. Methods to find reduced energy neuron stimuli may provide improved methods for neuron stimulation in medical and research work.


Fifth Advisor: Dr. Frank L. Severance