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Synaptic inhibition in the motor cortex of an ALS mouse model

Principal Investigator:
  • Melanie Woodin, University of Toronto
  • ALS Society of Canada

Project Overview

ALS is a disease characterized by degeneration of both upper and lower motor neurons. Upper motor neurons are located in a region of the brain called the motor cortex and have been far less extensively studied than lower motor neurons in the spinal cord. One of the earliest detectable abnormalities in mouse models of ALS is differences in electrical activity at the motor cortex where upper motor neurons are firing signals excessively. As a result, some hypothesize that this excessive firing (called hyperexcitability), might cause the disease. Dr. Woodin is an experienced neurophysiologist who will utilize her expertise to study the underlying causes of this hyperexcitability and to then attempt a novel method for rescuing the effect.  Not only will this grant usher Dr. Woodin’s lab into the ALS community, but the results form the potential to discover a new therapeutic avenue for the disease.