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Alan (Chuck) Dorval

Title: Associate Professor
College: Engineering
School / Department: Biomedical Engineering
Mentoring Philosophy:

Current Research

We use electrophysiological recordings, computational neuroscience and neuronal information theory to decipher the symbols that brain cells use to interpret the world, retain and retrieve memories, process information, and command coordinated muscle activity. Through those techniques and clinical research, we learn how diseases and disorders of the nervous system impair the generation, storage, transmission and interpretation of those physiologically meaningful symbols. Coupling that knowledge with computational modeling and electrical engineering we aim to improve existing neuromodulatory therapies, and devise novel neural engineering interventions to enhance the quality of life.

Specific lines of research include:
1.Quantifying how patterns of neuronal activity in the basal ganglia relate to whole-organism functions (e.g. procedural learning and motor control), and how the development of pathological neuronal activity in persons with Parkinson's disease induces motor symptoms.
2.Detailing how deep brain stimulation modifies pathological activity in the stimulated tissue, learning why those modifications alleviate motor symptoms, and designing novel neuromodulatory therapies to treat movement disorders.
3.Understanding how the inputs that a neuron receives combine to alter the immediate response and long-term behavior of that neuron, and applying that knowledge to promote neuronal regeneration and repair connectivity in damaged neurological tissue.