On electro-diffusive modeling of neuronal activity in the brain and ab initio estimates of action potential velocity

Action potential propagation along the axons and across the dendrites is the foundation of the electrical activity observed in the brain and the rest of the central nervous system. In this work, a novel Poisson-Nernst-Planck based treatment of the underlying electro-diffusive activity in the neurons is presented. This model is shown to produce results similar to the established cable-theory based electrical models, but in addition, the rich spatio-temporal evolution of the underlying ionic transport is captured. Specifically, saltatory conduction due to the presence of myelin sheath and the peri-axonal space is investigated. Further, we apply this model to numerically estimate conduction velocity in a rat and a squid axon. Time permitting, extensions of this framework to model mechano-chemo-electrostatic processes underlying traumatic brain injury (TBI) will be discussed.

Bio: Shiva Rudraraju is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He heads the Computational Mechanics and Multiphysics Group at UW-Madison, and his research interests are broadly in computational modeling of mechanics and multiphysics driven morphological processes in materials (structural, functional and biological). His current research projects are supported by ONR, ARO and NSF. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Scientific Computing from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and his undergraduate degree from India.

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