Research Biological Scientist
Air Force Research Laboratory
Neurobiological effects of transcranial direct current stimulation
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is the application of low intensity current through non-invasive electrodes on the head that target specific areas of the brain. tDCS enhances learning and memory in human subjects, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Previous work has established that tDCS enhances synaptic plasticity, but more studies are needed to associate neurobiological changes with behavioral performance and determine mechanism. Here, we have employed a rodent model to test the effects of tDCS on behavioral performance and protein expression in neuronal pathways. The passive avoidance test was used to test the effect of tDCS timing on behavioral performance. Proteomics analysis on rat hippocampal synaptic proteins was employed to obtain more information about tDCS-affected neural pathways involved in learning and memory. We hypothesized tDCS would significantly upregulate hippocampal proteins associated with learning and memory in rats with enhanced performance in the passive avoidance test. In my talk, I will discuss our results for tDCS-induced enhancement of memory acquisition and provide molecular evidence that anodal tDCS modifies rat hippocampal synaptoneurosomes in a manner consistent with enhanced memory.
Candice Hatcher-Solis is a Research Biological Scientist for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). She received her B.A. from The College of William and Mary in History and her Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Physiology and Biophysics. Her dissertation research examined molecular targets for Parkinson’s disease utilizing in vitro models and electrophysiology. She continued this line of research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse Intramural Research Program investigating the effect of antiparkinsonian therapeutics on neurotransmitter release in the brain and behavioral performance using rodent models. At the AFRL, she is the Lead for Neurobiology of Cognitive Performance research. Her research interests include neuromodulation and biomarker discovery for cognitive enhancement/stress resilience. Her current work focuses on understanding the underlying mechanisms for the effects of brain stimulation on cognition.