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Dr. Tim Murphy


Cellular & Physiological Sciences, Psychiatry

Faculty of Medicine

Current Research Focus

Dr. Murphy is a basic scientist who contributes to understanding of how mouse cortex adapts after stroke, resulting in remapping of brain function from damaged to surviving areas using mouse models. The lab develops new imaging and optogenetic methods that have parallels to human brain imaging and stimulation tools. By understanding the stroke recovery process on a circuit level, the lab hopes to advance patient translatable brain stimulation or other plasticity-inducing treatments. More recently the laboratory has extended these approaches to mouse models of psychiatric disorders such as depression and autism. To facilitate circuit interrogation in vivo the lab develops high-throughput models which automate animal imaging.

Example Projects:

 “Mesoscale Mapping of Mouse Cortex Reveals Frequency-Dependent Cycling Between Distinct Macroscale Functional Modules”: Connectivity mapping based on resting-state activity in mice has revealed functional motifs of correlated activity. However, the rules by which motifs organize into larger functional modules that lead to hemisphere wide spatial-temporal activity sequences is not clear. We used in vivo widefield calcium imaging of the indicator GCaMP6 awake mice to characterize the organization of spontaneous cortical activity at different spatiotemporal scales. Correlation analysis defines the presence of two to three superclusters of activity that span traditionally defined functional territories and were frequency dependent.

“Automated Mouse Homecage Imaging”: Mouse head-fixed behaviour coupled with functional imaging has become a powerful technique in rodent systems neuroscience. However, training mice can be time consuming and is potentially stressful for animals. We have developed a fully automated, open source, self-initiated headfixation system for mesoscopic functional imaging in mice and monitored cortical functional for up to 90 days.

Research Keywords

Cerebral Blood Flow, Neurovascular Coupling, Two Photon Imaging, Electrophysiology, Huntington Disease, Neurodegeneration, Optogenetics, Primary Neuronal Culture, Synaptic Plasticity