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Luciene Covolan

Luciene Covolan

Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo


My background consists of hippocampal anatomy at light and electron-microscopic levels, in non-human primates and rodents. During PhD my work was focused on experimental models of temporal lobe in rodents. During this time I gained experience in anatomical studies, specially aiming to identify seizure-induced damage in the entire brain and in hippocampal plastic changes caused or related to seizures. My first postdoctoral experience was in the anatomy department under supervision of Ole Peter Ottersen, when I gained abilities to use the electron microscopy as tool to identify the sublocalization of glutamate receptors in the hippocampus. Back to Brazil, now under supervision of Luiz Mello, we focused on the establishment of a new model of temporal lobe epilepsy in non-human primates. I conducted studies examining behavioral and electrophysiological recordings of seizures as well as histological analysis. At the same time I started to use the magnetic resonance imaging as tool to investigate morphological changes in several brain areas after status epilepticus and in chronic epilepsy. In 2006 I got a permanent position as professor at Universidade Federal of Sao Paulo. Since them, I have followed two research lines: (1) experimental models of temporal lobe epilepsy and (2) experimental models of neonatal pain. In both lines I have focused my research on neuroplastic changes caused by these models and its consequences on electrophysiological and behavioral levels. By using Manganese-enhanced MRI, we have been able to demonstrate that hippocampal remodeling after seizures can be followed in both research models. From my research on epilepsy, I was able to demonstrate that thalamic Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a valuable tool to reduce cell apoptosis and inflammatory responses after pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus. By conducting DBS experiments in the chronic phase of pilocarpine, my students and I were able to demonstrate that it causes reduction of spontaneous seizures, reduces the hippocampal excitability and increases adenosine in the same area. The mechanisms underlying the adenosine actions in response to thalamus DBS are still under investigation. I am presently engaged in a number of collaborative efforts between my laboratory and various other laboratories focusing to understand how DBS affects neural networks. These studies include behavioral evaluation, record EEG and ex-vivo electrophysiology and MRI. These collaborations allow me to draw from a broad array of scientific expertise. In summary, my combined research experience in surgical implantation of electrodes, DBS, behavioral neuroscience and MRI will afford me an essential expertise and experience that will facilitate the successful implementation of the experiments outlined in this application.

Research Interest