Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Alan W. L. Chiu


Connectivity patterns of developing neural circuits and the effects of its dynamics on network behavior, particularly the emergence of spontaneous activity and synchrony, are not clear. We attempt to quantify anatomical connectivity patterns of rat cortical cultures during different stages of development. By culturing the networks on dishes embedded with micro electrode arrays, we simultaneously record electrical activity from multiple regions of the developing network and monitor its electrical behavior, particularly its tendency to fire spontaneously and to synchronize under certain conditions. We investigate possible correlations between changes in the network connectivity patterns and spontaneous electrical activity and synchrony. Cocultures showed a higher degree of synchrony than primary cultures. Networks with cancer cells, besides failing to synchronize, produced seizure-like events. We expect these results to elucidate the effect of connectivity on network behavior and hence to provide insight into the effects of various disease states on network properties. Such information could be used to diagnose such states.