Heien Lab research

The Heien group focuses and the development and application of novel measurement platforms.  We believe that Measurement Science is important because accurate and precise measurements are critical for advancing scientific understanding and technological innovation. New fields are often driven by making new measurements , thus opening new fields for study.  

We focus on the measurement of neurotransmitters using electrochemical and mass spectrometric methods. We have worked to further techniques to measure allow for the real-time measurement of neurotransmitter release and clearance in vivo. Our group has used this techniques to study the dynamics of neurotransmitter signaling in various brain regions and  investigated the role of specific neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, in addiction and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Our research contributes to the understanding of the mechanisms of neurotransmitter regulation and has potential applications in the development of new treatments for neurological and psychiatric conditions.

Neurotransmitter measurement

Electrochemical measurement of neurotransmitters in vivo involves the use of microelectrodes to monitor the levels of neurotransmitters in real-time. These microelectrodes are typically made from carbon fiber or metal and are inserted into specific brain regions where neurotransmitters are known to be released. As neurotransmitters are released, they bind to the surface of the electrode, abd can then be detected and measured. This technique allows us to study the dynamics of neurotransmitter release and uptake in response to different stimuli, as well as to investigate the role of specific neurotransmitters in various physiological and pathological processes. Electrochemical measurements of neurotransmitters in vivo have been instrumental in advancing our understanding of how the brain works and have led to important insights into the underlying mechanisms of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Image from DOI: 10.1039/c4cc06165a 

Analytical software development

Software development for new analytical methods is a critical aspect of scientific research and technological innovation. As new analytical techniques and instruments are developed, software must be created or updated to handle the resulting data. This can involve designing algorithms for data processing, developing user interfaces for data visualization and interpretation, and integrating software with hardware for real-time data acquisition and analysis. Improving software for analytical methods can lead to more accurate and efficient data analysis, enabling researchers to gain deeper insights into complex phenomena and accelerate the pace of scientific discovery.

Neuropeptide measurments in vivo

Neuropeptides are important because they play a critical role in many physiological processes in the body, including regulation of pain, mood, appetite, and stress response. They are signaling molecules in the brain and peripheral nervous system, transmitting information. Dysfunction in neuropeptide signaling has been implicated in a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, addiction, and Alzheimer's disease. Studying them can therefore provide important insights into the underlying mechanisms of these conditions and may lead to the development of new treatments. They are  an important target for novel therapies for a wide range of neuropsychiatric conditions.

Image from  DOI: 10.1016/j.trac.2020.116049