Dinesh Pal, PhD
Department of Anesthesiology
Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Neuroscience Graduate Program
The overarching goal of our NIH-funded research program is to understand the neural underpinnings of consciousness. We study naturally occurring spontaneous (sleep, wakefulness) and pharmacologically induced (anesthesia, psychedelic) altered states of arousal. We are also currently conducting studies to understand the interaction between sedation induced by clinically used sedative-hypnotics and sleep homeostasis. Our studies employ combination of electrophysiological and neurochemical methods including electroencephalographic recordings, in vivo neurotransmitter quantification, pharmacological interventions, chemogenetic tools, and calcium imaging of neurotransmitter release and cellular activity. We also use information-theoretic measures, complexity measures, and spectral analysis of electroencephalographic data to understand the neural changes accompanying different behavioral states.
Given the enormity of the question of consciousness and the complexity involved in studying states of arousal, we use a multidisciplinary approach and have formed excellent collaborations with colleagues within the Department of Anesthesiology and units across the University of Michigan.