Speakers: Sonya Bahar, PhD

Sonya Bahar, PhD

Professor of Biophysics
Director, Center for Neurodynamics

Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Missouri at St Louis


Sonya Bahar received her B.S. in Physics from Drexel University in 1991. She completed her doctorate in Biophysics at the University of Rochester in 1998. After postdoctoral work at Duke University, the University of Missouri at St. Louis, and Cornell University’s Weill Medical College in New York City, she began a faculty position in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UMSL in 2004. Her laboratory investigates problems of neural synchronization in normal and pathological conditions, as well as problems of evolutionary dynamics and speciation. She serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Biological Physics. Her book The Essential Tension: Competition, Cooperation and Multilevel Selection in Evolution was published as part of Springer’s Frontiers Series in 2018.

Visualizing Neural Synchronization in the Neocortex

Seizures have typically been understood to involve a dramatic increase in synchronization of neural activity. In order to quantify this synchronization change, we have used voltage-sensitive dye imaging to record the spatial distribution of activity during focal seizures in the rat neocortex, induced by the injection of 4-aminopyridine. I will discuss the pathway from the raw imaging data, recorded using a CCD camera, to visualization and quantification of synchronization changes that correlate with the onset and spread of the epileptiform activity.