School of Medicine
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Sarah Louise Eagleman
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Bio For over a decade my research career as a systems neuroscientist has been centered on measuring the brain in different states of consciousness using electrophysiology. Two ways to study conscious transitions empirically are by investigating the brain during sleep and while under anesthesia. I spent my doctoral and early postdoctoral work studying how sleep improves learning and memory at the neural network level. I characterized a phenomenon known as replay (when networks in the brain rehearse previous experiences offline) in a novel visual area. I continued research on replay in my early postdoctoral work in the hippocampus (an area important for spatial navigation as well as memory formation). My work centered around trying to understand how different hippocampal replay trajectories are selected by reward centers in the brain for future behavioral action.
I am now interested in studying the brain activity associated with anesthetics to broaden my understanding of brain states that exhibit altered consciousness. In fact, the brain shares similar electrophysiological activity during sleep with some anesthetic transitions. With anesthetics, though one is able to compare how different anesthetic agents interact with different neuromodulatory systems to cause similar behavior outcomes (i.e. sedation and unconsciousness). My current project is to explore and evaluate different computational approaches to quantifying anesthetic depth using electroencephalography. A thorough characterization of the brain activity associated with loss of consciousness during anesthesia is of critical importance to better monitor patients undergoing anesthesia. I am excited by this new opportunity to meld my previous expertise in systems neuroscience electrophysiology with clinical and translational work. It has been a long-term aspiration of mine to do research that will have direct applications to improving human health.