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Damian S. Shin , M.Sc , Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Phone: 518-262-8627
Fax: 518-262-5799


2009 - Toronto Western Hospital [Post Doc Fellowship]
2005 - Ph.D. from University of Toronto
1999 - M.Sc from University of Western Ontario

Current Research

My lab has two divergent interests in neuroscience research.  In one line of research, we identify how aberant neuronal signaling and information processing occurs in the basal ganglia at the cellular and network level in Parkinson's disease (PD).  In the other line of research, we examine possible treatment options for epilepsy which involve deep brain stimulation (DBS) or pharmacotherapy.

To undertake either task, my laboratory employs a variety of electrophysiological techniques  to monitor neuronal activity in brain slices and from multiple brain regions from anesthetized or freely moving animals.  We also employ behavioral testing of animals, immunohistochemistry and optogenetics to complement the electrophysiology.

From our work, important and innovative findings may emerge which will lead to novel treatment paradigms for managing PD or epilepsy.  The specific research goals of my lab are outlined below.

1.     Understand the network pathophysiology underlying PD and epilepsy.  To do this, we examine single cell and network neuronal activity under normal and diseased states. 
2.     Investigate mechanism(s) underlying the therapeutic effects of DBS for treating symptoms of PD and epilepsy. This may reveal ways to improve outcomes, minimize stimulation-induced complications and/or expand the efficacy of this approach.  
3.  Identify novel chemicals which can serve as an antiepileptic drug for epilepsy.
Current Lab Members
Katie O'Connor: PhD candidate
Manav Kumar: MD candidate
Andrew Zeng: RPI undergraduate 
Emily Mahoney: Research Technician
Lucy Gee: MD/PhD candidate (co-mentored with Dr. Pilitsis)
Ian Walling: Research Technician (co-mentored with Dr. Pilitsis)
Brian Kaszuba: RPI undergraduate (co-mentored with Dr. Pilitsis)
Youngwon Youn: MD candidate (co-mentored with Dr. Pilitsis)
Link to my published papers on Pubmed: seung-ho.shin.1/bibliograpahy/40711871/public/?sort=date&direction=descending

PubMed Publications

  1. Gee LE, Chen N, Ramirez-Zamora A, Shin DS*, Pilitsis JG* (2015). The effects of subthalamic deep brain stimulation on mechanical and thermal thresholds in 6OHDA lesioned rats. European Journal of Neuroscience. 42:2061-2069. *Co-mentors.

  2. Yu W, Smith AB, Pilitsis JG, Shin DS (2015). Isovaline attenuates generalized epileptiform activity in hippocampal and primary sensory cortices and seizure behavior in pilocarpine treated rats. Neuroscience Letters. 599:125-128.

  3. Phookan S, Sutton AC, Walling I, Smith A, O’Connor KA, Campbell J, Calos M, Yu W, Pilitsis JG, Brotchie J, Shin DS (2015). Gap junction blockers attenuate beta oscillations and improve forelimb function in hemiparkinsonian rats. Experimental Neurology. 265:160-70

  4. De La Cruz P, Gee L, Walling I, Morris B, Chen N, Kumar V, Feustel P, Shin D, Pilitsis JG (2015). Treatment of allodynia by occipital nerve stimulation in chronic migraine rodent. Neurosurgery. 77(3):479-85.

  5. Gee L, Smith H, De La Cruz P, Campbell J, Fama C, Haller J, Ramirez-Zamora A, Durphy J, Hanspal E, Molho E, Barba A, Shin D, Pilitsis JG (2014). The influence of bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation on impulsivity and prepulse inhibition in Parkinson’s disease patients. Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery. 93(4):265-70.

  6. Smith H, Gee L, Kumar Vignessh, Ramirez-Zamora A, Durphy J, Hanspal E, Barba A, Molho E, Shin D, Pilitsis JG (2015). Deep brain stimulation significantly decreases disability from low back pain in patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease. Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, 93(3):206-211.

  7. McMahon JJ, Yu W, Yang J, Feng H, Helm M, McMahon E. Zhu X, Shin D, Huang Y (2014). Seizure-dependent mTOR activation in 5-HT neurons promotes autism-like behaviors in mice. Neurobiology of Disease. 73C:296-306

  8. Sutton AC, O’Connor K, Pilitsis JG, Shin DS (2015). Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus engages the cerebellum to provide therapeutic efficacy in hemiparkinsonian rats. Brain Structure and Function. 220(6):3595-3609.

  9. Campbell JC, Jeyamohan SB, De La Cruz P, Chen N, Shin DS, Pilitsis JG (2014). Place conditioning to apomorphine in rat models of Parkinson’s disease: Differences by dose and side-effect expression. Brain Behavioral Research. 275:114-9

  10. Yu W, Shin DS (2014). Isovaline: a unique amino acid with antiepileptic drug properties. Molecular and Cellular Epilepsy. 1:110-112.

  11. Yu W, Smith AB, Pilitsis J, Shin D (2014). Isovaline attenuates epileptiform activity and seizure behavior in 4-aminopyridine treated rats. Epilepsy Research. 108:331-335.

  12. Yu W, Calos M, Pilitsis J, Shin DS (2013). Deconstructing the neural and ionic involvement of seizure-like events in the striatal network. Neurobiology of Disease. 52:128-136.

  13. Pushparaj A, Hamani C, Yu W, Shin DS, Nobrega JN, Le Foll B (2013). Electrical stimulation of the insular region attenuates nicotine-taking and nicotine-seeking behaviors. Neuropsychopharmacology. 38:690-698.

  14. Sutton A, Yu WJ, Calos ME, Smith AB, Ramirez-Zamora A, Molho ES, Pilitsis JG, Brotchie JM, Shin DS (2013). Deep brain stimulation of the substantia nigra reticulata improves forelimb akinesia in the parkinsonian rat. Journal of Neurophysiology. 109:363-374.

  15. Sutton A, Yu WJ, Calos ME, Mueller LE, Berk M, Molho E, Brotchie JM, Carlen PL, Shin DS (2013). Elevated K+ provides an ionic mechanism for deep brain stimulation in the hemiparkinsonian rat. European Journal of Neuroscience. 37:231-241.

  16. Huang X, McMahon J, Yang J, Shin D, Huang Y (2012). Rapamycin down-regulates KCC2 expression and increases seizure susceptibility to convulsants in immature rats. Neuroscience. 219:33-47.

  17. Pamenter ME, Hogg DW, Ormond J, Shin DS, Woodin MA, Buck LT (2011). Endogenous GABA(A) and GABA(B) receptor-mediated electrical suppression is critical to neuronal anoxia tolerance. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 108(27):11274-9.

  18. Zhang ZJ, Koifman J, Shin DS, Ye H, Florez CM, Zhang L, Valiante TA, Carlen PL (2012). Transition to seizure: ictal discharge is preceded by exhausted presynaptic GABA release in the hippocampal CA3 region. Journal of Neuroscience. 32(7):2499-512.

  19. Shin DS, Yu W, Sutton A, Calos M, Puil E, Carlen PL (2011). Isovaline, a rare amino acid, has anti-convulsant properties in two in vitro hippocampal seizure models by increasing interneuronal activity. Epilepsia. 52(11):2084-93.

  20. Shin DS, Yu W, Sutton A, Calos M, Carlen PL (2011). Elevated potassium elicits recurrent surges of large GABAA-receptor mediated post-synaptic currents in hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology. 105(3):1185-98.

  21. Shin DS, Yu W, Fawcett A, Carlen PL (2010). Characterizing the persistent CA3 interneuronal spiking activity in elevated extracellular potassium in the young rat hippocampus. Brain Research. 1331:39-50.

  22. Hamani C, Dubiela FP, Soares JCK, Shin D, Bittencourt S, Covolan L, Carlen P, Laxton AW, Hodaie M, Lozano AM, Mello LE, Oliveria MGM (2010). Anterior thalamus deep brain stimulation at high current impairs memory in rats. Experimental Neurology. 225:154-162.

  23. Shin DS, Carlen PL (2008). Enhancement of the hyperpolarization-activated channel mediates the high frequency stimulation and raised K+-induced depression of rat entopeduncular nucleus neuronal activity. Journal of Neurophysiology. 99(5):2203-2219.

  24. Derchansky M, Shokrollah J, Mamani M, Shin DS, Sik A, Carlen PL (2008). Transition to Seizure: A Switch from Phasic Dominant Inhibition to Dominant Excitation. Journal of Physiology (London). 586(2):477-494.

  25. Shin DS, Samoilova M, Cotic M, Zhang L, Brotchie JM, Carlen PL (2007). High frequency stimulation or raised K+ depress neuronal activity in the rat entopeduncular nucleus. Neuroscience. 149(1):68-86.

  26. Pamenter ME, Shin DS, Buck LT (2008). Adenosine mediates NMDA receptor activity in a pertussis toxin-sensitive manner during normoxia but not anoxia in turtle cortex. Brain Research. 1213:27-34.

  27. Wilkie MP, Pamenter ME, Alkabie S, Carapic D, Shin DS, Buck LT (2008). Evidence of Anoxia-Induced Channel Arrest in the Brain of the Goldfish (Carassius auratus). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. 148:355-362.

  28. Pamenter ME, Shin DS, Cooray M, Buck LT (2008). Mitochondrial ATP-sensitive K+ channels regulate NMDAR activity in the cortex of the anoxic western painted turtle. Journal of Physiology (London). 586(4):1043-1058.

  29. Pamenter ME, Shin DS, Buck LT (2008). AMPA receptors undergo channel arrest in the anoxic turtle cortex. American Journal of Physiology Regulatory and Integrative Comparative Physiology. 294(2):R606-R613.

  30. Shin DS, Wilkie MP, Pamenter ME, Buck LT (2005). Calcium and protein phosphatase 1/2A attenuate N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor activity in the anoxic turtle cortex. Comparative Biochemistry & Physiology, Part A. 142(1):50-57.

  31. Shin DS, Buck LT (2003). Effect of anoxia and pharmacological anoxia on whole-cell NMDA receptor currents in cortical neurons from the western painted turtle. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 76(1):41-51.

  32. Shin DS, Ghai H, Cain S, Buck LT (2003). Gap junctions do not underlie changes in whole-cell conductance in anoxic turtle brain. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A. 134(1):179-192.

  33. Buck LT, Shin DS (2002). The role of adenosine in the natural anoxia-tolerance of the freshwater turtle. Trends in Comparative Biochemistry & Physiology. 9:93-116.