College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Avrama Kim Blackwell

Avrama Kim  Blackwell

Avrama Kim Blackwell

Professor, Department of Bioengineering

Molecular Neuroscience Department: Computational and experimental approaches to the biophysical and biochemical mechanisms of long term memory storage, understanding the cellular and molecular events underlying the discrimination of spatio-temporal patterns by neurons

Kim 'Avrama' Blackwell is a professor in the Bioengineering Department and the Krasnow Institute of Advanced Studies.  She has a V.M.D. (Veterinary Medicine), M.S. (Systems Engineering) and Ph.D. (Bioengineering) from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Blackwell investigate calcium dynamics and signaling pathways involved in long term memory storage.  One of the fundamental, unsolved questions in neuroscience is how different spatio-temporal patterns of input produce different memories and shape information processing. She also investigates the role of dopamine in both normal reward learning, addiction and Parkinson's disease.  Her lab develops novel computer software and realistic neuronal models, as well as using electrophysiology to answer these questions.

Selected Publications

Long-term plasticity of corticostriatal synapses is modulated by pathway-specific co-release of opioids through κ-opioid receptors. Hawes SL, Salinas AG, Lovinger DM, Blackwell KT. J Physiol. 2017 Apr 27.

Calcium dynamics predict direction of synaptic plasticity in striatal spiny projection neurons. Jędrzejewska-Szmek J, Damodaran S, Dorman DB, Blackwell KT. Eur J Neurosci 2017 Apr;45(8):1044-1056.

Asynchronous τ-leaping. Jȩdrzejewski-Szmek Z, Blackwell KT. J Chem Phys 2016 Mar 28;144(12):125104

Multimodal Plasticity in Dorsal Striatum While Learning a Lateralized Navigation Task. Hawes SL, Evans RC, Unruh BA, Benkert EE, Gillani F, Dumas TC, Blackwell KT. J Neurosci 2015 Jul 22;35(29):10535-49.

Desynchronization of Fast-Spiking Interneurons Reduces β-Band Oscillations and Imbalance in Firing in the Dopamine-Depleted Striatum. Damodaran S, Cressman JR, Jedrzejewski-Szmek Z, Blackwell KT. J Neurosci 2015 Jan 21;35(3):1149-59.

Signaling pathways involved in striatal synaptic plasticity are sensitive to temporal pattern and exhibit spatial specificity. Kim B, Hawes SL, Gillani F, Wallace LJ, Blackwell KT. PLoS Comput Biol 2013;9(3):e1002953.

Modelling the molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity using systems biology approaches. Kotaleski and Blackwell. Nat Rev Neurosci 2010; 11(4):239-51.