Alan Bush, Ph.D.
Instructor in Investigation
Neurosurgery, Mass General Research Institute
Instructor in Neurosurgery
Harvard Medical School
Neurosurgery, Massachusetts General Hospital
|PhD University of Buenos Aires 2017|
|Licentiate in Biology (M.Sc.) University of Buenos Aires 2009|
My research interests center on the neural control of complex motor behavior by deep structures of the brain referred to as the basal ganglia, their physiological regulation, how they are affected in movement disorders, and the mechanism of action of deep brain stimulation therapy.
During my training at the University of Buenos Aires I acquired an interdisciplinary background in molecular biology, biophysics, and neuroscience. For my doctoral dissertation in molecular systems biology, I studied a G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signal transduction system, developing a computational model which explains how these systems can transduce the fraction of occupied receptor, as opposed to the total amount of occupied receptors as predicted by classical receptor theory. For my postdoctoral training I transitioned to systems neuroscience, studying the mechanisms by which complex vocal behaviors in songbirds are achieved by the interaction of simple motor gestures with a non-linear vocal apparatus. We found that the activation of these motor gestures is switch-like in nature, a finding that can change the way we think about the neural control of complex behaviors.
I had the opportunity to perform an academic stay at the Brain Modulation Lab (University of Pittsburgh) where I gained first-hand experience in human systems neuroscience research, studying the functional role of the thalamus and basal ganglia in speech production and its impairment in speech pathologies associated to Parkinson's disease. I joined the Brain Modulation Lab as faculty as it relocated to the Department of Neurosurgery of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where we are continuing this line of research.