Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical and General Engineering


College of Engineering


Robert Szlavik

Advisor Department

Biomedical and General Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


Characterizing postsynaptic current signals in the retina by neuroreceptor activation frequency is important for studying the mechanism of action behind phototransduction of varied visual stimuli. A better understanding could in turn lead to the creation of methods for early detection and prevention of debilitating optical neuropathies, such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa. More recent in-vitro and in-vivo studies have aimed to differentiate the effects of various neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine, GABA, and glutamate, on receiving and processing different types of visual stimuli from the retina into the visual cortex.

The focus of this work will be to evaluate a computational analysis method as a way to determine the activation frequency of different neuroreceptors in the retina, specifically in direction specific ganglion cells. The perturbation-based decomposition method developed by R. Szlavik was utilized in this application using a simulated compound postsynaptic current, comprised of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, GABA receptor, and AMPA receptor current components and experimental data. The resulting application of Szlavik’s method produced a more satisfactory output compared to the results using a generalized Fourier series method.