Honors & Awards

  • SNI Interdisciplinary Scholar, Postodoctoral Research Fellow, Stanford Neurosciences Institute (2015-2016)

Professional Education

  • Master of Science, Georgetown University (2009)
  • Bachelor of Science, University of California Los Angeles (2008)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Georgetown University (2013)

Stanford Advisors

  • Jun Ding, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor

All Publications

  • Dynamic rewiring of neural circuits in the motor cortex in mouse models of Parkinson's disease NATURE NEUROSCIENCE Guo, L., Xiong, H., Kim, J., Wu, Y., Lalchandani, R. R., Cui, Y., Shu, Y., Xu, T., Ding, J. B. 2015; 18 (9): 1299-?

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nn.4082

    View details for Web of Science ID 000360292600020

  • Dynamic rewiring of neural circuits in the motor cortex in mouse models of Parkinson's disease. Nature neuroscience Guo, L., Xiong, H., Kim, J., Wu, Y., Lalchandani, R. R., Cui, Y., Shu, Y., Xu, T., Ding, J. B. 2015; 18 (9): 1299-1309


    Dynamic adaptations in synaptic plasticity are critical for learning new motor skills and maintaining memory throughout life, which rapidly decline with Parkinson's disease (PD). Plasticity in the motor cortex is important for acquisition and maintenance of motor skills, but how the loss of dopamine in PD leads to disrupted structural and functional plasticity in the motor cortex is not well understood. Here we used mouse models of PD and two-photon imaging to show that dopamine depletion resulted in structural changes in the motor cortex. We further discovered that dopamine D1 and D2 receptor signaling selectively and distinctly regulated these aberrant changes in structural and functional plasticity. Our findings suggest that both D1 and D2 receptor signaling regulate motor cortex plasticity, and loss of dopamine results in atypical synaptic adaptations that may contribute to the impairment of motor performance and motor memory observed in PD.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nn.4082

    View details for PubMedID 26237365

  • Input- and Cell-Type-Specific Endocannabinoid-Dependent LTD in the Striatum CELL REPORTS Wu, Y., Kim, J., Tawfik, V. L., Lalchandani, R. R., Scherrer, G., Ding, J. B. 2015; 10 (1): 75-87


    Changes in basal ganglia plasticity at the corticostriatal and thalamostriatal levels are required for motor learning. Endocannabinoid-dependent long-term depression (eCB-LTD) is known to be a dominant form of synaptic plasticity expressed at these glutamatergic inputs; however, whether eCB-LTD can be induced at all inputs on all striatal neurons is still debatable. Using region-specific Cre mouse lines combined with optogenetic techniques, we directly investigated and distinguished between corticostriatal and thalamostriatal projections. We found that eCB-LTD was successfully induced at corticostriatal synapses, independent of postsynaptic striatal spiny projection neuron (SPN) subtype. Conversely, eCB-LTD was only nominally present at thalamostriatal synapses. This dichotomy was attributable to the minimal expression of cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors on thalamostriatal terminals. Furthermore, coactivation of dopamine receptors on SPNs during LTD induction re-established SPN-subtype-dependent eCB-LTD. Altogether, our findings lay the groundwork for understanding corticostriatal and thalamostriatal synaptic plasticity and for striatal eCB-LTD in motor learning.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.12.005

    View details for Web of Science ID 000347465600008

    View details for PubMedID 25543142

  • EphA7 signaling guides cortical dendritic development and spine maturation PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Clifford, M. A., Athar, W., Leonard, C. E., Russo, A., Sampognaro, P. J., van der Goes, M., Burton, D. A., Zhao, X., Lalchandani, R. R., Sahin, M., Vicini, S., Donoghue, M. J. 2014; 111 (13): 4994-4999


    The process by which excitatory neurons are generated and mature during the development of the cerebral cortex occurs in a stereotyped manner; coordinated neuronal birth, migration, and differentiation during embryonic and early postnatal life are prerequisites for selective synaptic connections that mediate meaningful neurotransmission in maturity. Normal cortical function depends upon the proper elaboration of neurons, including the initial extension of cellular processes that lead to the formation of axons and dendrites and the subsequent maturation of synapses. Here, we examine the role of cell-based signaling via the receptor tyrosine kinase EphA7 in guiding the extension and maturation of cortical dendrites. EphA7, localized to dendritic shafts and spines of pyramidal cells, is uniquely expressed during cortical neuronal development. On patterned substrates, EphA7 signaling restricts dendritic extent, with Src and Tsc1 serving as downstream mediators. Perturbation of EphA7 signaling in vitro and in vivo alters dendritic elaboration: Dendrites are longer and more complex when EphA7 is absent and are shorter and simpler when EphA7 is ectopically expressed. Later in neuronal maturation, EphA7 influences protrusions from dendritic shafts and the assembling of synaptic components. Indeed, synaptic function relies on EphA7; the electrophysiological maturation of pyramidal neurons is delayed in cultures lacking EphA7, indicating that EphA7 enhances synaptic function. These results provide evidence of roles for Eph signaling, first in limiting the elaboration of cortical neuronal dendrites and then in coordinating the maturation and function of synapses.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1323793111

    View details for Web of Science ID 000333579700071

    View details for PubMedID 24707048

  • Hilar Somatostatin Interneurons Contribute to Synchronized GABA Activity in an In Vitro Epilepsy Model PLOS ONE Grosser, S., Queenan, B. N., Lalchandani, R. R., Vicini, S. 2014; 9 (1)


    Epilepsy is a disorder characterized by excessive synchronized neural activity. The hippocampus and surrounding temporal lobe structures appear particularly sensitive to epileptiform activity. Somatostatin (SST)-positive interneurons within the hilar region have been suggested to gate hippocampal activity, and therefore may play a crucial role in the dysregulation of hippocampal activity. In this study, we examined SST interneuron activity in the in vitro 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) model of epilepsy. We employed a multi-disciplinary approach, combining extracellular multi-electrode array (MEA) recordings with patch-clamp recordings and optical imaging using a genetically encoded calcium sensor. We observed that hilar SST interneurons are strongly synchronized during 4-AP-induced local field potentials (LFPs), as assayed by Ca(2+) imaging as well as juxtacellular or intracellular recording. SST interneurons were particularly responsive to GABA-mediated LFPs that occurred in the absence of ionotropic glutamatergic transmission. Our results present evidence that the extensive synchronized activity of SST-expressing interneurons contribute to the generation of GABAergic LFPs in an in vitro model of temporal lobe seizures.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0086250

    View details for Web of Science ID 000330244500213

    View details for PubMedID 24465989

  • Inhibitory collaterals in genetically identified medium spiny neurons in mouse primary corticostriatal cultures. Physiological reports Lalchandani, R. R., Vicini, S. 2013; 1 (6)


    Inhibitory collaterals between striatal medium spiny neuron (MSN) subtypes have been shown to critically influence striatal output. However, the low rate of inhibitory collateral detection between striatal MSNs in conventional ex vivo slice recordings has made the study of these connections challenging. Furthermore, most studies on MSN collaterals have been conducted either blind or in models, in which only one MSN subtype can be distinguished. Here, we describe a dissociated culture system using striatal and cortical neurons harvested from genetically modified mice at postnatal day 0. These mice express tdTomato and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) downstream of the dopamine D1 and D2 receptor promoters, respectively, allowing for simultaneous distinction between the two major subtypes of MSNs. In vitro, these neurons develop spines, hyperpolarized resting membrane potentials and exhibit up-and-down states, while also maintaining expression of both fluorophores through time. Using paired whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from identified MSNs at 14 days in vitro, we are able to detect a much higher rate of inhibitory functional synapses than what has been previously reported in slice recordings. These collateral synapses release γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) and shape the firing patters of other MSNs. Although reduced in vitro models have a number of inherent limitations, the cultures described here provide a unique opportunity to study frequently observed functional collaterals between identifiable MSNs. Additionally, cultured neurons allow for control of the extracellular environment, with the potential to investigate pharmacological regulation of inhibitory MSNs collaterals.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/phy2.164

    View details for PubMedID 24400165

  • Dopamine D-2 Receptors Regulate Collateral Inhibition between Striatal Medium Spiny Neurons JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE Lalchandani, R. R., van der Goes, M., Partridge, J. G., Vicini, S. 2013; 33 (35): 14075-14086


    The principle neurons of the striatum are GABAergic medium spiny neurons (MSNs), whose collateral synapses onto neighboring neurons play critical roles in striatal function. MSNs can be divided by dopamine receptor expression into D1-class and D2-class MSNs, and alterations in D2 MSNs are associated with various pathological states. Despite overwhelming evidence for D2 receptors (D2Rs) in maintaining proper striatal function, it remains unclear how MSN collaterals are specifically altered by D2R activation. Here, we report that chronic D2R stimulation regulates MSN collaterals in vitro by presynaptic and postsynaptic mechanisms. We used corticostriatal cultures from mice in which MSN subtypes were distinguished by fluorophore expression. Quinpirole, an agonist for D2/3 receptors, was used to chronically activate D2Rs. Quinpirole increased the rate and strength of collateral formation onto D2R-containing MSNs as measured by dual whole-cell patch-clamp recordings. Additionally, these neurons were more sensitive to low concentrations of GABA and exhibited an increase in gephyrin puncta density, suggesting increased postsynaptic GABAA receptors. Last, quinpirole treatment increased presynaptic GABA release sites, as shown by increased frequency of sIPSCs and mIPSCs, correlating with increased VGAT (vesicular GABA transporter) puncta. Combined with the observation that there were no detectable differences in sensitivity to specific GABAA receptor modulators, we provide evidence that D2R activation powerfully transforms MSN collaterals via coordinated presynaptic and postsynaptic alterations. As the D2 class of MSNs is highly implicated in Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders, our findings may contribute to understanding and treating the changes that occur in these pathological states.

    View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0692-13.2013

    View details for Web of Science ID 000323727000015

    View details for PubMedID 23986243

  • Distinct Roles for Somatically and Dendritically Synthesized Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Morphogenesis of Dendritic Spines JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE Orefice, L. L., Waterhouse, E. G., Partridge, J. G., Lalchandani, R. R., Vicini, S., Xu, B. 2013; 33 (28): 11618-11632


    Dendritic spines undergo the processes of formation, maturation, and pruning during development. Molecular mechanisms controlling spine maturation and pruning remain largely unknown. The gene for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) produces two pools of mRNA, with either a short or long 3' untranslated region (3' UTR). Our previous results show that short 3' UTR Bdnf mRNA is restricted to cell bodies, whereas long 3' UTR Bdnf mRNA is also trafficked to dendrites for local translation. Mutant mice lacking long 3' UTR Bdnf mRNA display normal spines at 3 weeks of age, but thinner and denser spines in adults compared to wild-type littermates. These observations suggest that BDNF translated from long 3' UTR Bdnf mRNA, likely in dendrites, is required for spine maturation and pruning. In this study, using rat hippocampal neuronal cultures, we found that knocking down long 3' UTR Bdnf mRNA blocked spine head enlargement and spine elimination, whereas overexpressing long 3' UTR Bdnf mRNA had the opposite effect. The effect of long 3' UTR Bdnf mRNA on spine head enlargement and spine elimination was diminished by a human single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, rs712442) in its 3' UTR that inhibited dendritic localization of Bdnf mRNA. Furthermore, we found that overexpression of either Bdnf mRNA increased spine density at earlier time points. Spine morphological alterations were associated with corresponding changes in density, size, and function of synapses. These results indicate that somatically synthesized BDNF promotes spine formation, whereas dendritically synthesized BDNF is a key regulator of spine head growth and spine pruning.

    View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0012-13.2013

    View details for Web of Science ID 000321622600026

    View details for PubMedID 23843530

  • Soluble ICAM-5, a Product of Activity Dependent Proteolysis, Increases mEPSC Frequency and Dendritic Expression of GluA1 PLOS ONE Lonskaya, I., Partridge, J., Lalchandani, R. R., Chung, A., Lee, T., Vicini, S., Hoe, H., Lim, S. T., Conant, K. 2013; 8 (7)


    Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are zinc dependent endopeptidases that can be released from neurons in an activity dependent manner to play a role in varied forms of learning and memory. MMP inhibitors impair hippocampal long term potentiation (LTP), spatial memory, and behavioral correlates of drug addiction. Since MMPs are thought to influence LTP through a β1 integrin dependent mechanism, it has been suggested that these enzymes cleave specific substrates to generate integrin binding ligands. In previously published work, we have shown that neuronal activity stimulates rapid MMP dependent shedding of intercellular adhesion molecule-5 (ICAM-5), a synaptic adhesion molecule expressed on dendrites of the telencephalon. We have also shown that the ICAM-5 ectodomain can interact with β1 integrins to stimulate integrin dependent phosphorylation of cofilin, an event that occurs with dendritic spine maturation and LTP. In the current study, we investigate the potential for the ICAM-5 ectodomain to stimulate changes in α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate receptor (AMPAR) dependent glutamatergic transmission. Single cell recordings show that the ICAM-5 ectodomain stimulates an increase in the frequency, but not the amplitude, of AMPA mini excitatory post synaptic currents (mEPSCs). With biotinylation and precipitation assays, we also show that the ICAM-5 ectodomain stimulates an increase in membrane levels of GluA1, but not GluA2, AMPAR subunits. In addition, we observe an ICAM-5 associated increase in GluA1 phosphorylation at serine 845. Concomitantly, ICAM-5 affects an increase in GluA1 surface staining along dendrites without affecting an increase in dendritic spine number. Together these data are consistent with the possibility that soluble ICAM-5 increases glutamatergic transmission and that post-synaptic changes, including increased phosphorylation and dendritic insertion of GluA1, could contribute. We suggest that future studies are warranted to determine whether ICAM-5 is one of a select group of synaptic CAMs whose shedding contributes to MMP dependent effects on learning and memory.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0069136

    View details for Web of Science ID 000321341000184

    View details for PubMedID 23844251