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Independent Research Scholar

Shahriar SheikhBahaei, Ph.D.

Neuron-Glia Signaling and Circuits Unit


Building 49 Room 2A22
Convent Drive MSC4479
Bethesda MD 20892-4479
Office: (301) 496-0962
Lab: (301) 451-0964
Fax: (301) 496-1339
SheikhbahaeiS@ninds.nih.gov

Dr. SheikhBahaei received his bachelor’s degree from University of California at Berkeley, where he worked with Dr. Bob Zucker on the regulation of neurotransmitter release, and completed his doctoral studies in Neuroscience (2017) jointly at the NIH and the University College London (UCL), where he worked with Drs. Jeffrey Smith (NINDS) and Alexander Gourine (UCL). His graduate studies were on how astrocytic networks control activities of respiratory motor circuits within the brainstem. After a short postdoctoral research with Dr. Jeffrey Smith, Dr. SheikhBahaei received Independent Research Scholar Award from the NIH Office of Intramural Research in 2019. Dr. SheikhBahaei leads Neuron-Glia Signaling and Circuits Unit at NINDS, and his laboratory is studying the cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying motor control disorders.



Research in the Neuron-Glia Signaling and Circuits Unit is directed toward understanding mechanisms underlying the generation and control of voluntary motor behavior in the mammalian CNS at the cellular, circuit, and systems levels of neurons and glia interactions. Recent tools development has allowed an unprecedented opportunity to study the activity of brain cells – including glial cells – in a cell-type specific manner. It is now possible to target genetically- and anatomically-defined cell types in the brain and measure the contributions of their activity in neuronal circuits that control a complex behavior. The unit focuses brain networks producing volitional movements. The long-range goal is to create a complete circuit diagram for how different glial and neuronal cell types in the brain contribute to the neural circuits controlling voluntary speech production. Understanding this process will enhance the unit’s ability to intervene in motor control disorders, which may provide novel therapeutic agents in neurological motor disorders, including developmental stuttering disorder

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  • 1) Sheikhbahaei S., Morris, B., Colina, J., Zhang, R., Gourine, A.V., Smith J.C (2018)
  • Morphometric analysis of the brainstem astrocytes
  • Journal of Comparative Neurology , 1–16
  • 2) Sheikhbahaei, S., Turovsky, E., Hosford, P, Hadjihambi, A., et al (2018)
  • Astrocytes modulate brainstem respiratory rhythm-generating circuits and determine exercise capacity
  • Nature Communications, 9(1) , 370
  • 3) Sheikhbahaei, S. and Smith, J.C (2017)
  • Breathing to inspire and arouse
  • Science, 355(6332) 1370-71
  • 5) Angelova, P. R., Kasymov, V., Christie, I., Sheikhbahaei, S., Turovsky, E., Marina, N., Gourine, A.V (2015)
  • Functional Oxygen Sensitivity of Astrocytes
  • Journal of Neuroscience, 35(29), 10460–10473
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