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Last name

Steve Prescott

TitleSenior Scientist
InstitutionThe Hospital for Sick Children
DepartmentNeurosciences & Mental Health
Address555 University Avenue
Toronto ON M5G 1X8
ORCID ORCID Icon0000-0002-3827-4512 Additional info
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse education and training
    Salk Institute, La JollaPostdoc05/2008Comuptational Neuroscience
    McGill University, MontrealPhD04/2005Pharmacology
    McGill University, MontrealMD CM04/2005Medicine
    McGill University, MontrealMSc12/1997Biology
    McGill University, MontrealBSc04/1996Biology
    Collapse awards and honors
    2014 - 2017Early Researcher Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation
    2013 - 2018New Investigator Salary Award, CIHR
    2011 - 201453rd Mallinckrodt Scholar Award, Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation
    2009 - 2012Rita Allen Foundation Scholar in Pain Award, Rital Allen Foundation & American Pain Society
    2006 - 2008Long Term Fellowship, Human Frontiers Science Program

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse overview
    My lab studies how information is represented and processed by the nervous system. We are particularly interested in how somatosensory information is processed and how pathological disruption of that processing leads to chronic pain. We study these questions at many levels, from the electrodiffusion of ion s to the coordinated spiking of neurons within large neural networks. We combine computer simulations and mathematical analysis with a broad range of experimental methods including electrophysiology, calcium imaging and optogenetics

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse research activities and funding
    RGPIN 436168     (Prescott)May 1, 2013 - Apr 30, 2019
    Neural dynamics: their nonlinear basis and computational consequences
    Role Description: The goal of this study is to study fundamental aspects of neural computation using computer modeling and mathematical analysis
    Role: PI

         (Prescott)Apr 1, 2017
    Chronic Pain Network (CIHR SPOR)
    Improving personalized medicine through discovery of pain mechanisms using patient-derived neurons
    Role Description: The goal of this project is to develop human iPS-derived neurons and in vitro testing methods in order to study patient-specific pain mechanisms
    Role: PI

    PJT-153183     (Prescott)Apr 1, 2017 - Mar 31, 2021
    Probing spike initiation properties of primary somatosensory neurons using optogenetics
    Role Description: The goal of this study is to characterize the excitability (spike initiation properties) of primary somatosensory neurons and to decipher how that excitability is altered in chronic pain states.
    Role: PI

    PJT-153161     (Prescott)Apr 1, 2017 - Mar 31, 2022
    hloride dysregulation and neuropathic pain: Linking molecular mechanisms with altered pain processing via identification of cellular and circuit level changes
    Role Description: The goal of this study is to decipher pathological changes in the spinal dorsal horn that contribute to pain. In particular, we seek to uncover which types of neurons experience changes in chloride regulation, how this impact the inhibitory control of their spiking, and how that in turn impacts network-level processing.
    Role: PI

         (Prescott)Sep 1, 2017 - Aug 31, 2018
    Boston Scientific
    Role of synaptic inhibition and the network-level effects of conventional and high-frequency spinal cord stimulation
    Role Description: The goal of this study is to uncover how spinal cord stimulation alleviates pain through modulation of neural function
    Role: PI

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse selected publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
    List All   |   Timeline
    1. Mouchbahani-Constance S, Lesperance LS, Petitjean H, Davidova A, Macpherson A, Prescott SA, Sharif-Naeini R. Lionfish venom elicits pain predominantly through the activation of nonpeptidergic nociceptors. Pain. 2018 Nov; 159(11):2255-2266. PMID: 29965829.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Mousseau M, Burma NE, Lee KY, Leduc-Pessah H, Kwok CHT, Reid AR, O'Brien M, Sagalajev B, Stratton JA, Patrick N, Stemkowski PL, Biernaskie J, Zamponi GW, Salo P, McDougall JJ, Prescott SA, Matyas JR, Trang T. Microglial pannexin-1 channel activation is a spinal determinant of joint pain. Sci Adv. 2018 Aug; 4(8):eaas9846. PMID: 30101191.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Wang F, Bélanger E, Côté SL, Desrosiers P, Prescott SA, Côté DC, De Koninck Y. Sensory Afferents Use Different Coding Strategies for Heat and Cold. Cell Rep. 2018 May 15; 23(7):2001-2013. PMID: 29768200.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Takkala P, Prescott SA. Using dynamic clamp to quantify pathological changes in the excitability of primary somatosensory neurons. J Physiol. 2018 Jun; 596(11):2209-2227. PMID: 29601637.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Balachandar A, Prescott SA. Origin of heterogeneous spiking patterns from continuously distributed ion channel densities: a computational study in spinal dorsal horn neurons. J Physiol. 2018 May 01; 596(9):1681-1697. PMID: 29352464.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Ratté S, Karnup S, Prescott SA. Nonlinear Relationship Between Spike-Dependent Calcium Influx and TRPC Channel Activation Enables Robust Persistent Spiking in Neurons of the Anterior Cingulate Cortex. J Neurosci. 2018 Feb 14; 38(7):1788-1801. PMID: 29335357.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Lesperance LS, Lankarany M, Zhang TC, Esteller R, Ratté S, Prescott SA. Artifactual hyperpolarization during extracellular electrical stimulation: Proposed mechanism of high-rate neuromodulation disproved. Brain Stimul. 2018 May - Jun; 11(3):582-591. PMID: 29289565.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Bells S, Lefebvre J, Prescott SA, Dockstader C, Bouffet E, Skocic J, Laughlin S, Mabbott DJ. Changes in White Matter Microstructure Impact Cognition by Disrupting the Ability of Neural Assemblies to Synchronize. J Neurosci. 2017 Aug 23; 37(34):8227-8238. PMID: 28743724.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Takkala P, Zhu Y, Prescott SA. Combined Changes in Chloride Regulation and Neuronal Excitability Enable Primary Afferent Depolarization to Elicit Spiking without Compromising its Inhibitory Effects. PLoS Comput Biol. 2016 Nov; 12(11):e1005215. PMID: 27835641.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Doyon N, Vinay L, Prescott SA, De Koninck Y. Chloride Regulation: A Dynamic Equilibrium Crucial for Synaptic Inhibition. Neuron. 2016 Mar 16; 89(6):1157-1172. PMID: 26985723.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Doyon N, Prescott SA, De Koninck Y. Mild KCC2 Hypofunction Causes Inconspicuous Chloride Dysregulation that Degrades Neural Coding. Front Cell Neurosci. 2015; 9:516. PMID: 26858607; PMCID: PMC4731508.
    12. Lee KY, Prescott SA. Chloride dysregulation and inhibitory receptor blockade yield equivalent disinhibition of spinal neurons yet are differentially reversed by carbonic anhydrase blockade. Pain. 2015 Dec; 156(12):2431-7. PMID: 26186265.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Ratté S, Prescott SA. Afferent hyperexcitability in neuropathic pain and the inconvenient truth about its degeneracy. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2016 Feb; 36:31-7. PMID: 26363576.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Khubieh A, Ratté S, Lankarany M, Prescott SA. Regulation of Cortical Dynamic Range by Background Synaptic Noise and Feedforward Inhibition. Cereb Cortex. 2016 08; 26(8):3357-69. PMID: 26209846; PMCID: PMC4961015 [Available on 08/01/17].
    15. Coggan JS, Sejnowski TJ, Prescott SA. Cooperativity between remote sites of ectopic spiking allows afterdischarge to be initiated and maintained at different locations. J Comput Neurosci. 2015 Aug; 39(1):17-28. PMID: 25929191; PMCID: PMC4496271.
    16. Price TJ, Prescott SA. Inhibitory regulation of the pain gate and how its failure causes pathological pain. Pain. 2015 May; 156(5):789-92. PMID: 25719614; PMCID: PMC4589225.
    17. Prescott SA. Synaptic inhibition and disinhibition in the spinal dorsal horn. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2015; 131:359-83. PMID: 25744679.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Zhu Y, Feng B, Schwartz ES, Gebhart GF, Prescott SA. Novel method to assess axonal excitability using channelrhodopsin-based photoactivation. J Neurophysiol. 2015 Apr 01; 113(7):2242-9. PMID: 25609112; PMCID: PMC4416581.
    19. Ratté S, Lankarany M, Rho YA, Patterson A, Prescott SA. Subthreshold membrane currents confer distinct tuning properties that enable neurons to encode the integral or derivative of their input. Front Cell Neurosci. 2014; 8:452. PMID: 25620913; PMCID: PMC4288132.
    20. Ratté S, Zhu Y, Lee KY, Prescott SA. Criticality and degeneracy in injury-induced changes in primary afferent excitability and the implications for neuropathic pain. Elife. 2014 Apr 01; 3:e02370. PMID: 24692450; PMCID: PMC3970756.
    21. Prescott SA, Ma Q, De Koninck Y. Normal and abnormal coding of somatosensory stimuli causing pain. Nat Neurosci. 2014 Feb; 17(2):183-91. PMID: 24473266; PMCID: PMC4079041.
    22. Ratté S, Hong S, De Schutter E, Prescott SA. Impact of neuronal properties on network coding: roles of spike initiation dynamics and robust synchrony transfer. Neuron. 2013 Jun 05; 78(5):758-72. PMID: 23764282; PMCID: PMC3753823.
    23. Rho YA, Prescott SA. Identification of molecular pathologies sufficient to cause neuropathic excitability in primary somatosensory afferents using dynamical systems theory. PLoS Comput Biol. 2012; 8(5):e1002524. PMID: 22654655; PMCID: PMC3359967.
    24. Prescott SA, Ratté S. Pain processing by spinal microcircuits: afferent combinatorics. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2012 Aug; 22(4):631-9. PMID: 22409855; PMCID: PMC3388176.
    25. Hong S, Ratté S, Prescott SA, De Schutter E. Single neuron firing properties impact correlation-based population coding. J Neurosci. 2012 Jan 25; 32(4):1413-28. PMID: 22279226; PMCID: PMC3571732.
    26. Coggan JS, Ocker GK, Sejnowski TJ, Prescott SA. Explaining pathological changes in axonal excitability through dynamical analysis of conductance-based models. J Neural Eng. 2011 Dec; 8(6):065002. PMID: 22058273; PMCID: PMC3226740.
    27. Ratté S, Prescott SA. ClC-2 channels regulate neuronal excitability, not intracellular chloride levels. J Neurosci. 2011 Nov 02; 31(44):15838-43. PMID: 22049427.
      View in: PubMed
    28. Doyon N, Prescott SA, Castonguay A, Godin AG, Kröger H, De Koninck Y. Efficacy of synaptic inhibition depends on multiple, dynamically interacting mechanisms implicated in chloride homeostasis. PLoS Comput Biol. 2011 Sep; 7(9):e1002149. PMID: 21931544; PMCID: PMC3169517.
    29. Price TJ, Cervero F, Gold MS, Hammond DL, Prescott SA. Chloride regulation in the pain pathway. Brain Res Rev. 2009 Apr; 60(1):149-70. PMID: 19167425; PMCID: PMC2903433.
    30. Prescott SA, Sejnowski TJ. Spike-rate coding and spike-time coding are affected oppositely by different adaptation mechanisms. J Neurosci. 2008 Dec 10; 28(50):13649-61. PMID: 19074038; PMCID: PMC2819463.
    31. Prescott SA, De Koninck Y, Sejnowski TJ. Biophysical basis for three distinct dynamical mechanisms of action potential initiation. PLoS Comput Biol. 2008 Oct; 4(10):e1000198. PMID: 18846205; PMCID: PMC2551735.
    32. Prescott SA, Ratté S, De Koninck Y, Sejnowski TJ. Pyramidal neurons switch from integrators in vitro to resonators under in vivo-like conditions. J Neurophysiol. 2008 Dec; 100(6):3030-42. PMID: 18829848; PMCID: PMC2604842.
    33. Ratté S, Prescott SA, Collinge J, Jefferys JG. Hippocampal bursts caused by changes in NMDA receptor-dependent excitation in a mouse model of variant CJD. Neurobiol Dis. 2008 Oct; 32(1):96-104. PMID: 18638557.
      View in: PubMed
    34. Prescott SA, Sejnowski TJ, De Koninck Y. Reduction of anion reversal potential subverts the inhibitory control of firing rate in spinal lamina I neurons: towards a biophysical basis for neuropathic pain. Mol Pain. 2006 Oct 13; 2:32. PMID: 17040565; PMCID: PMC1624821.
    35. Prescott SA, Ratté S, De Koninck Y, Sejnowski TJ. Nonlinear interaction between shunting and adaptation controls a switch between integration and coincidence detection in pyramidal neurons. J Neurosci. 2006 Sep 06; 26(36):9084-97. PMID: 16957065; PMCID: PMC2913017.
    36. Prescott SA, De Koninck Y. Integration time in a subset of spinal lamina I neurons is lengthened by sodium and calcium currents acting synergistically to prolong subthreshold depolarization. J Neurosci. 2005 May 11; 25(19):4743-54. PMID: 15888650.
      View in: PubMed
    37. Coull JA, Boudreau D, Bachand K, Prescott SA, Nault F, Sík A, De Koninck P, De Koninck Y. Trans-synaptic shift in anion gradient in spinal lamina I neurons as a mechanism of neuropathic pain. Nature. 2003 Aug 21; 424(6951):938-42. PMID: 12931188.
      View in: PubMed
    38. Prescott SA, De Koninck Y. Gain control of firing rate by shunting inhibition: roles of synaptic noise and dendritic saturation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Feb 18; 100(4):2076-81. PMID: 12569169; PMCID: PMC149961.
    39. Prescott SA, De Koninck Y. Four cell types with distinctive membrane properties and morphologies in lamina I of the spinal dorsal horn of the adult rat. J Physiol. 2002 Mar 15; 539(Pt 3):817-36. PMID: 11897852; PMCID: PMC2290183.
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