Normal brain activity involves the controlled transmission of electrical impulses across networks of neurons (nerve cells). Occasionally, undesired electrical activity occurs within cellular networks and a response is necessary to suppress this outburst. Kirk Mulatz is investigating a negative feedback mechanism that allows neurons to inhibit this atypical electrical activity. He is focusing on the role of T-type calcium ion channels in generating this aberrant electrical activity, and exploring the effectiveness of inhibiting characteristics of the channels to inhibit the activity. Investigations into negative feedback mechanisms both increase understanding of normal brain activity and how cells respond to abnormal activity. A number of neuronal disorders such as epilepsies, mood disorders and chronic pain are associated with atypical brain activity, and the feedback mechanism that Mulatz is researching may contribute to restoring normal activity across cellular networks.