Date of Award

Summer 8-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mathematics and Statistics

First Advisor

DR. Andrey Shilnikov


This dissertation creates practical methods for Poincaré return mappings of individual and networked neuron models. Elliptic bursting models are found in numerous biological systems, including the external Globus Pallidus (GPe) section of the brain; the focus for studies of epileptic seizures and Parkinson's disease. However, the bifurcation structure for changes in dynamics remains incomplete. This dissertation develops computer-assisted Poincaré ́maps for mathematical and biologically relevant elliptic bursting neuron models and central pattern generators (CPGs). The first method, used for individual neurons, offers the advantage of an entire family of computationally smooth and complete mappings, which can explain all of the systems dynamical transitions. A complete bifurcation analysis was performed detailing the mechanisms for the transitions from tonic spiking to quiescence in elliptic bursters. A previously unknown, unstable torus bifurcation was found to give rise to small amplitude oscillations. The focus of the dissertation shifts from individual neuron models to small networks of neuron models, particularly 3-cell CPGs. A CPG is a small network which is able to produce specific phasic relationships between the cells. The output rhythms represent a number of biologically observable actions, i.e. walking or running gates. A 2-dimensional map is derived from the CPGs phase-lags. The cells are endogenously bursting neuron models mutually coupled with reciprocal inhibitory connections using the fast threshold synaptic paradigm. The mappings generate clear explanations for rhythmic outcomes, as well as basins of attraction for specific rhythms and possible mechanisms for switching between rhythms.