UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Optimal stimulus waveforms for eliciting a spike: How close is the spike-triggered average

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurology

Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Nervous System Diseases | Neurology


Computing the average input stimulus preceding a spike, the spike-triggered average (STA), has been a powerful tool for discovering a neuron's 'preferred' stimulus feature that enables efficient encoding of sensory information. Recent work in the squid giant axon has shown that STA waveforms can be remarkably similar to the energetically optimal stimulus waveforms for eliciting a spike. In the present study, we show using the Hodgkin-Huxley model that the STA can deviate from the global optimal solution if there is averaging of multiple solutions across different time scales and of multiple modes of spike induction. These findings inform attempts to develop model-free stochastic algorithms for finding energy-optimal stimuli, which is relevant to the efficient delivery of exogenous therapeutic stimuli in neurological diseases.

DOI of Published Version



Chang J, Paydarfar D. Optimal stimulus waveforms for eliciting a spike: How close is the spike-triggered average? Int IEEE EMBS Conf Neural Eng. 2015 Apr;2015:414-417. doi: 10.1109/NER.2015.7146647. Epub 2015 Jul 2. PMID: 28163829; PMCID: PMC5291750. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering : [proceedings]. International IEEE EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering

PubMed ID