Date Thesis Awarded

5-2017

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Applied Science

Advisor

Gregory D. Smith

Committee Member

Christopher Del Negro

Committee Member

Christy Porter

Abstract

This thesis focuses on subthreshold membrane potential fluctuations in the plateau potentials of bistable neurons. Research involved with plateau potentials typically finds one of the resting membrane potentials to be more susceptible to voltage fluctuations. This difference in the amplitude of the membrane potential fluctuations is most often attributed to the voltage-dependent membrane conductance. Occasionally, however, the typically quieter resting membrane potential exhibits larger voltage fluctuations than the expected one. It has been proposed that this increased membrane potential noise is the result of the stochastic gating of the voltage-gated ion channels. In this thesis, we use a simple bistable neuron model to show that the increased intrinsic membrane noise in the quieter resting membrane potential is most likely not caused by the random gating of the ion channels.