Shahriar SheikhBahaei, Ph.D.

Independent Research Scholar

Neuron-Glia Signaling and Circuits Unit


Building 49, Room 2A07
49 Convent Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892


Research Topics

Research in the Neuron-Glia Signaling and Circuits (NGSC) Unit is directed toward understanding mechanisms underlying the generation and control of voluntary motor behavior in the mammalian CNS at the cellular, circuit, and systems levels of neurons and glia interactions. Recent tool development has allowed an unprecedented opportunity to study the activity of brain cells – including glial cells – in a cell-type-specific manner. It is now possible to target genetically- and anatomically-defined cell types in the brain and measure the contributions of their activity in neuronal circuits that control complex behavior.

The unit focuses on brain networks producing volitional movements. The long-range goal is to create a complete circuit diagram for how different glial and neuronal cell types in the brain contribute to the neural circuits controlling voluntary speech production. Understanding this process will enhance the unit’s ability to intervene in motor control disorders, which may provide novel therapeutic agents in neurological motor disorders, including developmental stuttering disorder.


Dr. SheikhBahaei received his bachelor’s degree from University of California at Berkeley, where he worked with Dr. Bob Zucker on the regulation of neurotransmitter release, and completed his doctoral studies in Neuroscience (2017) jointly at the NIH and the University College London (UCL), where he worked with Drs. Jeffrey Smith (NINDS) and Alexander Gourine (UCL). His graduate studies were on how astrocytic networks control activities of respiratory motor circuits within the brainstem. After a short postdoctoral research with Dr. Jeffrey Smith, Dr. SheikhBahaei received Independent Research Scholar Award from the NIH Office of Intramural Research in 2019. Dr. SheikhBahaei leads Neuron-Glia Signaling and Circuits Unit at NINDS, and his laboratory is studying the cellular and circuit mechanisms underlying motor control disorders.

Selected Publications

  1. Bishop M, Weinhold M, Turk AZ, Adeck A, SheikhBahaei S. An open-source tool for automated analysis of breathing behaviors in common marmosets and rodents. Elife. 2022;11.
  2. Turk AZ, Bishop M, Adeck A, SheikhBahaei S. Astrocytic modulation of central pattern generating motor circuits. Glia. 2022.
  3. SheikhBahaei S, Maguire GA. Scientists, society, and stuttering. Int J Clin Pract. 2020;74(11):e13678.
  4. Sheikhbahaei S, Turovsky EA, Hosford PS, Hadjihambi A, Theparambil SM, Liu B, Marina N, Teschemacher AG, Kasparov S, Smith JC, Gourine AV. Astrocytes modulate brainstem respiratory rhythm-generating circuits and determine exercise capacity. Nat Commun. 2018;9(1):370.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Tuesday, May 10, 2022