Dr Jason Potas
Adjunct Senior Lecturer

Dr Jason Potas

Doctor of Philosophy- Neuroscience

Medicine & Health
School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr Jason Potas is a neuroscientist interested in somatosensory (touch, proprioception and pain) and motor systems. He received his PhD training at the University of Sydney, Australia, before undertaking post-doctoral studies in various areas relating to neural injury. Before returning to academia at the Australian National University, he worked in industry in Brazil, and currently holds a senior lecturer position (neuroanatomy) at the University of New South Wales. Dr Potas leads an independent research team seeking to understand how somatosensory information is transformed through the nervous system. His laboratory projects, combining neuroscience, neurotrauma, machine-learning and biomedical and chemical engineering, aim to restore, mimic and/or augment sensorimotor systems.

02 9385 0017
Department of Anatomy School of Medical Sciences Wallace Wurth Building (C27) University of New South Wales SYDNEY NSW 2052
  • Journal articles | 2021
    Loutit AJ; Vickery RM; Potas JR, 2021, 'Functional organization and connectivity of the dorsal column nuclei complex reveals a sensorimotor integration and distribution hub', Journal of Comparative Neurology, vol. 529, pp. 187 - 220, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cne.24942
    Journal articles | 2020
    Hu D; Moalem-Taylor G; Potas JR, 2020, 'Red-Light (670 nm) Therapy Reduces Mechanical Sensitivity and Neuronal Cell Death, and Alters Glial Responses after Spinal Cord Injury in Rats', Journal of Neurotrauma, vol. 37, pp. 2244 - 2260, http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2020.7066
    Journal articles | 2020
    Hu D; Moalem-Taylor G; Potas JR, 2020, 'Red-light (670 nm) therapy reduces mechanical sensitivity and neuronal cell death, and alters glial responses following spinal cord injury in rats', , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.22.960641
    Journal articles | 2020
    Vickery RM; Ng KKW; Potas JR; Shivdasani MN; McIntyre S; Nagi SS; Birznieks I, 2020, 'Tapping Into the Language of Touch: Using Non-invasive Stimulation to Specify Tactile Afferent Firing Patterns', Frontiers in Neuroscience, vol. 14, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2020.00500
    Journal articles | 2019
    Loutit AJ; Shivdasani MN; Maddess T; Redmond SJ; Morley JW; Stuart GJ; Birznieks I; Vickery RM; Potas JR, 2019, 'Peripheral nerve activation evokes machine-learnable signals in the dorsal column nuclei', Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, vol. 13, pp. 11, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnsys.2019.00011
    Journal articles | 2017
    Loutit AJ; Maddess T; Redmond SJ; Morley JW; Stuart GJ; Potas JR, 2017, 'Characterisation and functional mapping of surface potentials in the rat dorsal column nuclei', Journal of Physiology, vol. 595, pp. 4507 - 4524, http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/JP273759
    Journal articles | 2015
    Potas JR; De Castro NG; Maddess T; De Souza MN, 2015, 'Waveform similarity analysis: A simple template comparing approach for detecting and quantifying noisy evoked compound action potentials', PLoS ONE, vol. 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0136992

2020-2022     NHMRC Ideas Grant (APP1187416): Moalem-Taylor G, Aplin F, Potas JR, & Fridman G. A novel approach for peripheral neuromodulation: Using ionic direct current to treat chronic pain

2020-2022     ARC Discovery Project (DP200100630): Birznieks I, Vickery R, Potas JR, Shivdasani M. The role of spike patterning in shaping human perception of tactile stimuli

2019              Bootes Foundation: Potas JR. Finding the neuronal basis for early detection of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy

2018              Bootes Foundation: Potas JR. Recording electrical activity in the brain toward the development of bionic touch – Funding 2

2018              SPHERE UNSW Sydney: Potas JR, Moalem-Taylor G, Birznieks I, Vickery R, Shivdasani M, Lin C, Goldstein D. Understanding brainstem sensory coding in pursuit of early detection of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy

2017              Bootes Foundation: Potas JR. Recording electrical activity in the brain toward the development of bionic touch

2015              Bootes Foundation: Potas JR. Decoding sensory signals in the spinal cord for designing a “bionic touch” neuroprosthesis

2014              Bootes Foundation: Potas JR. The use of 670 nm light for treatment of neuropathic pain

2013              Bootes Foundation: Potas JR. The use of 670 nm light treatment to promote recovery from spinal cord injury

2012              Bootes Foundation: Potas JR. Promoting nervous system regeneration with 3D nanofibre scaffolds


Augmented Sensorimotor Systems group

Research interests:

Our research focuses on sensory and motor systems in pursuit of a deeper understanding of basic sensorimotor neuroscience. Our translational neuroscience objectives include the augmentation of sensory and/or motor systems to overcome nervous system damage, as well as to contribute to the expanding domain of enhanced sensorimotor function and mind-machine convergence.

Our pre-clinical projects combine electrophysiology of the nervous system using high channel count multi-electrode arrays with neuroanatomy and a variety of data science techniques including machine learning. We study the peripheral nervous system, spinal cord, and brain under normal conditions as well as neurotrauma. Human psychophysics draws correlations between our pre-clinical models and human perception. We also develop unique computational tools for neural signal analysis.

We have a variety of projects underway which include pain and touch processing in the pursuit of basic and applied knowledge for the development of diagnostic devices, brain machine interfaces and neural prosthetics (sensory and motor bionics). We are also developing a novel nanotechnology for delivery of drugs and genes to precise targets of the spinal cord with the aim of restoring movement and autonomous control.


Current projects:

Sensory tactile coding: We combine neural recordings from the nervous system with human psychophysics to improve our understanding of sensory processing as well as the effects of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. This knowledge will help us develop diagnostic tools for evaluating nerve function as well as the development of sensory neural prostheses (see: https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2020.00156).

Ionic direct current stimulation: We are investigating a novel stimulation technique (iDC) for neuromodulation of pain pathways. This technique permits us to excite, and well as inhibit nerves carrying pain information but with minimal impact on other sensory pathways. This project will help us develop better tools for blocking drug-resistant pain with minimal side effects to other sensory systems such as touch and proprioception.

Nanomedicine: We collaborate with chemical engineers to develop new nanomedicine drug and gene delivery systems that permits us to precisely target specific regions of the spinal cord. With this technology we aim to modifying pain, spasticity, and deliver genes for our OptoSpine project.

OptoSpine is a new optical-based bionics system for overcoming paralysis. We collaborate with molecular physiologists and chemical engineers to precisely deliver genes to spinal cord motor neurons, so they become responsive to light, and biomedical engineers to develop an optical-based neural prosthesis. This project aims to restore function to paralysed patients using artificial intelligent control of their genetically modified light-sensitive motor neurons.

Signal analysis: We are developing new software analytical tools which permits the analysis of complex neuronal spike-waveform interactions for improving the analysis of evoked potentials. These tools permit us to analyse large and complex multi-channel data sets for improving our basic understand of neuronal coding.

My Research Supervision

Alastair Loutit (PhD student)