1. Educational Neuroscience
Investigation of poor reading and other academic performance using functional and structural neuroimaging (fMRI, VBM, DTI, etc...) and psychophysics.
Predicting outcome of academic performance using spatial patterns of brain activation and structural brain measures in addition to cognitive measures.
link to 'dyslexia research'
2. Real-Time fMRI
RtfMRI feedback training in chronic pain patients.
RtfMRI feedback training to improve cognition in individuals with developmental disabilities.
RtfMRI feedback training to enhance performance in healthy individuals.
3. Developmental Disabilities
Investigation of various developmental disabilities (fragile X, velocardio-facial, Klinefelter, Williams syndrome) using functional and structural neuroimaging.
link to 'research'
1. Basic mechanism and applications of TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation)
- Investigation of the basic mechanisms of TMS using patients with depth electrodes to measure the induced current in vivo.
- Investigation of the physiological response properties when repetitive trains of TMS are applied to healthy individuals.
- Development and validation of a device to rapidly switch the direction of current in the loops of a circular and figure-of-eight transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) coil. The device delivers: 1) real TMS, 2) sham TMS (by manipulating the current in each loop of the coil, most of the induced electric field will be cancelled out), and 3) real TMS with reversed current direction (by reversing the current direction in the coil, this type of TMS applies non-optimal stimulation while maintaining identical subjective sensation and induced electric field). The developed device is being validated with respect to: 1) its physical properties using a search-coil electric circuit, 2) associated subjective sensations to study whether the subject or the investigator could tell what kind of pulse was being delivered, and 3) behavioral paradigms. The results suggest that this TMS device is superior to conventional TMS in: 1) simultaneous brain mapping studies where moving or switching coils is highly undesirable (e.g. concurrent TMS/fMRI or TMS/EEG studies), 2) interleaving different sham and control conditions, 3) a double blind design (e.g. treatment), 4) consecutive and controlled activation of two same or two different neural structures without the participantfs awareness, and 5) investigating the physiologic and behavioral interactions of two consecutive stimuli in the same or different current directions. This device may enable new more sophisticated research techniques for insight into brain function, pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders, and the mechanism of action of TMS.
2. Application of TMS
- Treatment: Therapeutic application of TMS in depressed patients.
- Cortical excitability measures: Measurements of cortical excitability in healthy individuals and depressed patients and whether there are any predictors of therapeutic response with any of these measures.
- Application of TMS as a virtual lesion: Application of repetitive TMS (rTMS) to areas such as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
3. Self Awareness
- Psychophysical and TMS studies to investigate the time course, brain location, and neural computations involved in awareness of our own actions.
4. Mirror Neurons, and Imitation
- FMRI and TMS studies of action, perception and imitation using movie-clips of self and other actions.
5. Multisensory Integration and Cross-Modal Illusion
- Psychophysics, eye-tracking and EEG studies on a cross-modal illusion using auditory and visual stimuli considered as metaphorically congruent.