Biomedical

Biomedical Activities - Cognitive Neuroscience

The goal of cognitive neuroscience is to understand how complex functions such as perception, attention, memory, and language are implemented within the brain. The rapid development of cognitive neurosciences in the last two decades is mainly due to the technological advancement of non-invasive brain imaging techniques which can allow the study of brain activity related to the performance of specific tasks in awake healthy human subjects.

The power of modern computer systems allows the acquisition of voluminous data, as well as data processing and informative visualization of the results. A key factor for the development in the field has largely relied on the collaboration of different disciplines, such as neurophysiology, psychology, biology, physics and engineering, which traditionally did not interact with each other.

In our group, we put an emphasis on understanding high-level cognitive functions such as attention and intention in 3D space, coupled with scientific techniques which allow us to study how these functions are processed within the brain. Our research interests include the study of visual perception in 3D space, spatial attention and preparation for action.

-Event-Related Potentials


We measure the electrical activity of the brain synchronized to the onset of specific events in experimental tasks (Event-Related Potentials). This activity can give information about the time that certain events take place as well as their intensity, as measured with the EEG. Using source localization, sources of cortical activity can be localized. Moreover, we apply time-frequency analysis to investigate brain activity in different frequency bands (alpha, beta, and gamma range) and its modulation according to specific events. We use a 64-channel EEG system from BioSemi.

 

-Eye Movements

Bringing a target to the center of our retina offers higher resolution and for this reason we perform thousands of saccades every day. We also perform vergence eye movements in order to focus on objects at different depths, at near (convergence) or far (divergence). 
Measuring the latency and accuracy of eye movements in 3D space, can provide valuable information about the processes underlying the decision to make a motor response to a visual target. Substantial knowledge about the cortical and subcortical network underlying saccade generation and control comes from neurophysiological, brain imaging, and lesion studies. It is important to emphasize that the saccadic system can constitute a relatively simple model of a motor system uniquely coupled to the visual system, to understand complex higher functions such as attention, intention, and spatial memory.

 

Publications

  • Marie Curie Reintegration Grant 2004-2006, “Seeing Space” 
  • Fulbright Award 2007, “Neural synchrony in the beta and gamma range when initiating and performing a saccade in Parkinson Disease” (in collaboration with the Neurology Dept, Downstate Medical Center, SUNY, N.York, USA).