Most of the patients who participate in our research suffer from medically refractory epilepsy and have intracranial electrode implants to identify a region of the brain that can be resected in hopes of curing their seizures.
During patients' one- to two-week stay in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, they participate in a variety of experiments that allow us to study human cognition:
Restoring Active Memory Replay (RAM Replay)
RAM Replay is supported by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The project investigates the role of neural “replay” in forming and recalling memory, to help people better recall episodic events and learned skills.
Our research team is working to develop a brain-computer interface that uses intracranial electrical stimulation to enhance memory in patients suffering from traumatic brain injury.
This multi-site initiative, uniting basic science and clinical research teams with bioengingeering companies, places us at the forefront of neuroscience research.
Contributions of Parietal Regions to Episodic Memory
Leveraging a unique neurosurgical electrode implant strategy, stereo encephalography (sEEG), we are investigating the contribution of various parietal brain structure to episodic memory encoding and retrieval.
We analyze patterns of oscillatory activity and the neural networks that give rise to successful memories and facilitate memory retrieval to identify the parietal regions that are engaged by human memory. These findings allow us to identify parameters of electrical stimulation including what brain regions to stimulate to try to enhance memory.
Cortico-Cortical Evoked Potentials (CCEP)
In addition to our work using passive EEG recordings, we use active stimulation throughout the brain and evaluate the evoked response at other regions to evaluate patterns of structural connectivity.
This data allows us to evaluate the relationship between structural and functional connectivity and to identify biomarkers of diseased brain tissue, such as epileptogenic neural networks.
Neural Basis of Preferences
We are working to decode the patterns of neural activity that give rise to human preferences. This work is a more refined approach to reward processing than simply comparing the regions of the brain that are involved in processing positive and negative feedback.
This work may lay the foundation for using electrical stimulation to treat behavioral disorders, such as obesity and addiction, that are believed to arise from abnormal reward processing.