Research Focus: Neural mechanisms of sensation and cognition, including multisensory integration and language processing
Funding: NIH, Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES)
Lab Website: http://www.med.nyu.edu/thesenlab
We study the spatio-temporal dynamics of multisensory and language processing in the human brain using intracranial recordings and other brain imaging technologies.
The world we live in is inherently multisensory. As we step through it we recognize and react to objects based on their auditory, visual, tactile and chemosensory properties. In our lab, we ask the question of how the brain integrates the information from these different sensory channels to create a unified and coherent percept that allows us to navigate our environment with ease and efficiency.
Being able to generate and understand complex language is a feature of our brain that sets us apart from other species. We are interested in shedding light on the mechanisms that have evolved to support the transformation from scribbles on a page to neuronal representations of letter strings, to word recognition, phonological decoding, semantic processing and transformation of sensory representations to motor commands in order to understand language and produce an answer.
A critical problem in studying brain dynamics are the limitations imposed by individual brain imaging technologies. Each imaging modality has its advantages and disadvantages: fMRI possesses high spatial resolution, but poor temporal resolution; MEG possesses high temporal resolution but poor and ambiguous spatial resolution; ECoG possesses both high spatial and temporal resolution, but its coverage is spatially limited. Our studies integrate fMRI, MEG and ECoG recordings, often in a single patient. By adopting a multimodal imaging approach, that involves recording brain signals during the same perceptual or cognitive task using all three imaging modalities, our laboratory leverages the distinct advantages of each of these techniques.
Lab Members: Thomas Thesen, D.Phil. (PI), Lucia Melloni, Ph.D. (Visiting Scientist), Yoshiyuki Nishio, M.D./Ph.D. (Visiting Scientist), Ido Davidesco, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow), Brian T. Quinn, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow), Valerie Nunez, Ph.D. (Postdoctoral Fellow), Hugh Xiuyuan Wang, M.Sc. (Biomedical Engineer), Callah Boomhaur, B.A. (Lab Manager), Kristen Berry, B.A. (Research Student), Mike Sun Jeon Lee, B.A. (Research Student).