In broad strokes, our lab studies brain plasticity. We are asking questions such as, how does the brain adapt to changes in sensory input or to direct brain damage. We use converging techniques such as psychophysics, eye movement measurement, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to examine the brain and behaviour. At the moment, we are working on four separate but interrelated lines of research:
1. Treating Visual Hallucinations in Those with Vision Loss
We are developing novel therapeutic treatment using TMS to provide a safe and effective non-invasive therapy for Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) following loss of vision. Visual hallucinations can occur following vision loss from diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or glaucoma. Individuals with CBS experience visual images such as people, landscapes or patterns that do not exist in reality. These visual hallucinations can be troublesome for the patient and are often misunderstood, resulting in added psychological consequences in addition to the visual impairment. At present, there is no standard treatment protocol to treat visual hallucinations that occur following loss of vision.
If you experience visual hallucinations as a result of loss of vision and interested in participating in our study to develop treatment for these visual hallucinations, please contact Stefania Moro (email@example.com) or Aysha Kinakool (firstname.lastname@example.org). Your participation will contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge to better understand and treat this condition.
If you are a healthy person (aged 40 years and over) and are interested in helping contribute to this research or may know a friend or family member suffering from this condition, we would also like to hear from you.
2. Studying Visual and Auditory Processing in People with One Eye
We are one of the few labs in the world to study multisensory (visual and auditory) processing in unique ophthalmological patients who have had one eye surgically removed (enucleated) early or late in life, thereby disrupting binocular input to the visual system. We are examining low-level form vision and motion processing as well as higher-level face, object and scene processing. We also measure multisensory adaptation through behaviour and neuroimaging.
If you have had an eye removed early in life (younger than 5 years of age) or later in life (older than 5 years of age) and are interested in participating in our study to understand how the brain adapts after sensory loss, please contact Stefania Moro (email@example.com). Your participation will contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge to better understand how the brain develops and how intact sensory systems function.
3. Biomarkers and Parameter Optimization of Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation
We are currently examining the distinct effects of various repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) protocols, including theta burst stimulation (TBS), on different cortical regions. In addition, we are assessing the biophysical variations between these brain regions, considering factors such as cytoarchitecture and genetic polymorphism (e.g., brain-derived neurotrophic factor; BDNF) as covariates, with a particular focus on plasticity and neuromodulation responsiveness of different nodes in visual brain networks. To further our understanding, we employ a range of methods including stereotaxic neuronavigation, both anatomical and functional MRI, MR spectroscopy, analyzing saliva samples for BDNF polymorphism, simulations, and machine learning techniques.
If you are interested in participating in any of our ongoing behavioural or neuroimaging studies regarding this project, please contact Remy Cohan (firstname.lastname@example.org). Your participation will contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge to better understand the mechanisms of plasticity and neuromodulation in the visual brain.
4. Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to Understand Visual Processing Mechanisms in the Brain
We study rare neurological patients with acquired brain damage resulting in visual object agnosia (the inability to visually recognize objects) or prosopagnosia (the inability to visually recognize a face). Using image-guided TMS, we are able to create temporary lesions in neurologically-intact participants to better understand object and face processing by transiently disrupting processing in various cortical regions of the face, object and scene processing networks.
If you are interested in participating in any of our ongoing image guided TMS studies, please contact Stefania Moro (email@example.com). Your participation will contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge to better understand how the visual brain functions and is able to adapt.
If you're interested in participating in any of our studies please email firstname.lastname@example.org