Our lab studies the brain mechanisms of "executive" functions like paying attention, suppressing automatic responses, generating voluntary behavior and switching between different tasks and instructions.
We focus on the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex, cortical regions at the front of the brain that have long been known to play a central role in orchestrating complex thoughts and actions. Dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex have been implicated in many psychiatric and neurological disorders, including schizophrenia, autism, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders.
“THERE is, perhaps, no subject in physiology of greater importance and general interest than the functions of the brain, and there are few which represent to experimental investigation conditions of greater intricacy and complexity.”
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
We use state-of-the-art task-based and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in humans and non-human primates to investigate the neural areas and processes involved in cognitive control. These experiments are conducted in collaboration with Ravi Menon and Joe Gati at the Centre for Functional and Metabolic Mapping at the Robarts Research Institute.
We employ a combination of sophisticated behavioural training with neurophysiological techniques. These techniques involve extracellular recordings of the activity of multiple single neurons in different brain areas, microstimulation, cortical cooling, neurochemical injections, and physiological identification of connections with antidromic activation.
David Ferrier (1876) The Functions of the Brain