Cognitive Neuroscience

 

The cognitive neuroscience unit comprises basic and clinical scientists who lead internationally recognized research programs, and together provide a highly collaborative research and training environment. The unit aims to understand the function and dysfunction of neural systems that control cognition and behavior. Research themes focus on perception, memory, language, emotion, plasticity, and executive functions, which are studied in humans and animal models. The team makes use of many techniques, including psychophysics, cognitive tasks, and neuropsychological testing to characterize behavior, with the aim of linking them to measures of brain function and anatomy. Members of the unit have strong collaborations with the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, allowing access to advanced neuroimaging techniques, including magnetic resonance imaging, magnetoencephalography, and positron emission tomography, which are used to explore patterns of neural activity, brain structure, and connectivity. The group also has expertise with brain stimulation methods that allow modulation of activity.

Links with the Neural Circuits group add to the breadth and depth of available models and analytic tools. Important connections also exist with Neurosurgery and Neurology, leading to inter-disciplinary clinical and research work with patients with a variety of disorders, including epilepsy, tumors, MS, and neurodegenerative diseases. These approaches are combined with one another, and with sophisticated analytical methods to advance knowledge of how neural circuits underlie complex cognitive functions in healthy people, how they change with learning or experience, how they break down in brain disorders, and how they respond to treatments.

Group Leader
Lesley Fellows