Stefanie Blain-Moraes

Academic title(s): 

Assistant Professor

Stefanie Blain-Moraes
Contact Information

Davis House, Room DB6-B

3654 Prom-Sir-William-Osler

Montreal, Quebec

H3G 1Y5

450-688-9550 ext 4830
Email address: 
stefanie.blain-moraes [at]
Assistant Professor

B.A.Sc. (Engineering Science), University of Toronto; Ph.D. (Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Sciences), University of Toronto; Postdoctoral, University of Michigan (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Anesthesiology)

Current research: 

Connectedness, disability, embodiment, participation, quality of life, technology

Dr. Blain-Moraes runs the Biosignal Interaction and Personhood Technology (BIAPT) lab at McGill.  Her lab applies physiological signal processing techniques and assistive technology design principles to address the needs of non-communicative individuals and their care providers.  The objectives of the BIAPT lab are:

1.       To advance the understanding of the neurophysiological and physiological basis of human consciousness and interaction
2.       To translate this understanding into technologies that improve the quality of life of non-communicative persons and their caregivers

Areas of expertise: 

1. Enhancing interaction with non-communicative individuals
Care providers can experience considerable distress and frustration when trying to interact with individuals who cannot produce vocal or other observable responses.  These individuals may be non-communicative for a variety of reasons, ranging from acute traumatic injury to a congenital disability.  Caregivers of these individuals can end up confining their interactions to custodial care, especially when their social interaction is unreciprocated for a long period of time.  Such situations can lead to caregiver burnout and place the non-communicative individual at risk for neglect and/or family abandonment.  The BIAPT lab develops novel technologies that provide visual and auditory manifestations of a non-communicative individual’s physiological responsiveness, with the goal of enhancing interaction between non-communicative individuals and their caregivers.  We are currently focusing on biomusic, which translates meaningful changes in the autonomic nervous system into auditory output.

2. Assessing levels of consciousness and cognition in non-communicative individuals
Accurate assessment of non-communicative individuals is extremely challenging.  Behavioural assessment remains the “gold standard”, yet using these techniques to assess levels of consciousness has resulted in a greater than 40% misdiagnosis rates

Selected publications: 

Blain-Moraes, S., Boshra, R., Ma, H.K., Mah, R., Ruiter, K., Avidan, M., Connolly, J.F. & Mashour, G.A. Normal brain response to propofol in advance of recovery from unresponsive wakefulness syndrome. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 2016.

Kim, M., Mashour, G., Blain-Moraes, S., Vaninni, G., Janke, E., Hudetz, A.G. & Lee, U. Functional and topological conditions for explosive synchronization develop in human brain networks with the onset of anesthetic-induced unconsciousness. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 2016. (in press)

Moon, J., Lee, U.,Blain-Moraes, S. & Mashour, G. General relationship of global topology, local dynamics, and directionality in large-scale brain networks.PLoS Computational Biology 2015. 11(4):e1004225. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004225

Blain-Moraes, S., Tarnal, V., Vanini, G., Alexander, A., Rosen, D., Shortal, B., Janke, E. & Mashour, G.A. Neurophysiological correlates of sevoflurane-induced unconsciousness.Anesthesiology 2015. 122(2):307-316. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000000482

Lee, U.,Blain-Moraes, S. & Mashour, G. Assessing levels of consciousness with symbolic analysis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 2014. 373:20140117.

Blain-Moraes, S., Lee, U., Ku, S., Noh, G. & Mashour, G.A. Electroencephalographic effects of ketamine on power, cross-frequency coupling and connectivity in the alpha bandwidth. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 2014. 8:114. doi:10.3389/fnsys.2014.00114.

Memarian, N.,Blain-Moraes, S. & Chau, T. Toward a physiological signal-based access solution for a non-verbal adolescent with severe and multiple disabilities. Developmental Neurorehabilitation 2014. 17(4):270-277.

Thompson, D.*,Blain-Moraes, S.* & Huggins, J. Performance assessment in brain-computer interface-based augmentative and alternative communication. BioMedical Engineering Online 2013. 12(1),43.

Blain-Moraes, S., Mashour G.A., Lee, H., Huggins, J.E. & Lee, U. Altered cortical communication in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Neuroscience Letters 2013. 543:172-176.

Blain-Moraes, S., Chesser, S., Kingsnorth, S., McKeever, P. & Biddiss, E. Biomusic: A novel technology for revealing the personhood of people with profound multiple disabilities. Augmentative and Alternative Communication 2013. 29(2):159-173.

Blain-Moraes, S. & Chau, T. Challenges of developing access pathways for children with profound congenital disabilities. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability 2012. 37(4):348-359.

Blain-Moraes, S., Schaff, R., Gruis, K., Huggins, J. & Wren, P. Barriers to and mediators of brain-computer interface user acceptance: Focus group findings. Ergonomics 2012. 55(5):516-525.

Blain, S.*, Kingsnorth, S.*, Stephens, L. & McKeever, P. Determining the effects of therapeutic clowning on nurses in a children’s rehabilitation hospital. Arts & Health 2012. 4(1):26-38.

Lesperance, A.,Blain, S.& Chau, T.An integrated approach to detecting communicative intent amid hyperkinetic movements in children. Augmentative and Alternative Communication 2011. 27(3):150-162.

Blain, S. & McKeever, P. Revealing personhood through biomusic of individuals without communicative interaction ability. Augmentative and Alternative Communication 2011. 27(1):1-4.

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