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: 

Motta-Ochoa, R., Bresba, P., Da Silva Castanheira, J., Kwan, C.L., Shaffer, S., Julien, O., William, M. & Blain-Moraes, S. “ ‘When I hear my language, I travel back in time and I feel at home’: Intersections of culture with social inclusion and exclusion of persons with dementia and their caregivers”. Transcultural Psychiatry. (accepted). 

Nadin, D., Duclos, C., Mahdid, Y., Rokos, A., Badawy, M., Letourneau, J., Arbour, C., Plourde, G. & Blain-Moraes, S. (2020) “Brain Network Motif Topography May Predict Emergence from Disorders of Consciousness: A Case Series”. Neuroscience of Consciousness. (accepted).

Cascio, M.A., Motta-Ochoa, R., Teachman, G., Grond, F., Tembeck, T., Blain-Moraes, S. & Park, M. (2020) “What’s at stake with biomusic? Engaging the humanities and social sciences in the ethical reflections on an emerging technology.” Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation (in press).

Cascio, M.A., Grond, F., Motta-Ochoa, R., Tembeck, T., Van Teen, D., Blain-Moraes, S. (2020) “Working together – ethnographic observations on participatory design involving adults with autism”. Human Organization. (in press).

Sample, M., Sattler, S., Blain-Moraes, S., Rodriguez-Arias, D. & Racine, E. (2019) “Do publics share experts’ worries about brain-computer interfaces? A trinational survey on the ethics of neural technology”. Science, Technology, and Human Values.

Kwan, C.L., Mahdid, Y., Motta Ochoa, R., Lee, K., Park, M. & Blain-Moraes, S. (2019) “Wearable technology for detecting significant moments in individuals with dementia”. Biomed Research International. Vol. 2019, Article ID 6515813, 13 pages.

Renda, E., Karmali, S.A., Yordanova, I., Schwartz, S., Mahdid, Y., Blain-Moraes, S.* & Boudrias, M.H.* (2019) “Effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on an individual’s ability to learn to control a brain-computer interface”. McGill Journal of Medicine.

Sample, M., Aunos, M., Blain-Moraes, S., Bublitz, C., Chandler, J., Falk, T., Friederich, O., Groetzinger, D., Jox, R.J., Koegel, J., McFarland, D., Neufield, V., Rodriguez-Arias, D., Sattler, S., Vidal, F., Wolbring, G., Wolkenstein, A. & Racine, E. (2019) “BCIs and personhood: Interdisciplinary deliberations on the impact of neural technology”. Journal of Neural Engineering. doi:10.1088/1741-2552/ab39cd

Moraes, C.*, Blain-Moraes, S.*, Morell-Tomassoni, S. & Gorbet, R.B. (2019) “The W-model: A pre-college design pedagogy for solving wicked problems”. International Journal of Technology and Design Education.

Grond, F., Motta-Ochoa, R., Miyake, N., Tembeck, T., Park, M. & Blain-Moraes, S. (2019) “Participatory design of affective technology: Interfacing biomusic and autism”. IEEE Transactions of Affective Computing.

Connolly, J., Reilly, J., Fox-Robichaud, A., Britz, P., Blain-Moraes, S., Sonnadara, R., Hamielec, C., Herrera-Diaz, A. & Boshra, R. (2019) “Development of a point of care system for automated coma prognosis – a prospective cohort study protocol”. BMJ Open

Shortal, B.P., Hickman, L.B., Mak-McCully, R.A., Wang, W., Brennan, C., Ung, H., Litt, B., Tarnal, V., Janke, E., Picton, P., Blain-Moraes, S., Maybrier, H., Muench, M., Lin, N., Avidan, M., Mashour, G., McKinstry-Wu, A., Kelz, M., Palanca, B., & Proekt, A. (2019) “Duration of electroencephalogram suppression does not predict recovery time from general anesthesia”. British Journal of Anaesthesia. Doi:

Lee, H., Golkowski, D., Jordan, D., Berger, S., Ilg, R., Lee, J., Mashour, G.A., Lee, U., Avidan, M., Blain-Moraes, S., Golmirzaie, G., Hardie, R., Hogg, R., Janke, E., Kelz, M.B., Maier, K., Maybrier, H.R., McKinstry-Wu, A., Muench, M., Ochroch, A., Palanca, B.J.A., Picton, P., Schwarz, E.M., Tarnal, V., Vanini, G., Vlisides, P.E. (2019) “Relationship of critical dynamics, functional connectivity, and states of consciousness in large-scale human brain networks”. NeuroImage. 188:228-238. Doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.12.011

Blain-Moraes, S., Racine, E. & Mashour, G.A. (2018) “Consciousness and Personhood in Medical Care”. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 12. 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00306

Thiery T, Lajnef, T, Combrisson E, Dehgan A, Rainville P, Mashour G, Blain-Moraes, S & Jerbi K. (2018) "Long-range temporal correlations in the brain distinguish conscious wakefulness from induced unconsciousness", NeuroImage 179: 30-39. Doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.05.069

Koller, D., McPherson, A.C., Lockwood, I., Blain-Moraes, S. & Nolan, J. (2018) “The impact of Snoezelen in pediatric complex continuing care: A pilot study”. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine: An Interdisciplinary Approach. 11:31-41.

Walsh, A., Evans, J.E., Sims, E., Goldberg, R.L., Peters, K.L., Globerson, K., Drossel, C., Blain-Moraes, S., Merbitz, N.K. (2017) “Bedside audio storytelling for hospital patients: A program overview”. The Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation. Fall 2017, pp. 1-24.

Blain-Moraes, S., Tarnal, V., Vanini, G., Bel-Behar, T., Janke, E., Picton, P., Golmirzaie, G., McKinney, A., Palanca, B.J.A., Avidan, M.S., Kelz, M.B. & Mashour, G.A. (2017) “Network efficiency and posterior alpha patterns are markers of recovery from general anesthesia: A high-density electroencephalography study in healthy volunteers”. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00328.

Maier, K.L., McKinstry-Wu, A.R., Palanca, B.J.A., Tarnal, V., Blain-Moraes, S., Basner, M., Avidan, M., Mashour, G.A., Kelz, M.B. (2017) “Protocol for the reconstructing human consciousness and cognition study”. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00284.

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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