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The goal of the lab is to push the development and translation of brain-machine interfaces from scientific concept into clinical application with close collaboration with clinicians and industry. Brain-machine interfaces span a broad array of applications and consist of either direct connection of a device to neurons within the brain or neural communication through noninvasive techniques, such as EEG recordings and transcranial magnetic or current stimulation. The initial focus of my lab is to develop and improve invasive and noninvasive neurostimulation approaches for treating hearing disorders, including deafness, tinnitus and hyperacusis.
We are currently working on six general areas of research:
The lab employs various experimental and engineering techniques in animals and humans to understand the brain and how to successfully implement a neural device. This includes acute and chronic implantation of electrode arrays into the animal brain to investigate how the auditory system codes for different sound features as well as the effects of electrical activation of multiple auditory and non-auditory pathways on sound coding and perception. Various electrophysiological and modeling techniques are also used to investigate the functional and plasticity circuitry of the auditory system, which is important for understanding how to improve and optimize stimulation strategies for treating hearing disorders. By performing imaging and psychophysical studies in humans in response to various types of stimulation and linking these results to those obtained in animals, we then obtain a better understanding of sound processing within the human brain that can guide the development of the next generation of neural technologies for improving hearing disorders.
Although the initial focus of the lab is to develop improved neural devices for hearing applications, we will expand our techniques and technologies to address other clinical applications, especially those investigated by leading research groups at University of Minnesota (e.g., pain, schizophrenia, motor control, epilepsy).