Research Centers

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Cash, Sydney S., PhD - Cortical Physiology Laboratory

We combine microelectrode and macroelectrode recording and computing techniques to study brain activity, mechanisms for brain machine interface, and the neurophysiology of epilepsy.

Overview

The research in the Cortical Physiology Laboratory is, broadly speaking, dedicated to trying to understand normal and abnormal brain activity, particularly oscillations, using multi-modal and multi-scalar approaches with long term goals of improving therapies for patients with epilepsy.

We are combining novel microelectrode approaches with both invasive and non-invasive techniques such as electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography to record directly from both human and animal cortex and subcortical structures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated 1/26/2012

Syd Cash

Principal Investigator

Sydney S. Cash, MD, PhDGroup

  • Assistant Professor of Neurology,
    Harvard Medical School
  • Assistant in Neurology,
    Massachusetts General Hospital   

Research Lab Members

  • Ahmed, Omar, PhD
  • Borzello, Mia - Lab Technician
  • Chan, Alex - Graduate Student
  • Chu-Shore, Catherine, MD
  • Gieber, Kristof, PhD
  • Lahiri, Sutanuka - Senior Clinical Research Coordinator and Lab Manager
  • Naftulin, Jason - Lab Technician
  • Rozman, Peter - Medical Student
  • Shafi, Mouhsin, MD, PhD
  • Westover, Brandon, MD, PhD

 

 

 

Updated 1/26/2012

Research Projects

Neurocortical spikes

Overview

Our projects are built on a multi-scalar / multi-modal foundation of combined microelectrode, macroelectrode and non-invasive recording techniques that span information from the level of single action potentials to aggregate activity of millions of neurons. Intensive signal processing and computational techniques are employed to analyze these data sets and correlate them with imaging data. Collaborative activities are a hallmark of the lab with involvement of neurologists, neuroscientists, mathematicians, engineers from multiple universities.

Neurophysiology of Epilepsy

One group within the lab studies the neurophysiology of epilepsy; this group studies how seizures start and stop, and tries to understand how they might be predicted and ultimately terminated. Our final goal is to have a more thorough knowledge of the mechanisms of epilepsy and to use this information to design better treatments for patients suffering from seizures.  We use both animal models and information collected from patients with epilepsy. These questions overlap with investigations into the mechanisms of sleep, normal language, auditory and other cognitive processing.

Understanding Human Cognition

We are also studying some of the basic mechanisms of how the brain works.  We are particularly interested in a deeper knowledge of how language, emotion and auditory processing occur.

Understanding Sleep and Dreams

While human cognition during the waking state is of obvious interest, it is equally fascinating what happens while we are asleep. Despite an enormous literature on this topic remarkable little is known about the fundamental mechanisms of sleep activity in the human brain or the purpose of those activities. Our current research is focused on understanding how some of the characteristic rhythms and elements of sleep arise in the human cortex. Projects, which we are  just beginning, delve more deeply into what is occurring during dreaming.

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Fundamentals of Cortical and Subcortical Oscillations

Interwoven with all of our investigations is an interest in the ongoing oscillatory and rhythmic activity of the brain. These are features, which are obviously present during sleeping and dreaming, make a fundamental component of active cognition and have gone pathologically askew during epilepsy.  We are investigating the mechanisms and importance of different oscillatory activity during many different brain states.

Brain-Computer Interface Research

The largely basic science issues which we focus on in much of our work comes to a practical launching point with our work on brain-computer interfaces. The focus of these projects is on mechanisms through which recording and therapeutic systems can be interfaced with the nervous system – a form of brain-machine interface research. Ultimately, all of these projects aim toward the creation of both invasive and non-invasive mechanisms for restoring damaged neuronal function.

Clinical Research and Trials

The lab itself is not focused on clinical trials per se.  But, the Epilepsy Service of the Massachusetts General Hospital maintains an active research program, and some patients will have the opportunity to enroll in research or clinical trials. For information about ongoing studies and the ability to participate, please call 617-726-5904.

 

 

Updated 1/25/2012

Read about and apply for residency, fellowship and observership programs at http://www.massgeneral.org/neurology/education/.

Apply for temporary positions (summer interns)  through the Bulfinch Temporary Service Web site at http://www.massgeneral.org/careers/temporary.aspx. Search for all opportunities using ID# 2200484.

All applicants should register with the Mass General Careers Web site at http://www.massgeneral.org/careers/viewall.aspx. Request a list of current open positions at mghneurology@partners.org.

  1. Dykstra AR, Halgren E, Thesen T, Carlson CE, Doyle W, Madsen JR, Eskandar EN, Cash SS. Widespread Brain Areas Engaged during a Classical Auditory Streaming Task Revealed by Intracranial EEG. Front Hum Neurosci. 2011; 5:74.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Truccolo W, Donoghue JA, Hochberg LR, Eskandar EN, Madsen JR, Anderson WS, Brown EN, Halgren E, Cash SS. Single-neuron dynamics in human focal epilepsy. Nat Neurosci. 2011 May; 14(5):635-41.
    View in: PubMed
  3. Chu-Shore CJ, Kramer MA, Bianchi MT, Caviness VS, Cash SS. Network analysis: applications for the developing brain. J Child Neurol. 2011 Apr; 26(4):488-500.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Chan AM, Halgren E, Marinkovic K, Cash SS. Decoding word and category-specific spatiotemporal representations from MEG and EEG. Neuroimage. 2011 Feb 14; 54(4):3028-39.
    View in: PubMed
  5. Dehghani N, Bédard C, Cash SS, Halgren E, Destexhe A. Comparative power spectral analysis of simultaneous elecroencephalographic and magnetoencephalographic recordings in humans suggests non-resistive extracellular media. J Comput Neurosci. 2010 Dec; 29(3):405-21.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Kramer MA, Eden UT, Kolaczyk ED, Zepeda R, Eskandar EN, Cash SS. Coalescence and fragmentation of cortical networks during focal seizures. J Neurosci. 2010 Jul 28; 30(30):10076-85.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Csercsa R, Dombovári B, Fabó D, Wittner L, Eross L, Entz L, Sólyom A, Rásonyi G, Szucs A, Kelemen A, Jakus R, Juhos V, Grand L, Magony A, Halász P, Freund TF, Maglóczky Z, Cash SS, Papp L, Karmos G, Halgren E, Ulbert I. Laminar analysis of slow wave activity in humans. Brain. 2010 Sep; 133(9):2814-29.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Dehghani N, Cash SS, Halgren E. Topographical frequency dynamics within EEG and MEG sleep spindles. Clin Neurophysiol. 2011 Feb; 122(2):229-35.
    View in: PubMed
  9. McDonald CR, Thesen T, Carlson C, Blumberg M, Girard HM, Trongnetrpunya A, Sherfey JS, Devinsky O, Kuzniecky R, Dolye WK, Cash SS, Leonard MK, Hagler DJ, Dale AM, Halgren E. Multimodal imaging of repetition priming: Using fMRI, MEG, and intracranial EEG to reveal spatiotemporal profiles of word processing. Neuroimage. 2010 Nov 1; 53(2):707-17.
    View in: PubMed
  10. Dehghani N, Cash SS, Chen CC, Hagler DJ, Huang M, Dale AM, Halgren E. Divergent cortical generators of MEG and EEG during human sleep spindles suggested by distributed source modeling. PLoS One. 2010; 5(7):e11454.
    View in: PubMed

 View more publications on Dr. Cash's Harvard Catalyst research profile.

 

 

 

Updated 1/25/2012

Cortical Physiology Laboratory – Sydney S. Cash

Wang Ambulatory Care Center
Sydney S. Cash, MD, Neurology, WACC 730
Mass General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726-3311
Fax: 617-726-9250

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: no
E-mail: scash@partners.org