Mass General researchers have found that very slow spontaneous vessel pulsations drive the clearance of substances from the brain, indicating that targeting and improving this process may help to combat Alzheimer's disease.
Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
About This Program
Despite continued scrutiny into the single-neuronal correlates of motor and cognitive behavior, remarkably little remains known about the mechanisms by which information is communicated between neurons locally or across cortical areas. Such communication is central to neuronal functioning at a systems level, yet remains among the most poorly understood topics in neuroscience.
The focus of the Neuronal Communication and Restoration Lab is to interrogate multiple-neuronal ensembles across interconnected cortical areas, and examine the manner by which communication between neurons correlates with ongoing behavior.
Probing Neuronal Communication
We are specifically targeting tasks that engage the acquisition of dynamic motor responses, and are examining the underlying neuronal processing that allow such information to be "transferred" from one area within the CNS to the other. These and similar findings may answer a number of basic questions about the process by which multi-modal information is shared between cortical areas and how concerted neuronal activity may instruct downstream areas responsible for cognitive and executive control.
Restoring Neuronal Communication
Despite intense scientific effort, there remains virtually no effective treatments for reconstituting the "line of communication" across areas damaged within the CNS. The second main aim of the lab is to develop new approaches for transforming recorded neuronal activity into signals that can be used to drive intact downstream areas within the CNS such as the spinal cord. Our group and others had previously demonstrated that ensemble neuronal activity may accurately predict movement intention, and that delivery of event-related electrical stimuli in areas responsible for motor production can reproducibly alter targeted limb movement. Our current goal is to exploit these properties in order to systematically dissociate and approximate movement production with motor intent. Such findings may offer alternate strategies leveraged to circumvent damaged areas within the CNS, and provide a unique perspective into the individual roles that motor cortical neurons and spinal efferent activity play in adaptive motor behavior.
- Ziv Williams, MD Assistant Professor in Neurosurgery, Attending Neurosurgeon
- Rollin Hu, Post-doctoral fellow
- Wenhua Zhang, Post-doctoral fellow
- Keren Haroush, Post-doctoral fellow
- Kostas Spiliopoulos, Post-doctoral fellow
- Michelle Vidal , Research fellow
- Nive Jerath, Neurology resident
- Maryam Shanechi, Graduate student
- Morgan Jamiel, Graduate student
- Rebecca Gwaltney, Undergraduate student
- Marissa Powers, Undergraduate student
- Press Release
- Nov | 27 | 2019
In research led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital and published in Scientific Reports, treatment with an anti-inflammatory drug delayed the onset of disease in a mouse model of ALS.
- Nov | 21 | 2019
Congratulations to Merit Cudkowicz, MD, MSc, Director of the Sean M. Healey and AMG Center for ALS and Chief of Neurology at Mass General, who presented “A Powerful Promise,” a keynote speech at Accelerating Transformation, the 2019 Press Ganey National Client & Executive Leadership Conference.
- Press Release
- Nov | 20 | 2019
A chemical that has improved surgeries for brain cancer by making tumor cells fluorescent may also help doctors safely diagnose the disease and monitor its response to treatment, according to a new study led by investigators at Mass General.
- Nov | 8 | 2019
Research at the MGH is interwoven throughout more than 30 departments, centers and units and is conducted with the support and guidance of the MGH Research Institute. The Research Roundup is a monthly series highlighting studies, news and events.
- Press Release
- Nov | 4 | 2019
A new study provides insights on why some people may be more resistant to Alzheimer’s disease than others. The findings may lead to strategies to delay or prevent the condition.