Neural Engineering and Imaging
Neural Engineering applies engineering principles to solve questions in brain research and to the development of treatments for neurological disorders.
Our Neuronal Engineering group analyzes nervous system function at multiple levels including single channel, single cell, tissue, whole animal, and human cognitive levels. We integrate experimental insights with computational modeling and pursue translational research through the NYCBE.
"Unlocking the Brain"
Our goal is to understand normal and diseased brain function by applying engineering principles to the most challenging problems in brain research.
The basic research of Professors Bikson, Parra and Kelly draws on both experimental and modeling approaches to understand information processing in the brain. On the neuronal level, we study the synaptic and non-synaptic mechanisms leading to Coherent Neuronal Activity, including mechanisms of temporal encoding by neuronal populations and their role in cognition (e.g. gamma oscillations). On the systems level, we study the larger-scale neural mechanisms that enable human visual and auditory perception, orienting behavior (e.g. eye movements) and decision making. The new knowledge generated on all levels is routinely brought to bear on translational research; for example, parallel studies of the synaptic mechanisms of pathological (hyper) synchronization, and global signatures of neuronal excitation and inhibition, will jointly guide the development of better therapeutic approaches in epilepsy.
"Writing the Brain"
Electricity has the potential to harm and to cure. Our goal is to understand this phenomena and develop the most advanced electrical therapies.
Dr. Bikson's Electrotherapy and Applied Bioelectricity group at the NYCBE is working to determine the basic mechanisms by which electric fields affect brain function and to develop tools for research/clinical functional electrical stimulation. This research addresses the potential risks of human exposure to electro-magnetic fields such as those generated by mobile phones and power lines. It has immediate applications in the development of tools for exploring cognitive function and in the design of electrical prosthesis for the restoration of CNS and PNS function.
"Reading the Brain"
State-of-the-art signal processing techniques allow engineers to 'look in the mind'
Dr. Parra's work in Neural Signal Processing focuses on developing signal analysis tools for imaging the central nervous system. His group emphasizes multivariate signal analysis and probabilistic modeling, drawing heavily on advanced machine learning techniques. Projects on functional imaging are based on Electro-Encephalography (EEG). Experiments in Parra's high-density EEG recording lab study processes involved in human auditory and visual perception and attention. The latest perceptual modeling work in this laboratory seeks to explain the origin of tinnitus, and develop potential treatment options.
Biomedical Instrumentation and Rapid Prototyping
Our group leverages the tremendous rapid prototyping and fabrication infrastructure of the CCNY Grove School of Engineering and the translational expertise of the NYCBE hospital.
Addressing medical needs and developing innovative medical device treatments requires a rational pipe-line that spans basic scientific discovery, IP, medical device design, regulatory, and clinical trials. The CCNY Neural Engineering group and our partners are one of the few academic centers in the world with integrated expertese spanning these areas. Our group supports external commercial partners and start-up efforts including Soterx Medical Inc. and Neuromattes Inc. Dr. Marom Bikson is director of the Kaylie Prize in Entrepreneurship part of the Zahn Center.