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Neurovascular Coupling in the Human Brain

Dr. Kevin Whittingstall, Département de Radiologie Diagnostique, Université de Sherbrooke

Neurovascular Coupling in the Human Brain

What
  • CREATE-MIA Event
  • Seminar
When Mar 14, 2014
from 01:15 PM to 02:15 PM
Where McConnell Engineering MC437
Attendees All CREATE-MIA Trainees.
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Abstract

Neurovascular coupling (NVC) is a term used to describe the relationship between electric and hemodynamic signaling in the brain.  While much of our current understanding of NVC stems from studies in animal models, relatively little is known regarding how this mechanism behaves in humans.  Gaining a deeper insight into human NVC is crucial not only for better understanding basic elements of cognitive processing, but also in how we interpret functional maps of brain activity (e.g. fMRI).  For example, can we assume that NVC behaves similarly across individuals, brain areas and/or cognitive state?  In this talk, I will discuss our current understanding of NVC, the methods used for studying non-invasive NVC in humans as well as recent findings from members of my lab.

Biography

Dr. Kevin Whittingstall is an assistant professor in the department of Radiology at the Université de Sherbrooke in Québec, Canada. He received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Physics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada and completed postdoctoral studies at the Max Plank Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany. His main research interests are in the development of non-invasive tools for measuring and interpreting brain function and structure in humans and animal models. In particular, his lab focuses on the balance between neural activity and cerebral blood supply (neurovascular coupling) and how disruptions in this balance are related to diseases of the brain (e.g. brain tumours). For this, he and his colleagues are developing methods that can simultaneously track and analyze changes in neural activity (EEG) and blood flow (fMRI) in the brain with great spatial and temporal precision.  Importantly, these measures are non-invasive and can be safely repeated without any adverse effects to the individual. Since 2011, he holds a Canada Research Chair in Neurovascular Coupling.

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Funded by NSERC

Funding provided by NSERC