Selected Publications

BACKGROUND Determining the anatomical source of brain activity non-invasively measured from EEG or MEG sensors is challenging. In order to simplify the source localization problem, many techniques introduce the assumption that current sources lie on the cortical surface. Another common assumption is that this current flow is orthogonal to the cortical surface, thereby approximating the orientation of cortical columns. However, it is not clear which cortical surface to use to define the current source locations, and normal vectors computed from a single cortical surface may not be the best approximation to the orientation of cortical columns. We compared three different surface location priors and five different approaches for estimating dipole vector orientation, both in simulations and visual and motor evoked MEG responses. We show that models with source locations on the white matter surface and using methods based on establishing correspondences between white matter and pial cortical surfaces dramatically outperform models with source locations on the pial or combined pial/white surfaces and which use methods based on the geometry of a single cortical surface in fitting evoked visual and motor responses. These methods can be easily implemented and adopted in most M/EEG analysis pipelines, with the potential to significantly improve source localization of evoked responses.
In NeuroImage, 2020

Motor cortical beta activity (13–30 Hz) is a hallmark signature of healthy and pathological movement, but its behavioural relevance remains unclear. Using high-precision magnetoencephalography (MEG), we show that during the classical event-related desynchronisation (ERD) and event-related synchronisation (ERS) periods, motor cortical beta activity in individual trials (n > 12,000) is dominated by high amplitude, transient, and infrequent bursts. Beta burst probability closely matched the trial-averaged beta amplitude in both the pre- and post-movement periods, but individual bursts were spatially more focal than the classical ERS peak. Furthermore, prior to movement (ERD period), beta burst timing was related to the degree of motor preparation, with later bursts resulting in delayed response times. Following movement (ERS period), the first beta burst was delayed by approximately 100 milliseconds when an incorrect response was made. Overall, beta burst timing was a stronger predictor of single trial behaviour than beta burst rate or single trial beta amplitude. This transient nature of motor cortical beta provides new constraints for theories of its role in information processing within and across cortical circuits, and its functional relevance for behaviour in both healthy and pathological movement.
In PLOS Biology, 2019

Distinct anatomical and spectral channels are thought to play specialized roles in the communication within cortical networks. While activity in the alpha and beta frequency range (7 – 40 Hz) is thought to predominantly originate from infragranular cortical layers conveying feedback-related information, activity in the gamma range (>40 Hz) dominates in supragranular layers communicating feedforward signals. We leveraged high precision MEG to test this proposal, directly and non-invasively, in human participants performing visually cued actions. We found that visual alpha mapped onto deep cortical laminae, whereas visual gamma predominantly occurred more superficially. This lamina-specificity was echoed in movement-related sensorimotor beta and gamma activity. These lamina-specific pre- and post- movement changes in sensorimotor beta and gamma activity suggest a more complex functional role than the proposed feedback and feedforward communication in sensory cortex. Distinct frequency channels thus operate in a lamina-specific manner across cortex, but may fulfill distinct functional roles in sensory and motor processes.
In Elife, 2018

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a direct measure of neuronal current flow; its anatomical resolution is therefore not constrained by physiology but rather by data quality and the models used to explain these data. Recent simulation work has shown that it is possible to distinguish between signals arising in the deep and superficial cortical laminae given accurate knowledge of these surfaces with respect to the MEG sensors. This previous work has focused around a single inversion scheme (multiple sparse priors) and a single global parametric fit metric (free energy). In this paper we use several different source inversion algorithms and both local and global, as well as parametric and non-parametric fit metrics in order to demonstrate the robustness of the discrimination between layers. We find that only algorithms with some sparsity constraint can successfully be used to make laminar discrimination. Importantly, local t-statistics, global cross-validation and free energy all provide robust and mutually corroborating metrics of fit. We show that discrimination accuracy is affected by patch size estimates, cortical surface features, and lead field strength, which suggests several possible future improvements to this technique. This study demonstrates the possibility of determining the laminar origin of MEG sensor activity, and thus directly testing theories of human cognition that involve laminar- and frequency-specific mechanisms. This possibility can now be achieved using recent developments in high precision MEG, most notably the use of subject-specific head-casts, which allow for significant increases in data quality and therefore anatomically precise MEG recordings.
In NeuroImage, 2018

BACKGROUND In combination with magnetoencephalographic (MEG) data, accurate knowledge of the brain’s structure and location provide a principled way of reconstructing neural activity with high temporal resolution. However, measuring the brain’s location is compromised by head movement during scanning, and by fiducial-based co-registration with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. The uncertainty from these two factors introduces errors into the forward model and limit the spatial resolution of the data. NEW METHOD We present a method for stabilizing and reliably repositioning the head during scanning, and for co-registering MRI and MEG data with low error. RESULTS Using this new flexible and comfortable subject-specific head-cast prototype, we find within-session movements of { extless}0.25mm and between-session repositioning errors around 1mm. COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHOD(S) This method is an improvement over existing methods for stabilizing the head or correcting for location shifts on- or off-line, which still introduce approximately 5mm of uncertainty at best (Adjamian et al., 2004; Stolk et al., 2013; Whalen et al., 2008). Further, the head-cast design presented here is more comfortable, safer, and easier to use than the earlier 3D printed prototype, and give slightly lower co-registration errors (Troebinger et al., 2014b). CONCLUSIONS We provide an empirical example of how these head-casts impact on source level reproducibility. Employment of the individual flexible head-casts for MEG recordings provide a reliable method of safely stabilizing the head during MEG recordings, and for co-registering MRI anatomical images to MEG functional data.
In Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 2016

Animals and humans have a tendency to repeat recent choices, a phenomenon known as choice hysteresis. The mechanism for this choice bias remains unclear. Using an established, biophysically informed model of a competitive attractor network for decision making, we found that decaying tail activity from the previous trial caused choice hysteresis, especially during difficult trials, and accurately predicted human perceptual choices. In the model, choice variability could be directionally altered through amplification or dampening of post-trial activity decay through simulated depolarizing or hyperpolarizing network stimulation. An analogous intervention using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) yielded a close match between model predictions and experimental results: net soma depolarizing currents increased choice hysteresis, while hyperpolarizing currents suppressed it. Residual activity in competitive attractor networks within dlPFC may thus give rise to biases in perceptual choices, which can be directionally controlled through non-invasive brain stimulation.
In eLife, 2016

Recent Publications

More Publications

BACKGROUND Determining the anatomical source of brain activity non-invasively measured from EEG or MEG sensors is challenging. In order …

Detecting when one’s own gaze has been followed is a critical component of joint attention, but little is known about its development. …

Although it is established that F5 neurons can distinguish between nonsocial goals such as bringing food to the mouth for eating or …

Learning to associate neutral with aversive events in rodents is thought to depend on hippocampal and amygdala oscillations. In humans, …

Motor cortical beta activity (13–30 Hz) is a hallmark signature of healthy and pathological movement, but its behavioural relevance …

Distinct anatomical and spectral channels are thought to play specialized roles in the communication within cortical networks. While …

Processing facial expressions is an essential component of social interaction, especially for preverbal infants. In human adults and …

Simulation theories propose that observing another’s facial expression activates sensorimotor representations involved in the execution …

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a direct measure of neuronal current flow; its anatomical resolution is therefore not constrained by …

In magnetoencephalography (MEG) research there are a variety of inversion methods to transform sensor data into estimates of brain …

Recent & Upcoming Talks

Research

*

Beta bursts

Investigating the functional role of sensorimotor beta bursts.

Computational Neurostim

Simulating the effects of noninvasive brain stimulation on behavior.

Developmental Alpha

Developmental studies of alpha activity.

Laminar MEG

Lamina-specific inference with high precision MEG.

Contact