Developmental Neuroscience

Functional MRI 

I use auditory stimulation paradigms, resting state fMRI and DTI to assess how auditory brain function and network connectivity develops over the first years of life, in healthy infants and those with perinatal brain injury or neurodevelopmental disorders. Detecting abnormalities in cortical sound processing early - before delays in language acquisition become behaviorally apparent - is paving the way to earlier diagnosis and interventions. 

Click here for more details on my fMRI work on neonates with perinatal brain injury, and here for my fMRI work in toddlers, children and adolescents with autism. 

For external links with more information about the Cusack Lab's Collaborative Health Research Project utilizing fMRI to study brain function in infants click here. Information about the SDSU Toddler MRI project studying infants at the earliest time point at which autism can currently be diagnosed can be found here

  Upper row:  auditory activation in a 3-month old; visual resting state component in a 9-month old and DTI in a 3-month old scanned on the 3T Siemens Prisma at the Robarts Research Institute (right).  Bottom row:  MRI setup used for neonates at Children's Hospital, LHSC.

Upper row: auditory activation in a 3-month old; visual resting state component in a 9-month old and DTI in a 3-month old scanned on the 3T Siemens Prisma at the Robarts Research Institute (right). Bottom row: MRI setup used for neonates at Children's Hospital, LHSC.

Cranial Ultrasound

MRI is the gold-standard to assess brain structure but it is expensive and not portable. We have used affordable ultrasound technology to image brain structure in low resource settings and are developing methods to automize image processing and analysis. 

 

Project with David Clay, Bobby Stojanoski, Stephen Rulisa and Aggrey Wasunna.  

 

Electroencephalography (EEG) 

We use EEG to study how infants process basic auditory information, how they store sounds in short term memory and how they learn the statistics of their auditory environment. Developing robust paradigms that can be used to assess brain function after perinatal brain injury is one of the main goals of this project. We have used these paradigms to test affordable equipment that can be used at the bedside in low resource settings. 

 

Project with Bobby Stojanoski, Dan Cameron, Michelle Tran, Stephen Rulisa and Aggrey Wasunna.