T. Dorina Papageorgiou Lab

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About the Lab

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The T. Dorina Papageorgiou - Investigational Targeted Brain Neurotherapeutics Lab has developed a novel, targeted and individualized MRI-compatible brain computer interface (BCI) based on associative learning principles that can induce neuromodulation in patients with neurological sequelae following stroke (cerebral artery infarct, middle cerebral artery), traumatic brain injury, or tumor resection.

We call our MRI-BCI, individualized real-time functional MRI neurofeedback (iRTfMRI nFb), which is based on promoting reorganization of networks by bypassing lesioned pathways and capitalizing on redundant, intact but functionally associated pathways to the injured ones.

This is achieved by modulating the magnitude and spatial extent of Blood-Oxygen-Level-Dependent (BOLD) signal with the goal to recover the brain function, as a result of a neurological insult.

We apply this investigational treatment to patients with impairments of the following cortical systems:

  • Retrochiasmal lesions downstream of the optic radiation, which result in cortical blindness
  • Supra- or infra-nuclear injury of the glossopharyngeal nerve, which result in upper motor neuron disease (lesions in somatomotor, and somatosensory areas) or lower motor neuron disease (lesions downstream of the medulla oblongata)
  • Pain matrix network areas, which result in impaired somatosensory and somatomotor pain matrix network activity as a result of CNS- (neuropathic pain) or PNS (migraines)-associated pain

Reorganization can be achieved by neuromodulating the spatial extent and intensity of the Blood-Oxygen-Level-Dependent (BOLD) signal to a patient's intact cortical area, which takes over in performing the function that has been impaired in primary cortical areas since they became lesioned following neurological injury.

This investigational treatment engages associative learning mechanisms that modulate the activity of intact cortical areas with the goal to improve performance in patient populations with neurological seqelae as a result of stroke or, traumatic brain injury or, tumor resection.

Focus Areas  

Our goal is to understand how the brain learns specifically under induced learning conditions. The overall aims of our lab are to study the mechanisms of adaptive plasticity/reorganization of cortical functions using various neuroimaging modalities and techniques, including:

  • To examine the learning mechanisms of brain function reorganization, such as motor and visual in health (adaptive plasticity, the goal of which is to increase performance) and disease (maladaptive plasticity the goal to induce recovery of the lesioned brain function by bypassing injured pathways and capitalizing on intact but functionally associated to those that have sustained injury).
  • To induce recovery of function via reorganization of pathways using MRI-brain-computer-interface methods, such as real-time fMRI neurofeedback (rt-fMRI nFb).
  • To combine complementary methods that offer increased temporal resolution, such as MR-compatible electroencephalogram (EEG).
  • To use advanced computational methods, such as machine learning (linear and non-linear support vector machines, multilayer perceptrons), deep learning (3d temporal convolutional networks) and dynamic causal modeling (Hidden Markov Models) to decipher the spatiotemporal relationship induced by iRTfMRI nFb and thus, characterize the type of associative learning as a function of a healthy versus a brain characterized by lesioned tissue.