PIA Executive Committee:
Chair: Claudio Babiloni, PhD
I have carried out studies in the field of cognitive neuroscience and clinical neurophysiology using electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography, functional magnetic resonance and magnetic transcranial stimulation techniques to clarify the efficient functional organization of the brain of skilled and healthy people (athletes, musicians) and abnormalities of this functional organization in people with brain disorders. These studies have been financed both by European Community (Seventh Framework Program and H2020) and Italian Government through the Ministry of University and Research (MIUR) and the Ministry of Health.
Research Line 1. Description of neurophysiological mechanisms generating EEG rhythms recorded in quiet wakefulness conditions as an expression of the fluctuation of vigilance in neurological patients with cognitive deficits, young and elderly, with interest in HIV and neurodegenerative dementing disorders (e.g. Alzheimer's and Lewy body diseases). The aim is to clarify the functional significance of the frequency and topography of the oscillations of human brain activity in the different neural circuits underling cognitive functions, also evaluating possible clinical applications.
Research Line 2. Description of neurophysiological mechanisms generating EEG rhythms recorded in human subjects during sensory, cognitive, and motor processes under physiological conditions. The aim is to clarify the functional significance of the frequency and topography of oscillations of human brain activity in different brain circuits underling these processes, as a basis for further investigations in clinical and rehabilitation fields.
Vice Chair: Mihaly Hajos, PhD
Dr. Mihaly Hajos, Principal Investigator and Head of the Experimental and Translational Neurophysiology team at Biogen. Currently, he is also appointed as a Professor Adjunct at Yale Medical School. Dr. Hajos received his Pharm.D. degree from A. Szent-Györgyi Medical University Szeged, Hungary, and Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from University of Göteborg, Sweden. Dr. Hajos is an accomplished neurophysiologist with internationally recognized expertise in neurobiology and pharmacology of psychiatric and neurological disorders; having extensive research experience and leadership in both academic (Oxford and Yale) and industrial (Pharmacia/Pfizer and Biogen) drug discovery. His academic research was supported by numerous national, international and private foundations, including the Swedish Medical Research Council, European Science Foundation, British-Swiss Joint Research Program, NIH and CHDI. He was also a Team Leader (at Pfizer), and Scientific Adviser for Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI); Advisor and Mentor at Québec Consortium on Drug Discovery (CQDM). Using neurophysiological methods, he has studied mode of action of current pharmacotherapies and potential drug candidates. Applying neurophysiology-based biomarkers, he contributed to the design of numerous clinical proof-of-mechanism and proof-of-concept studies in Phase I and Phase II clinical development programs. His most recent work has been centered on neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, fronto-temporal dementia, and Huntington’s disease. Combining genetic models of these neurodegenerative diseases together with systems physiology, he have developed disease-relevant, neurophysiology-based efficacy assays and translational biomarkers. He had faculty positions and long track record in university education at Medical University of Szeged, Hungary, University of Oxford, U.K. and Yale University Medical School, USA; he supervised master and PhD students, scientists, physicians and postdoctoral fellows.
Programs Chair: Brian Murphy, PhD
Brian Murphy PhD is Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of BrainWaveBank, a neurotechnology company based in Belfast and Dublin. The company's mission is to make frequent sampling of clinically relevant EEG activity available to all, with user-friendly wearable and gaming technologies. Brian's research focus is on the use of machine learning and other advanced numerical techniques to detect and track the progression of neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric conditions. He holds a doctorate from Trinity College Dublin, and trained in machine learning and cognitive neuroscience at the University of Trento, and at Carnegie Mellon University. A former faculty member at Queen's University Belfast, he now holds a visiting position there in Data Analytics.
Communications Chair: Bahar Güntekin, PhD
Dr. Bahar Güntekin is a cognitive neuroscientist and Professor of Biophysics. She is currently the head of the Department of Biophysics in the Istanbul Medipol University School of Medicine,Turkey. She received her Ph.D. in Biophysics under the supervision of Dr. Erol Başar in 2006 from the Dokuz Eylül University School of Health Sciences. Dr. Güntekin’s research focuses on the EEG-Event Related Oscillations. She used EEG-Event related oscillations to study healthy aging and Alzheimer's disease. Her most recent work has been centered on the investigation of emotional processes in Alzheimer's disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment and Parkinson’s disease with dementia. The goal of her work is to identify impaired networks in AD during different brain functions in order to be used for prediction, prevention, and therapy of AD. She was awarded as Outstanding Young Scientist by Turkish Academy of Sciences (TÜBA) in 2015 and by METU Parlar Foundation in 2016.
Steering Committee Member: Xianghong Arakaki, MD, PhD
Dr. Arakaki is a Senior Research Scientist and Principal Investigator in Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI), “an independent,non-profit organization with the mission to improve lives through patient-focused scientific research”, located in Pasadena, California. She is an experienced neuroscientist with main interests in functional sensory and cognitive processing. She earned her MD from Tongji University and MS in Neurobiology from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Tennessee in Memphis, TN. She has been studying neurological diseases together with her mentor, Dr. Michael Harrington, using her medicine, neuroscience, and electrophysiology expertise for over 10 years (19 papers and book chapter),including areas of migraine, mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), and pre-symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease (AD). She and her colleagues have reported EEG spectral power changes during mTBI and pre-symptomatic AD. She has active projects with her mentors Dr. Harrington and Dr. Kloner, HMRI colleagues, and external collaborators. Her current NIH-funded study is on core executive functions and heart and brain systemic interactions during subtle cognitive changes in pre-symptomatic AD. She has trained over a dozen undergraduate students in neuroscience research and has served as a Boswell post-doctoral fellow supervisor jointly with Caltech professor Dr. Shimojo. She has provided peer reviews in neurosciences, and has served as a member of the Society for Neuroscience, American Physiological Society, and recently Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment (ISTAART). Her passion is to explore cognitive functions of neurological diseases through the lens of electrophysiology and systems biology.
Steering Committee Member: Sanjeev Kumar, MD
Dr. Sanjeev Kumar is a geriatric psychiatrist and the medical head of Geriatric Psychiatry Research at Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) which is Canada’s largest psychiatric hospital and is fully affiliated with University of Toronto. He is a clinician scientist at Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at CAMH and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Dr. Kumar’s research focuses on developing novel biomarkers and treatment interventions for patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related disorders. He studies neurophysiology of cognitive disorders using Quantitative Electroencephalography and brain stimulation techniques such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). Further, he is conducting research into development of pharmacological and non pharmacological interventions for treating cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms of AD and related disorders. He has received competitive research funding from national and international agencies and has published his work in prestigious peer reviewed journals. He is the recipient of several honors and awards including Academic Scholars Award from University of Toronto, NARSAD Young Investigator Award by Brain and Behaviour Foundation, USA and Early Career Investigator Awards from Society of Biological Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association and American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Please click the links below for his publications:
Steering Committee Member (within 10 years of terminal degree): Francesca Farina, PhD
I hold a BA (Hons) degree in Psychology (2011) and a PhD in Neuroscience (2016) from the National University of Ireland Maynooth. My doctoral thesis examined interactions between hippocampal and prefrontal brain regions during memory processing in rodents. I subsequently completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at University College Dublin, investigating the phenomenon of false memories. I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. My research focuses identifying pre-clinical markers of memory impairment using EEG. In 2018, I was awarded an Irish Research Council Enterprise Post-doctoral Fellowship in partnership with BrainWaveBank Ltd, to continue this work. I also collaborate with the Global Health Brain Institute at Trinity College Dublin. In addition to my scientific work, I have a strong interest in the arts. In 2018, I co-authored a book entitled ‘Why Science Needs Art’, which explores the intersection of science and art. I am also STEM Editor for Women Are Boring, an online advocacy initiative for women in science.
Immediate Past Chair: Fiona Randall, PhD
Fiona is Head of External Innovation sitting on the scientific and operational leadership team of Eisai's Andover innovative Medicines Institute (AiM) in Andover, MA, an institute built around human genetics guided drug discovery. Fiona is a British neuroscientist and electrophysiologist, leading in vitro electrophysiology at AiM. She is an experienced drug discovery professional with worldwide pharmaceutical experience in established and emerging markets (UK, USA, China, Japan). Fiona has a global outlook and rich cultural experience, complemented by a broad range of scientific experience across a range of therapeutic areas across Neuroscience and Neuro-oncology, with a main career focus on Alzheimer's and Dementia. Fiona's current role permits her to work at the interface of industry and academic partners and bring in the best science to accelerate programs with the goal to deliver medicines to patients faster. Fiona also leads AiM's human healthcare (hhc) patient outreach program where scientists learn from patients about their reality and use that to inspire better solutions for patients and collaborates closely with the local MA/NH Alzheimer's Association Chapter. She is on the Society for Neuroscience Professional Development Committee and is the current Chair of the Women in Neuroscience Subcommittee. Fiona is the current Chair of the ISTAART Electrophysiology Professional Interest Area.