Translational neuroscience for physical and mental health

Our lab studies the social neuroscience of physical and mental health across the human lifespan.  We are particularly interested in how the brain--as a biological entity--and the social environment interact to produce behaviours that prevent or reduce the impact of various kinds of physical and mental health outcomes, including chronic diseases (e.g., obesity, diabetes, cancer), infectious illness (COVID-19, SARS), and psychiatric conditions (e.g., PTSD, addictions, depression).

A second major focus of our laboratory is the investigation of new ways of assessing brain health and conceptually important cognitive capacities. Of particular interest are the development and evaluation of brain stimulation paradigms to quantify cortical resilience (i.e., the ability of the brain to recovery quickly from suppressive perturbations). These and other related protocols may facilitate early detection of dementia and other brain pathologies affecting the frontal lobes, and provide new ways of measuring brain health indices in clinical assessments, clinical research trials and population health studies.

Equipment and Facilities:

The Prevention Neuroscience Laboratory is equipped with a MagVenture MagPro x100 rTMS system (cTBS capable, with EMG), a neuronavigation system, several mobile brain imaging systems (multichannel fNIRS), and facilities for standardized testing of food choice.

Where to find us:

We are located in Room 2105 Burt Matthews Hall (BMH). If you are here for a study, please take the Columbia Street entrance to the University, enter BMH from the main entrance on Ring Road; once inside, make a right turn and proceed upstairs to the lounge area on the second floor. A research assistant will meet you in the lounge area.

  1. Dec. 16, 2020A challenge paradigm for the human brain
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    The CCaRT system represents a new approach to cognitive assessment based on magnetic brain stimulation (rTMS). As a cognitive assessment system, it may help to detect early signs of brain injury and neurodegenerative disorders (e.g., dementia), or assist with personnel selection for occupations that involve extreme demands or environments (e.g., aerospace, military, medicine).

  2. Sep. 23, 2020Adolescent brain health
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    How do everyday lifestyle behaviors impact the adolescent brain? In a new study, PN lab member Mia Papasideris used mobile functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to image brain activity on-site in school settings.  She finds that a number of behaviors influence brain health, and some even impact academic achievement.

  3. Sep. 18, 2020Special issue of SCAN
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    Announcing a new special issue of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience guest edited by PN Lab director, Dr. Peter Hall. Focused on "the social neurobiology of eating," this collection of empirical, methodological and theoretical papers will be published in early 2021.

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