Team

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For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a scientist.
— AR. McIntosh

My early memories include coming up with a theory for how diseases spread and designing rockets so that my brother and I could replicate Evel Knievel stunts. Fortunately, that design never made it to production.

I got inspired to study the brain in my first year Psychology class, taught by Rob Sutherland at the University of Lethbridge, which was followed by a class on Brain and Behaviour from Ian Whishaw. I was hooked on neuroscience. Shortly thereafter I was fortunate to get a student position with Rod Cooper at the University of Calgary. There, I started learning about “neuroimaging” with the autoradiographic 2-deoxyglucose method, where we studied the relation of learning and visual system function in rats. It was shortly around this time where my interest in exploring brain networks, rather than regions, emerged. This led to a parallel development of analytic tools, which formed the basis of my PhD work done with Francisco Gonzalez-Lima at the University of Texas at Austin. The methods continued to evolve when I did my postdoctoral fellowship with Barry Horwitz and NIH, where we moved the network analysis tools to human neuroimaging (see our paper for a narrative of this journey).

The analytic methods were never developed in a theoretical vacuum. Early on in my neuroscience career, I drew inspiration from the seminal works of Cajal, Lashley, Hebb, and Luria, who all emphasized aspects distributed functions of the brain in creating the mind. Most of my work has taken these ideas and developed them through empirical investigation to form new perspectives on brain networks. I now benefit from frequent interactions with many colleagues in hammering out these ideas, including Giulio Tononi, Olaf Sporns, and my close collaborators Petra Ritter and Viktor Jirsa. Many of the discussions happened as part of the long running Brain Connectivity Workshops. Indeed, one of these meetings led to a pub chat with Viktor the spawned to development of TheVirtualBrain, the most recent example of novel tools to study brain network function.

While I am a scientist, that’s not all I do. My early curiosity of science happened at the same time as I developed interest in music. I am drawn to music from a deeply personal space and find it a wonderful complement to my scientific aspirations. Like other forms of art, music and science overlap so much that I often find insight from considering music as a way to understand how the brain works. If you go through my social media posts, you’ll find my posts are split between my scientific and my musical interests. There is other stuff I post, but we won’t talk about that here :) 


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LAB MEMBERS

TANYA BROWN
Program Manager

I am dedicated to facilitating the McIntosh lab research program through a crystallized approach to science, that combines a solid understanding of neuroscience concepts and theories as well as an aptitude to formulate project management to research endeavours. Additionally, I coordinate the international and multidisciplinary team behind The Virtual Brain (TVB) to ensure the portfolio of TVB projects are complimentary, realistic and aligned with our goal to deliver the world’s leading advisor for clinical decision making to optimize brain health.

CONTACT:
tbrown@thevirtualbrain.org

SARAH CARPENTIER
PhD Student

I am primarily interested in neural network dynamics of how humans integrate information from our environments with our memories to produce higher order perceptions and our subjective, conscious appreciation of our environments. To this end, I have used EEG and MEG and taken a whole-brain network connectivity approach to studying the neural systems associated with musical training, perception, and preferences, as well as second language fluency and acquisition.

CONTACT: scarpentier@research.baycrest.org

AMANDA EASSON
Graduate Student

I study brain network dynamics in children and adolescents with and without autism spectrum disorder using multivariate statistics and The Virtual Brain.

CONTACT: aeasson@research.baycrest.org

SARAH FABER
Graduate Student

I am researching what neural networks are involved in music perception and creation, and how these networks change over the adult lifespan and with the onset of Alzheimer's disease. I graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2008 with an honour's bachelor of music therapy and worked in adult and forensic mental health and geriatrics at home in Halifax. I was fascinated by music's unique accessibility to those with neurodegeneration, and left the profession in 2012 to study the neural correlates of dyadic improvisation, graduating with a master's in music, mind and technology from the University of Jyväskylä in 2014. I'm interested in music as a communicative medium, neural correlates of individual and group improvisation, music-making with clinical populations, and how neuroimaging can contribute to the practice of music therapy. I play flute in orchestras and small ensembles whenever I can, and am a keen amateur bagpiper.

CONTACT:
sfaber@research.baycrest.org

  ERIN GIBSON  PhD Student  My research focuses on the functional role of fluctuations in neural activity and aims to characterize the extent to which EEG signal is stabilized or destabilized by perceptual and cognitive events.  CONTACT:  egibson@research.baycrest.org

ERIN GIBSON
PhD Student

My research focuses on the functional role of fluctuations in neural activity and aims to characterize the extent to which EEG signal is stabilized or destabilized by perceptual and cognitive events.

CONTACT:
egibson@research.baycrest.org

JOHN GRIFFITHS
Post Doctoral

My work focuses on studying brain changes in ageing and neurological disease using a combination of neuroimaging, computational modelling, and theoretical neurobiology.

I have degrees in psychology and cognitive neuroscience from Universities of Cambridge, Warwick, and York, UK, and is an honorary associate of the University of Sydney Center for Complex Systems.

CONTACT:
jgriffiths@research.baycrest.org

TYLER GOOD
Graduate Student

My work combines neuroimaging and computation modeling to understand the effect of subtle structural brain damage on functional dynamics in healthy people and those with neurological disease.

CONTACT:
tgood@research.baycrest.org

MICHELE KOROSTIL
MD, FRCPC, PhD Student

Michele’s research focuses on the spatiotemporal dynamics of learning in psychotic disorders. She is currently completing a project using fMRI to explore how verbal learning unfolds in the brain during practice in persons with schizophrenia. Challenges with learning are a key aspect of the illness schizophrenia that can impede optimal functioning. A better understanding of the brain networks engaged in practice-related learning will help inform development of remediating and rehabilitative treatments for cognition in schizophrenia. Michele is additionally collaborating on projects using EEG measures to identify biomarkers in adolescents who are at high risk for developing psychosis in the hope that better early identification will help efforts to prevent conversion to full-blown psychotic episodes.

Michele is also a psychiatrist practicing medicine at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. She works with people who have complex mental illnesses including treatment-refractory psychoses and early psychotic disorders. She was honoured as CAMH’s Physician of the Year in 2013.

CONTACT:
mkorostil@research.baycrest.org

KELLY SHEN
PhD, Research Associate

The focus of my work is to understand brain network dynamics in health and disease using a combination of neuroimaging and computational approaches. I am currently working on building The Virtual Macaque Brain for TheVirtualBrain project.

CONTACT:
kshen@research.baycrest.org

 

JOELLE ZIMMERMANN
Graduate Student

My research focus is the investigation of the relationship between structure and function in the healthy, aging, and Alzheimer's brain using a combination of diffusion, fMRI, large-scale modeling using the Virtual Brain, and behaviour.

CONTACT:
jzimmermann@research.baycrest.org

ZHENG WANG
Technician

My role in the lab is to carry out the technical requirements from a computer programming stance as well as consult on best practises for non-linear dynamic modelling. My research interests include brain imaging processing, brain network modeling and machine learning.

CONTACT:
zwang@research.baycrest.org

 
 

VISITING Lab MEMBERS

 

Key COLLABORATORS

Viktor Jirsa, Aix-Marseille Université

Petra Ritter, Charité Universitat Medicine Berlin

Ana Solodkin, University of California, Irvine

Olaf Sporns, Indiana University

Gustavo Deco, University Pompeu Fabra

Michael Breakspear, Queensland Institute of Medical Research 

 

LAB ALUMNI

Anjali Raja-BeharellePost Doctoral Fellow @ University of Zurich

Marc Berman, Assistant Professor @ University of Chicago

Gleb Bezgin, Research Associate @ McGill University

Roberto Cabeza, Professor @ Duke University

Valeria Della-Maggiore, Director @ Physiology of Action Lab in Buenos Aires

Andreaa Diaconescu, Post Doctoral Fellow @University of Zurich

Zainab Fatima, Post Doctoral Fellow @ Northwestern University

Reza Habib, Associate Professor @ Southern Illinois University

Jennifer Heisz, Assistant Professor @ McMaster University

Roxanne Itier, Associate Professor @ University of Waterloo

Bratislav Misic, Principle Investigator @ Network Neuroscience Lab, MNI

Lars Nyberg, Professor @ Umea University

Jordan Poppenk, Assistant Professor @ Queen's University

Andrea Protzner, Associate Professor @ University of Calgary

Maria Natasha Raja, Associate Professor @ McGill University

Vasily VakorinNeuroInformatics and NeuroAnalytics Lead @ Simon Fraser University