Research Projects


Smoke Free Brain

Smoking is the largest avoidable cause of preventable morbidity worldwide. It causes most of the cases of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and contributes to the development of other lung diseases.

SmokeFreeBrain aims to address the effectiveness of a multi-level variety of interventions aiming at smoking cessation in high risk target groups within High Middle Income Countries (HMIC) such as unemployed young adults, COPD and asthma patients, as well as within the general population in Low Middle Income Countries (LMIC). The project addresses existing approaches aiming to prevent lung diseases caused by tobacco while at the same time it develops new treatments and analyzes their contextual adaptability to the local and global health care system.

SmokeFreeBrain follows an interdisciplinary approach exploiting consortium’s expertise in various relevant fields in order to generate new knowledge. State of the art techniques in toxicology, pulmonary medicine, neuroscience and behavior will be utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of:

The project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 681120.For more information please visit the main website of the project at www.smokefreebrain.eu.

ARMOR project

Advanced multi-paRametric Monitoring and analysis for diagnosis and Optimal management of epilepsy and Related brain disorders

Epilepsy is the commonest serious brain disorder, affecting up to 1% of the population worldwide.  The ARMOR project will combine clinical and basic neuroscience research with advanced data analysis, medical management tools and telecommunication to develop novel applications for the management of epilepsy. The main output of the project will be an ambulatory, non-intrusive personal health system (PHS) to address the needs of people with epilepsy and healthcare professionals by providing accurate diagnosis, monitoring and analysis.

The project is funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme (grant agreement no 287720).

For more information please visit the main website of the project at www.armor-project.eu, or follow it on LinkedIn or Twitter (@ARMORproject).

DEFT project

Dynamic Electric Field Tomography (DEFT) and its applications

Electroencephalography (EEG) and Magnetoencephalography (MEG) are the only non-
invasive techniques used to measure ongoing  human  brain activity with millisecond time
resolution. Our pilot studies have shown that MEG and EEG contain similar information, but
no  EEG technique to date  can yield  as precise  images  as the method  of Magnetic  Field
Tomography (MFT) with MEG signals. The current study aims to develop algorithms for EEG
signal analysis,  initially based on MFT, and to apply them to important and difficult clinical
applications.

The project is co-funded by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation, the European Regional Structural fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Social Structural Fund of the E.U. (ΕΠΙΧΕΙΡΗΣΕΙΣ/ΠΡΟΪΟΝ/0311/42).

For project information please download from here:  in English or Greek.


Additionally, LHBD has a number of active research projects that are exploring wide range of issues associated around the following themes:

Precise dynamics of early visual cortical activations

Exploring the localization (with few millimeter accuracy) and timing (with sub-millisecond resolution) of neural activations, and the inter-brain-area information flow (functional / anatomical connectivity) during the earliest stages (within 250 ms following the visual stimulus presentation) of visual information processing in the brain.

This is one of the largest research themes of LHBD. Most of the current and past projects can be associated with it. There are data from over 15 MEG experiments and many more publications that relate to this theme. In most experiments stimuli were presented in different quadrants of visual field.

Key findings ... 

Some of the relevant publications

A. A. Ioannides et al., Neuroimage 63, 1464-1477 (2012). PDF >>

V. Poghosyan, A. A. Ioannides, Neuroimage 35, 759-770 (2007). PDF >>

A. Tzelepi et al., Neuroimage 13, 702-718 (2001). PDF >>

M. Maruyama et al., Human Brain Mapping 30, 147-162 (2009). PDF >>

V. Poghosyan, A. A. Ioannides, Neuron 58, 802-813 (2008).  PDF >>

Attentional mechanisms of the brain     

Revealing the neural correlates of attention and other related brain functions.

The projects associated with this theme study different types of attention (e.g. spatial and non-spatial; category-specific; selective and non-selective) in different sensory modalities (auditory and visual), with the emphasis on visual attention. The interaction of brain's attentional processes with other cognitive (e.g. memory) and non-cognitive (e.g. general arousal) brain functions is also probed in several projects. The projects associated with this theme mostly rely on data from five MEG experiments.

Key findings ...

Key publications

A. A. Ioannides, V. Poghosyan, Neuroimage 60, 1638-1651 (2012). PDF >>

V. Poghosyan, A. A. Ioannides, Neuron 58, 802-813 (2008).  PDF >>

Y. Okazaki et al., Neuroscience 152, 1130-1144 (2008). PDF >>

V. Poghosyan et al., European Journal of Neuroscience 22, 225-234 (2005). PDF >>

Notes

Two of the projects associated with this theme have been partially supported by the Cyprus RPF grants, "Upgrade of computing resources for storage and processing of Neuroimaging data.'' and ''A Multidisciplinary Approach for Investigating Selective Attention.''

Emotional / neutral face processing in the brain

Imaging the dynamical distributed neural networks involved in perception of faces and facial expressions.

Among other projects this theme includes studies that probe how the location of stimulus in the visual field affects the processing of facial expressions in the brain, and emotional face processing in schizophrenia. There are six currently active and semi-active projects associated with this theme, which involve data from five MEG and psychophysical experiments.

Key findings ...

Some of the relevant publications

L. C. Liu, A. A. Ioannides, PLoS One 5, e9790 (2010). PDF >>

L. C. Liu, A. A. Ioannides, Neuroimage 31, 1726-1740 (2006). PDF >>

Y. Okazaki et al., Neuroscience 152, 1130-1144 (2008). PDF >>

A. A. Ioannides et al., Neuroimage 23, 473-482 (2004). PDF >>

Notes

One of the projects associated with this theme has been partially supported by the Cyprus RPF grant, "Upgrade of computing resources for storage and processing of Neuroimaging data."

Gender effects in the brain

Examining the differences in brain activity between males and females during various tasks.

There are two currently active projects associated with this theme. The first studies the differences in male and female brain responses during the perception of emotional and neutral faces and is based on MEG experiments of face and hand recognition (see Okazaki et al., 2009). While the second involves MEG and EEG studies (including skin conductance responses) of emotional stimuli perception across different arousal and valence levels (see Lithari et al., 2010).

There is also an additional currently inactive project, which probed the dependence of interhemispheric asymmetry in echoic memory lifetime on handedness and gender (see Ioannides et al., 2003). As part of the effort at LHBD to understand the gender-dependent differences in brain responses, this project may soon become active.

Relevant publications

Y. Okazaki et al., Brain Topogr. 23, 14-26 (2010). PDF >>

C. Lithari et al., Brain Topogr. 23, 27-40 (2010). PDF >>

A. A. Ioannides et al., Neuroimage. 19, 1061-1075 (2003). PDF >>

Visual perception and recognition

Investigating the neural correlates of various perceptual functions and recognition.

The projects associated with this theme include studies of illusory figure (Kaniza) perception, completion  of occluded figures, perception and recognition of aesthetic images (e.g. Greek pottery), perceptual grouping, perception and recognition of letters and similar (non-letter) shapes, face affect recognition and contrast dependent motion processing. Each one of the above mentioned studies is based on MEG data from one or more specifically designed experiments.

Key findings ... 

Some of the relevant publications

A. Abu Bakar et al., Hum. Brain Mapp. 29, 1313-1326 (2008). PDF >>

G. Plomp et al., Hum. Brain Mapp. 31, 1-13 (2010). PDF >>

G. Plomp et al., J. Cogn Neurosci. 18, 1394-1405 (2006). PDF >>

Sensory-motor transformation

Tracing the brain activity from sensory information perception to decision making to motor response.

Most of the projects can be associated with this theme, since practically all include sensory stimuli and some kind of motor response. However, there are two projects that specifically address this issue. The first uses a "GO / NOGO" paradigm (see Poghosyan et al., 2005) with visual stimuli and finger or foot movement response. This project involves several MEG experiments, including with paralyzed patients. The second project is based on "Eye movement" experiments (see Ioannides et al., 2005). 

Although several important findings from these projects have been published, but the core issue of tracing the information flow from early sensory areas to motor cortex and then to brainstem and muscles has not been fully addressed yet. The intensive work on these projects is ongoing.

Related publications

V. Poghosyan et al., European Journal of Neuroscience 22, 225-234 (2005). PDF >>

T. Shibata, A. A. Ioannides, Brain Res. 897, 164-168 (2001). PDF >>

A. A. Ioannides et al., Journal of Neuroscience 25, 7950-7967 (2005). PDF >>

Sleep

Exploring the brain activity during whole night sleep.

The projects associated with this theme explore all aspects of sleep. Currently the most active projects are the studies of eye movements during REM and in awake state, and the study of relationship between sleep spindles and K-complexes.

The base of this theme is an MEG experiment conducted in LHBD at RIKEN BSI. Whole night MEG measurements were recorded with precise head localization and complete hypnogram definition, while subjects slept well in the magnetometer. First the sleep habits of candidate subjects were assessed by questionnaires and interviews. Six subjects with regular sleep habits were selected. All six subjects slept for two consecutive nights in the laboratory. During the first night (adaptation) the subject slept in the preparation room on a replica of the MEG bed and helmet. The actual polysomnography and MEG recordings were obtained throughout the second night. Four subjects slept in the magnetometer the third night too, during which they were presented with auditory and somatosensory stimuli while asleep.

Key findings ... 

Key publications

A. A. Ioannides et al., Cereb. Cortex 14, 56-72 (2004). PDF >>

A. A. Ioannides et al., Neuroimage. 44, 455-468 (2009). PDF >>

Eye movements

Identifying the dynamic neural networks involved in planning, execution and control of eye movements in both awake state and sleep. In terms of the eye movements in sleep this theme is closely related to the Sleep theme, while projects concerned with the eye movements in awake state relate also to the Sensory-motor transformation theme.

There are several currently active project associated with this theme that involve investigation of brain mechanisms (using data from three MEG experiments) for saccadic as well as pursuit eye movements. There is a new project, which is now in the planning stage that will examine the links between eye movements and various psychopathologies.

Key findings ...

Key publications

A. A. Ioannides et al., Cereb. Cortex 14, 56-72 (2004). PDF >>

A. A. Ioannides et al., Journal of Neuroscience 25, 7950-7967 (2005). PDF >>

Notes

One of the projects associated with this theme is partially supported by the Cyprus RPF grant, "Neural network Electrographic activity for Saccades and Tracking during Eye Movements (NESTEM)."

Somatosensation

Studying the precise localization (within confined cytoarchitectonic areas) and timing (with sub-millisecond resolution) of brain responses, and the inter-brain-area functional and anatomical connectivity following somatosensory stimulation.

There are large number of current and past projects associated with this theme. The most notable ones include accurate localization of the first response in the primary somatosensory cortex within the correct cytoarchitectonic area (e.g. areas 3a, 3b and etc.), investigation of high frequency oscillations (HFO) in the somatosensory cortex, tracing the sequence of brain responses following subthreshold, weak and strong electrical stimulations of median nerve, studying the brain activity in paralyzed and blind patients following somatosensory stimulations, and identifying plasticity (rapid changes) in the somatosensory system. All of the above projects rely on data from five MEG experiments, and for few of them EEG data is also available.

Key findings ...

Key publications

C. Papadelis et al., Neuroimage 54, 60-73 (2011).  PDF >>

L. C. Liu et al., Neuroscience 121, 141-154 (2003). PDF >>

A. A. Ioannides et al., Neuroimage. 16, 115-129 (2002). PDF >>

A. A. Ioannides et al., Hum. Brain Mapp. 15, 231-246 (2002). PDF >>

Music

Studying how the brain reacts to authentic music.

There is one semi-active project associated with this theme. As part of this project an MEG and a behavioral experiments were conducted. In the MEG experiment, brain magnetic signals were recorded while subjects listened to music as it unfolded over long periods of time. In the behavioral experiment the music score was used as a recognition target.

Key findings ... 

Key publication

M. Popescu et al., Neuroimage. 21, 1622-1638 (2004). PDF >>

Pathologies

Understanding the pathological brain function and developing methods / tools for diagnoses, prediction and improving the quality of life of patients with various pathologies. 

The currently active projects associated with this theme include somatosensory and visual "GO / NOGO" studies in paralyzed patients, somatosensory and "visual" studies in blind patients, face affect and object recognition in schizophrenia, picture naming in aphasic patients, brain activity in epilepsy patients and blindsight. All these projects use data from MEG and in some cases also EEG experiments. Additional semi-active projects study Parkinson's and Alzheimer diseases.

Key findings ...

Some of the relevant publications

A. A. Ioannides et al., Neuroimage 16, 115-129 (2002). PDF >>

A. A. Ioannides et al., Neuroimage 23, 473-482 (2004). PDF >>

Development of research tools

Developing and continuously improving the sophisticated tools used to measure, process, analye and interpret the neuroimaging data. This is the central theme at LHBD, since all the projects rely on the innovative methods developed in-house over many years. For the general overview of the research tools used at LHBD please see here

Among the projects associated with this theme the current emphasize is on improving several aspects of the MFT implementation (magnetic field tomography, the source analysis methods primarily used at LHBD), adapting MFT for use in EEG, development/improvement/adaptation of methods for identifying inter-brain-area functional connectivity and of pattern analysis techniques used in single trial data analysis for signal decomposition, single trial classification and inter-condition comparisons.

A new project started recently at LHBD is aimed at developing a methodology that will allow extraction of biomarkers from few channel EEG data.

We are currently seeking funding for a project that will allow development of a comprehensive software package for EEG/MEG signal processing and data analysis, based on the state-of-the-art methods developed/adapted at LHBD. As part of the project the software developed at LHBD, including MFT, will be made freely available and a user-level support for the various methods will be provided. The provision of the support is essential, since the proper adjustment of complex free parameters present in most LHBD methods, including MFT, requires many years of experience with the methodology. 

Some of the relevant publications

Inverse problem

A. A. Ioannides et al., Inverse Problem 6, 523-542 (1990)

J. G. Taylor et al., IEEE Trans. Med. Imaging 18, 151-163 (1999). PDF >>

Exploratory single trial data analysis

N. A. Laskaris et al., Neuroimage. 20, 765-783 (2003). PDF >>

N. A. Laskaris, A. A. Ioannides, Clin. Neurophysiol. 113, 1209-1226 (2002). PDF >>

N. A. Laskaris, A. A. Ioannides, Clin. Neurophysiol. 112, 698-712 (2001). PDF >>

Circular statistics

A. A. Ioannides et al., Journal of Neuroscience 25, 7950-7967 (2005). PDF >>

MEG-MRI co-registration

N. Hironaga, A. A. Ioannides, in Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Biomagnetism, H. Nowak, J. Haueisen, F. Giessler, R. Huonker, Eds. (VDE Verlag, Berlin, 2002).

LIANA - Localization of Individual Area Neuronal Activation - Regional timecourses from ICA

N. Hironaga, A. A. Ioannides, Neuroimage. 34, 1519-1534 (2007). PDF >>

Brain regional connectivity

A. A. Ioannides ey al., Comp. and Math. Meth. in Med. 2012, Article ID 452503 (2012). PDF >>

A. A. Ioannides et al., Hum. Brain Mapp. 11, 77-92 (2000). PDF >>

J. Kwapien et al., Physical Review e 58, 6359-6367 (1998). PDF >>

J. Kwapien et al., Phys. Rev. E. Stat. Phys. Plasmas. Fluids Relat Interdiscip. Topics. 62, 5557-5564 (2000). PDF >>

Temporal constrained sparse source extraction

A. Koutras et al., IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng 55, 957-969 (2008). PDF >>