In the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of working under the supervision of Dr. Ayse Belger and Dr. Alana Campbell at UNC Hospital’s Neurocognition and Imaging Research Laboratory (NIRL). NIRL is interested in exploring the functional anatomy of information processing in healthy human brains, and how their associate neural networks become dysfunctional in patients with schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders. NIRL’s studies use a variety of brain-analysis technologies including fMRI and EEG recordings. The first few weeks of my internship were spent developing background knowledge on the experimental principles of EEG studies, how EEG studies compare to other brain-imaging modalities, the clinical dimensions of schizophrenia, and how all these can intersect to create experimental results of scientific and medical value. In addition to learning how to place and connect EEC caps, I’ve also attended a series of lectures exploring the experimental/technological limitations and recent advancements in EEG studies. For instance, I learned that the filtration of extraneous electrical noise during EEG readings excludes electrical brain waves associated with Gamma activity, and that algorithms are currently being developed to filter external noise without losing valuable brain activity readings. By assisting with NIRL’s current primary study, I am hoping to improve my understanding of various neuropsychiatric disorders, EEG technology, and statistical analysis. My supervisor has also proposed the possibility of me developing my own project based on the knowledge I acquire over the coming weeks.
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