Members

Members

P.I.

Jorge Riera

jrieradi@fiu.edu 

Dr. Jorge Riera obtained a B.S. in Physics at the University of Havana in 1988. During 1995-1998, he was selected “Junior Associate” of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste (Italy), where he completed the required credits for a master degree in biophysics. In 1999, he received the Ph.D. degree in Physics from the University of Havana with a dissertation entitled, “Brain Electric Tomography: the Solution of EEG/MEG Forward and Inverse Problems based on a New Approach.” Part of his Ph.D. thesis was completed at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris. Dr. Riera’s first postdoctoral term was at RIKEN Brain Science Institute (Japan), where he developed mathematical methods to study deep brain sources from single-trial magnetoencephalography (MEG). His second postdoctoral term was at Tohoku University (Japan), where he worked on the elucidation of the physiological foundations of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) data. In 2004, he was appointed associate professor in Tohoku University. Dr. Riera’s main scientific interest is to develop method for the integration of neuroimaging multimodalities based on modeling mesoscopic phenomena in the cerebral cortex. With a substantial start-up package, Dr. Riera recruited a multidisciplinary group of researchers and acquired avant-garde equipment for functional neuroimaging in small animals (e.g., 7T Bruker Pharmanscan, high-density electrophysiological systems and multiphoton microscopy). From 2006-2011, his research was extensively funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Telecommunications Advancement Organization of Japan and the Japan Science and Technology agency. In 2011, he joined Florida International University (FIU), first as Visiting Professor and later (June 2012) as Associate Professor of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. For the past ~8 years he has directed the Neuronal Mass Dynamics (NMD) lab. He has also been appointed by the Honor College, the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and the STEM Transformation Institute. Dr. Riera’s research is focused on developing strategies to integrate different modalities of brain imaging for the understanding of multicellular signaling in the neocortex. His early work has been essential to understand the mechanisms of genesis of EEG and fMRI-BOLD signals in the brain. Based first on data from humans and later from rodents, his team has developed biophysical models of cortical microcircuits and neurovascular/metabolic coupling. These models underlie US-patented methods to study multi-scale cellular dynamics using brain imaging and electrophysiological techniques. Of particular interest is the development of pre-clinical rodent models to study epilepsy, migraine and dementia by means of brain mapping. Dr. Riera has been working with the Nicklaus Children Hospital and the Miller School Medicine at UM for the translation of his animal studies into clinical practice to improve surgical outcomes in epilepsy. In his laboratory, two groundbreaking techniques have been developed in collaboration with and commercialized by industrial partners: a) an EEG mini-cap (Cortech Solution) and b) a 3D microelectrode array (Neuronexus Tech.). Dr. Riera’s work at FIU has been funded by NSF and NIH.

Jorge Riera’s CV

 


Ph.D Students

Lakshmini Balachandar

“My research delves into understanding the role of calcium signaling in astrocytes and their contribution to various neuroinflammatory disorders in the brain. The study of astrocytes can be critical in understanding the dynamics of how sustained neuroinflammation can negatively affect the astro-neuro-vascular environment.”

Lakshmini Balachandar’s CV

lbala010@fiu.edu

 

 

Carolina Moncion

“I completed my undergraduate degree here at FIU and I recently decided to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. I currently work on the modeling and parameter estimation of Neurovascular Coupling in healthy individuals using recorded electrophysiological and hemodynamic data.”

Carolina Moncion’s CV

cmonc007@fiu.edu

 

 

Beatriz Herrera

“My research focuses on understanding the cortical circuit mechanisms in medial frontal cortex that accomplish performance monitoring and executive control. Specifically, we focus our attention in the Supplementary Eye field, an agranular cortical area contributing to performance monitoring in nonhuman and human studies.”

Beatriz Herrera’s CV

bherr035@fiu.edu

 

 

Alejandro Suarez

“My research is headed toward the understanding of neurovascular and neurometabolic coupling phenomena. The interrelation between the excitability of neurons, cerebral blood flow, cerebral blood volume, cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen, oxygen extraction fraction and blood deoxy-hemoglobin content is directly reflected in BOLD hemodynamic response functions (HRFs). Modeling and interpreting BOLD signals will lead to understand brain functions in normal and pathological conditions”

Alejandro Suarez’s CV

asuar252@fiu.edu

 

Affiliate Students

Karla Montejo

I am a visiting student from the Applied Computational Neuroscience and Neuromodulation lab at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. We collaborate to examine the calcium activity of astrocytes under high frequency electric stimulation in order to model their role in neuromodulatory therapies such as deep brain stimulation.

Karla Montejo’s CV

Montejo.Karla@mayo.edu

 

 

Ritishka Kapoor

I completed my M.S. in experimental psychology (neuroscience) from Nova Southeastern University. Currently in the Neural Mass and Dynamics lab I have the opportunity to look at the role of calcium signalling in Astrocytes and its contribution towards various disorders like epilepsy.

Ritishka Kapoor’s CV

rk825@mynsu.nova.edu

 

Undergraduate Students

Diana Borrego

Diana is interested in, “optogenetics and the study of astrocytes through Optogenetic techniques. In addition, I’m interested in Cortical Spreading Depression and studying the phenomenon through electrophysiology.”

Diana Borrego’s CV

dborr013@fiu.edu

 

 

 

Jordana Borges

My research consists of finding a correlation between variations in cortisol and frequency interictal epileptiform discharges in an epileptic rat model. To conduct this experiment, I have used innovative cortisol sensors and performed different electrophysiological recordings. I hope that this data sheds light on on the possibility of using changes in cortisol as a method for seizure prediction.

Jordana Borges’ CV

jborg029@fiu.edu

 

 

Ricardo Blanco

My research aims to experimentally prove or disprove a theoretical model created by Dr. Arash Moskforoush to explain the vasodilation of penetrating arteries when deep capillaries are exposed to potassium by setting a protocol to directly measure the propagation of this hyperpolarizing state using Voltage Sensitive Dye Imaging. This has been suggested as a crucial mechanism in the process of neurovascular coupling, and if proven, it will change our current perspective on this very important process.

Ricardo Blanco’s CV

rblan085@fiu.edu

 

 

Chavier Laffitte

My research work involves computational modelling and data analysis focused on neural systems and processes.

 

Chavier Laffitte’s CV

claff004@fiu.edu

 

 

 

Melissa Perez

My research in the Neuronal Mass Dynamics Laboratory primarily focuses on optogenetics’ potential use in astrocytes’ function control. This will potentially lead to the development of groundbreaking clinical applications in treatments for epilepsy.

Melissa Perez’s CV

mpere764@fiu.edu

 

 

 

Romina Doubnia

I am a Biomedical engineering undergraduate student. Currently working on the analysis of laminar phase-amplitude coupling for cognitive control

Romina Doubnia’s CV

rdoub001@fiu.edu

 

 

 

 

 


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