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 and changes in the hemodynamic response functions (HRFs) of brain microvaculature is key to functional brain imaging. Modeling and interpreting HRFs will lead to the understanding 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

 

 

 

Undergraduate Students

Eleane Castano

I am a recent graduate from FIU with a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences and a pre-medical track. My time in the Neuronal Mass Dynamics lab has allowed me to expand my skills on genotyping and working with animals in a laboratory setting. Moreover, it has provided me the opportunity to think critically and contribute my skills to future medical and scientific breakthroughs. I plan on becoming a doctor one day and using the experience I have gained in this lab to facilitate my own contributions to research as a physician.

ecast184@fiu.edu

 

 

Lazaro Fernandez

My research mainly focuses on exploring potential astrocytic regulation of cerebral blood flow. Neurons have already been shown through BOLD imaging to affect cerebral blood flow, and some techniques can make it difficult to explore the role of other cells because it may also inadvertently incite neuronal responses. Through the use of optogenetic fluorescence, astrocytes can be specifically targeted and studied for our purposes. This work can help shed light on a possible role that neuroglia may play in the hemodynamic response to meet metabolic demands in the brain

lfern278@fiu.edu

 

Nelson Abarca

I am a biomedical medical engineering student where my passions lie in the field of neurodegenerative diseases. My research includes the physiological modeling of astrocytic function under cellular injection of electrical current and the study of calcium imaging techniques.

 

Nelson Abarca’s CV

nabar004@fiu.edu

 

Antonio Rosales

I am currently an undergraduate biomedical student of FIU. The research I am interested Is the continuation of the experimental validation of potassium-initiated hyperpolarizing wave in endothelial cells and their roles in brain microvascular control by Dr. Arash Moskforoush and undergraduate Ricardo Blanco.

arosa140@fiu.edu

 

 

 

Alejandra Hernandez

I am a student from Miami Dade College. I’m pursuing an Associate in Arts degree which allows me to transfer to a four-years Bachelor in Biology program at FIU. My volunteer hours at the Neuronal Mass Dynamics Laboratory will consist in learning PCR and genotyping techniques

hernaale@fiu.edu

 

 

 

 


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