Dora Hermes, Ph.D., studies the signals measured in the living human brain in order to identify biomarkers of neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases and develop neuroprosthetics to interface with the brain.
There are many different ways to measure the function of the living human brain, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and field potential recordings. Dr. Hermes uses a human systems neuroscience approach, including multimodal imaging and computational modeling, to advance fundamental understanding of the signals that can be measured in the human brain. Electrical stimulation and brain-machine interfaces are used to influence neuronal population activity and understand whether it is possible to restore typical brain function in neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases.
Dr. Hermes collaborates with neurologists and neurosurgeons to understand the extent to which smart sensing (predicting and stimulating brain activity) can result in new therapeutic devices that control epileptic brain activity.
- Multimodal imaging. Dr. Hermes and colleagues in her lab integrate MRI measurements with intracranial field potential recordings. Models and simulations of neuronal population activity are used to predict these mesoscale signals and understand how each informs about human brain function.
- Network dynamics and electrical stimulation. Brain functions depend on large networks of concerted activity. Dr. Hermes and colleagues use electrical stimulation to test how one small brain region can affect an entire network. Understanding how electrical stimulation affects the human connectome is essential for the development of therapeutic neuromodulation technologies such as neurocybernetics.
- Neural oscillations. Human brain activity fluctuates at many different timescales, sometimes showing oscillations at well-defined frequencies. Dr. Hermes and colleagues study the relationship between visual and electrical input and neural oscillations.
- Reproducible research. Dr. Hermes and her colleagues make an effort to share code and data to ensure reproducible research.
Significance to patient care
Recent developments in therapeutic neuromodulation technologies provide promising new treatments for neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases. For example, epilepsy diagnosis and therapy represent major health care issues. In spite of improved medical therapies for control of epileptic seizures, a significant proportion of patients remain refractory.