My Brain: Freesurfer, T1 MRI, DTI V1 and a slow wave

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Narrative

The overarching themes of my research career are the mechanisms and functions of brain rhythms, both during wakefulness and sleep. I obtained my M.Sc. in Cognitive Neuroscience cum laude with an internship on semantic ambiguity with MEG recordings with Dr. Snijders and Prof. Hagoort. I then received my Ph.D. degree at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, under the supervision of Prof. Van Someren and Dr. Van Der Werf, on the topic of connectivity and sleep using a variety of techniques, such as EEG, MEG and DTI, resulting in multiple first-author and co-author publications. This effort allowed me to uncover novel brain mechanisms underlying structural and functional connectivity involved in all aspects of sleep research, such as memory consolidation and the effects of sleep deprivation.

I then received a two-year personal grant from the BIAL Foundation for a post-doc with Dr. Cash at Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School, where I worked on sleep rhythms using intracranial recordings in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. Based on ECoG recordings, I showed that most sleep spindles are limited to a very restricted cortical area, based on a theoretical hypothesis we developed. An exciting finding is the first description, in human intracranial recordings, of ultra-slow fluctuations in the range of hours, which are present both during wakefulness and sleep, and their effects on behavior.

I am currently working at the UMC Utrecht, with Prof. Ramsey and Dr. Petridou, on the link between brain activity measured with high-density ECoG grids in patients with epilepsy and the fMRI signal, in motor and visual tasks.

Throughout the years, I have obtained multiple travel awards, authored several oral and poster presentations at national and international conferences, and been trusted with responsabilities, such as Ph.D. representative and reviewer for several journals, such as Neuroimage, Human Brain Mapping and Sleep.

During my Ph.D., I was strongly involved in the supervision of multiple M.Sc. students, especially in teaching them the use of Matlab and its toolboxes for the analysis of EEG/MEG and fMRI recordings. During my post-docs, I assisted research assistants and graduate students in the acquisition and analysis of intracranial recordings. I have been invited as guest lecturer to M.Sc. students at the Radboud University twice: one on the use of ECoG in research and another on sleep scoring and sleep oscillations.

On the technical side, I have gained extensive expertise in the acquisition and analysis of electrophysiological signals, such as EEG, MEG, and ECoG, and neuroimaging tools, such as DTI and fMRI. For these recordings, I have developed and applied advanced analytical and statistical techniques, such as the use of mixed-effects models in EEG/MEG and ECoG and a variety of source-reconstruction approaches. I have contributed code to FieldTrip, the toolbox for the analysis of EEG/MEG signals developed at the Donders Institute, and developed a Python toolbox for the assessment of sleep rhythms, especially in ECoG.