2021 Conference

2021 Conference

We are pleased to confirm that the Brainbox Initiative Conference for non-invasive brain stimulation and imaging techniques will be proudly returning as an online event for 2021. Join us from September 21-24, 2021 for four days filled with talks, discussions, live demonstrations, and poster presentations from international early and mid-career researchers and field-defining keynote speakers alike. Each day of the Brainbox Initiative Conference 2021 will take on a different focus, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial electrical stimulation (tES), neuroimaging (fMRI, fNIRS, EEG), and groundbreaking transcranial focused ultrasound (TUS/tFUS) studies. We are currently working closely with the Brainbox Initiative Scientific Committee to put together our full 2021 programme and will be publishing this shortly.

Since the first Brainbox Initiative Conference in 2017, we have remained firmly committed to creating exciting programmes filled with only the most rigorous, ambitious research being carried out in non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS). Our event is unique in encouraging the presentation of groundbreaking research from neuroscientists at all stage of their careers— from the graduate students and postdoctoral researchers just starting their careers in academia, to those researchers whose decades of pioneering work have helped to create and define the field today.

Through our ongoing commitment to bringing together such a wide range of international speakers and experiences, our non-invasive brain stimulation conference aims to provide one of the most supportive environments for early-career neuroscientists, and keeps a strong focus on stimulating exciting new avenues for networking, discovery, and collaboration in the field.

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Our speakers

Professor Gregor Thut

Professor Gregor Thut

University of Glasgow

Gregor Thut, PhD, is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow, and Director of its Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi). His research interfaces human electrophysiology and non-invasive transcranial brain stimulation, with an emphasis on how dynamic network activity in the human brain, inferred from brain oscillations, relate to perception, attention and cognition. His goal is to develop the existing non-invasive stimulation techniques into more powerful neuroscience tools and clinically effective protocols, to manipulate and better understand the brain-behaviour relationship and the neural processes driving it.

Dr Kim Butts Pauly

Dr Kim Butts Pauly

Stanford University

Kim Butts Pauly's lab studies novel therapies of focused ultrasound, a versatile technology with many applications, including treating neurological diseases and cancer. The lab uses image guidance to better plan, monitor, and evaluate treatment efficacy as well as to understand basic science mechanisms. By leveraging their own lab's scientific and engineering expertise and working in collaboration with other labs, their goal is to improve these focused ultrasound therapies as they become more commonly used in the clinic.

Professor Dr Alexander Sack

Professor Dr Alexander Sack

Maastricht University

The State is the Art: Using simultaneous TMS-EEG-fMRI to assess oscillatory brain state-dependent gating of cortico-subcortical network activity

Combining neuroimaging with brain stimulation can visualise stimulation-induced network effects in the brain. However, concurrent TMS-fMRI studies, e.g., cannot capture the fast temporal dynamics of ongoing neural communication within and between such interconnected networks. Even during rest, there is continuous coupling and uncoupling of functional networks, resulting in ongoing fluctuations in brain states. It is therefore crucial to interpret TMS-induced network activations in a temporal context. Measuring this temporal context usingEEG in addition to fMRI during TMS may allow to better understand how oscillations and brain-wide network dynamics interrelate. In my talk, I will present a concrete set up and first empirical data showcasing the unique potential of human simultaneous TMS-EEG-fMRI applications to reveal brain-wide dynamics and network communication mechanisms. Simultaneous human TMS-EEG-fMRI will enable future evidence-based individualized applications of TMS at predefined oscillatory brain states that either will or will not lead to specific network brain activations by either facilitating or shunting signal propagation from the cortical TMS stimulation site. Our data demonstrate that this feature can be exploited at the single-subject level and may be particularly relevant in clinical contexts where patient-tailored approaches will be required that go beyond average group statistics.

Professor Rich Ivry

Professor Rich Ivry

Berkeley, University of California

Professor Rich Ivry's CognAc lab explores various aspects of human performance with a focus on how people select, plan, and produce movement. The lab use a variety of methods, including behavioral studies in healthy and neurologically impaired populations, TMS, fMRI, EEG, ECoG, and computational modeling.  

Their current work on skill acquisition focuses on the interaction of explicit and implicit learning mechanisms. In particular, moving in a novel environment (e.g., playing frisbee on a windy day) the motor system is automatically recalibrated, a process that occurs in an incremental manner.  "We can, though, use strategies to speed up the learning process.  We are interested in how these different methods of learning interact. This work builds on the literature examining the relatioship of the cerebellum, parietal lobe, and prefrontal cortex in motor learning."

"A second major theme of our work seeks to understand how subcortical structures support cognition.  In particular, we are interested in how the cerebellum supports cognition.   Anatomical, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging evidence has shown that the functional domain of the cerebellum is not limited to sensorimotor control and learning, but includes many aspects of higher-level cognition such as attention, language, and even social cognition.  We use fMRI and behavioral methods to test functional hypotheses, with a focus on whether the cerebellum implements similar computational principles across these different task domains."

Dr Roisin McMackin

Dr Roisin McMackin

Trinity College Dublin

In 2020, Roisin McMackin was awarded the Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge Award for her fantastic proposed study investigating motor and cognitive cortical network dysfunction-based biomarkers of neurodegenerative diseases - a study that she is planning to start work on in mid-2021 using a range of DuoMAG TMS equipment and the Brainsight TMS Navigation system provided by Brainbox.

Shanice Janssens

Shanice Janssens

Maastricht University

After obtaining my Bachelor of Science in Psychology (summa cum laude) in 2015, I graduated from the Research Master in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience (cum laude) in 2017. I then became a PhD candidate at Maastricht University within the Brain Stimulation and Cognition group, supervised by Dr. Tom de Graaf and Prof. Dr. Alexander Sack. My PhD trajectory is funded by a Research Talent grant from the Dutch organization for scientific research (NWO), entitled “In control of attention: teasing apart the brain’s top-down mechanisms of attention allocation”. I investigate the neuronal mechanisms underlying endogenous visuospatial attention, with special interest in the role of alpha oscillations (e.g., current brain state in terms of alpha power or phase, and individual alpha frequency). In the projects that I worked on during the past years, I made use of various (combinations of) neuroscientific methods including tACS, eyetracking, and simultaneous TMS-EEG-fMRI.

Dr David Pitcher

Dr David Pitcher

University of York

David Pitcher, PhD is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of York.  I investigate the cortical mechanisms that underlie face perception and object recognition in the human brain. I do this using a combination of TMS, neuroimaging and by testing neuropsychological patients. The current focus of my research is to demonstrate the existence of specialized cortical pathway for social perception on the lateral brain surface

Umair Hassan

Umair Hassan

TOBergmannLab, LIR Mainz

I graduated as a Biomedical Engineer (MSc) and Mechanical Engineer (BSc) from one of the most prestigious university of Pakistan (NUST). I later worked at the same institute as Junior Lecturer (Lab Engineer) and then managed Ed-tech Entrepreneurship program in the first global accelerator of Pakistan. Previously, I have worked on design, development and control of medical robots, mobile, aerial and humanoid robots. This experience equipped me with the skills of real-time signal processing (BCI, Neurofeedback), advanced programming (C, C++, MATLAB, Python), rapid prototyping (3D printing, FDM), modelling (CAD ,CAM) and simulation (FEM, CFD). Meanwhile, I also gained careful measurement and analytical skills, good attention to detail, a good eye for design, the creative and technical ability to turn designs into products and importantly communication and teamworking skills. Currently, as a doctoral candidate, at the Dr. Til Ole Bergmann’s Neurostimulation research group, I am investigating function of neuronal oscillations of human brain during awake and sleep conditions. My research also focuses on spindles in NREM sleep and theta waves in REM sleep to investigate memory consolidation by applying simultaneous real-time EEG triggered TMS.

Dr Mirja Steinbrenner

Dr Mirja Steinbrenner

King's College London

Mirja Steinbrenner, MD, of King’s College London, was awarded the 2018 Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge award. Mirja’s winning submission to the Research Challenge uses transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) techniques to explore the ‘Reduction of cerebral excitation through combination of GSR biofeedback and tDCS’, and was chosen by the Brainbox Initiative’s Scientific Committee as one of 2018's two successful winners, alongside Dr Kathy Ruddy.

Dr Helen Nuttall

Dr Helen Nuttall

Lancaster University

Dr Helen Nuttall of Lancaster University is currently working on establishing how motor brain areas work in concert with auditory regions to assist speech perception under challenging listening conditions. She studies this question using several research methods: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which she combines with behaviour and neurophysiology, as well as electroencephalography (EEG). Helen is currently working on combining TMS with EEG to study temporal integration during auditory-motor connectivity when listening to speech in noisy environments.

Dr Helen Nuttall was the winner of the very first Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge in 2016, and will be chairing the Brainbox Initiative Conference 2020.

Dr Paul Taylor

Dr Paul Taylor

LMU Munich

Dr Paul Taylor is a cognitive neuroscientist at the psychology department of LMU Munich, Germany. He has previously held positions in both the LMU medical faculty and the LMU philosophy faculty. These ongoing collaborations across Psychology, Neurology and Philosophy reflect the inherently interdisciplinary approach of cognitive neuroscience.

Paul is a member of the Brainbox Initiative Scientific Committee and will be chairing the Brainbox Initiative Conference 2021's TMS session.

Professor Charlotte Stagg

Professor Charlotte Stagg

University of Oxford

Professor Charlotte Stagg heads the Physiological Neuroimaging Group.

Professor Stagg’s primary research interest is in understanding how the brain adapts to new challenges, focusing in particular in the physiological processes underlying the learning of new motor skills and in the recovery of motor function after stroke.  To do this, she combines transcranial stimulation techniques with advanced neuroimaging approaches, especially Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS).

Professor Charlotte Stagg is a member of the Brainbox Initiative Scientific Committee and will be chairing the TUS session at the Brainbox Initiative Conference 2021.

Dr Ines Violante

Dr Ines Violante

University of Surrey

Dr Ines Violante is a neuroscientist at the school of psychology, University of Surrey, UK, where she leads the NeuroModulation Lab. Dr Violante is interested in developing and applying tools capable of influencing brain function non-invasively to understand and modulate brain networks to impact behaviour. The lab uses a multidisciplinary approach ranging from computational models, imaging (fMRI, EEG), sensory and electrical stimulation.

Ines is a member of the Brainbox Initiative's Scientific Committee and will be chairing the 2021 Neuroimaging session.

Submit a poster

Each year, the Brainbox Initiative Conference offers early-career researchers the opportunity not only to share their research posters at the conference, but also to supplement this display with a supporting three-minute, on-stage pitch to the full conference cohort. These pitches help researchers to ensure that they are reaching as wide an audience as possible at the event, as well as providing crucial first-hand experience of speaking on-stage at an internationally-attended event.

We encourage any researchers who would like to present their work at the Brainbox Initiative Conference 2021 to submit an abstract. Call for entries is open now, and we will be accepting submissions until September 1, 2021.

Submit a poster

FAQs

What is the Brainbox Initiative Conference?

The Brainbox Initiative Conference is an annual meeting (taking place online for 2021) that puts the work being carried out by early and mid-career researchers at the forefront. The conference has a focus on TMS, tES, TUS/tFUS and neuroimaging techniques.

Can I speak at the Brainbox Initiative Conference?

Our call for speakers for the 2021 Brainbox Initiative Conference has now closed and we will shortly be contacting our successful applicants.

Can I present a poster at the Brainbox Initiative Conference?

Call for posters for the Brainbox Initiative Conference 2021 is currently open until September 1, 2021. Please use the form located further up this page to submit your abstract and our Scientific Committee will review your submission.

I would like to attend but I can’t make the timings: will the event be available online afterwards?

While we would like to make the conference available for as many people as possible, we only intend – at the moment – for the Brainbox Initiative Conference to be viewed live. Our YouTube channel, however, is regularly updated with recorded webinars.

How will I attend the conference?

The conference will be taking place online, and all attendees will be sent a direct link to enter the virtual room ahead of the event.

Will I be able to ask questions during the conference?

Yes, there will be the option to ask questions in a Q&A chat throughout the event. For questions about poster presentations, dedicated forum threads will be available for delegates to interact with all of our presenters.

Where can I view the programme for the conference?

We’re in the final stages of confirming speakers for the conference, at which point we’ll share the finished conference programme. With regards to timings, the conference will run between 13:00-17:00 BST from September 21-24.

How much is the registration fee?

We want to make sure that the Brainbox Initiative Conference is easily accessible for everyone. As the event is taking place virtually this year we are able to offer registrations at the substantially reduced cost of £30.