NEUROSALIENCE S2 Ep3: Nikola Stikov, Physicist, Engineer, Open Scientist & Communicator
By Peter Bandettini
Episode produced by Nils Muhlert and Rachael Stickland
Peter talks to Nikola Stikov, a physicist, engineer and a strong proponent of quantitative and reproducible MRI for further clinical traction and impact. This involves promoting open science, creating shared analysis toolboxes, and fostering data and code sharing across researchers and vendors. As mature as MRI is, we are still just scratching the surface of what information it can provide. Nikola is a gifted and passionate communicator; this conversation touches on his research in using MRI to derive information about cell structure in the brain and the potential uses in understanding brain connectivity as well as pathology. Also discussed is Nikola’s many initiatives regarding open science, dissemination of results, publishing - and how outdated the PDF is, and science outreach.
Nikola Stikov, PhD. Nikola Stikov is a professor of Biomedical Engineering, a researcher at the Montreal Heart Institute, and co-director of NeuroPoly, the Neuroimaging Research Laboratory at Polytechnique Montreal. Dr. Stikov received his Ph.D. degree at Stanford University, working with John Pauly and Dwight Nishimura, then carried out his postdoctoral training with Dr. Bruce Pike at the Montreal Neurological Institute. In 2014, Dr. Stikov was elected Junior Fellow of the ISMRM.
His research spans the gamut of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging, from basic issues of standardization and accuracy, to biophysical modeling, microstructural imaging and clinical applications. His group is particularly interested in developing and validating novel biomarkers for non-invasive characterization of the brain and heart microstructure during development, disease and treatment, thus pushing the boundaries of the emerging field of in vivo histology.
Over the years, he has become active in open science and science communication, founding the MRM Highlights, OHBM Blog, and the Canadian Open Science Platform (CONP). He is also the founder of MRBalkan, a conference series associated with ISMRM that has been held on the Balkan Peninsula (Macedonia, Turkey, and Slovenia).
By Peter Bandettini
Episode produced by Anastasia Brovkin and Nils Muhlert
In this wide ranging discussion, Peter and Melanie Boly address everything related to her work on consciousness. They start with some of her early work on resting state as a modulator for detecting subtle stimuli and then get into a discussion on a working definition of consciousness and her work on understanding the neural correlates of consciousness. Melanie is a proponent of the idea that many, if not all, of the fundamental physical correlates of consciousness reside in the posterior part of the brain. Peter and Melanie also discuss Integrated Information Theory (IIT): how it helps us begin to understand consciousness. Lastly they consider her studies of sleep and how dreaming is not limited to REM sleep. This interesting discussion straddles theoretical work and practical clinical applications of brain imaging.
Melanie Boly, MD, PhD. Melanie Boly is a neurologist and neuroscientist who has worked for more than fifteen years in the field of altered states of consciousness such as vegetative state, sleep and anesthesia. She has worked with and has been mentored by such people as Stephen Laureys, Adrian Owen, Marcelo Massimini, and Karl Friston. Her research is directed at combining neuroimaging techniques such as PET, fMRI, TMS-EEG, and high-density EEG to a theoretical framework, known as the Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness, hoping to uncover the neural mechanisms associated with levels of consciousness as well as its contents in healthy subjects and neurological patients. She has over 150 publications and is Associate Editor of the journals Neuroimage, Frontiers in Consciousness Research, Frontiers in Brain Imaging Methods and Neuroscience of Consciousness. Currently, she is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin in the Neurology department, with a secondary appointment in Psychology. She received her MD in 2005 and her Ph.D. in 2009 both from the University of Liege, Belgium. From 2009-2014 she did post docs at the University of Liege, University College London, and then the University of Wisconsin, Madison. By all measures, Dr. Boly is a rising star in advancing our understanding of the neural correlates of altered states of consciousness. She also collaborates with many luminaries in consciousness research including Christof Koch and Giulio Tononi.
By Peter Bandettini and Rachael Stickland
Fresh new sounds welcome you back to season 2 of the Neurosalience podcast! In this episode Peter Bandettini talks to production lead Rachael Stickland. They summarize the types of podcasts released in Season 1, the experience of making the podcast so far, and episodes and themes coming up in Season 2. This episode production is by Nils Muhlert and Anastasia Brovkin.
Through their chat, Peter and Rachel answer the question: Who is involved in making this podcast? Peter Bandettini contacts guests, prepares for interviews, and carries out these interviews, as host of the podcast. This process is supported by a wider team of volunteers who also package the episodes for production: Anastasia Brovkin, Ekaterina Dobryakova, Katie Moran, Nils Muhlert, Kevin Sitek and Rachael Stickland. Roselyne Chauvin adapted the OHBM logo into the great podcast logo. All these people are members or contributors with the OHBM Communication Committee; there are also many other people in this committee that have supported the podcast, contributing ideas to help get it up and running and to keep it going. If you don’t know much about this committee see this recent blog post that tells you all about it in the form of a chat with past and current chairs and chair-elects. They even talk about how the idea for the podcast came about and their thoughts on it. If you have thoughts for future episodes, share them with us by emailing ohbmbrain AT gmail.com.
OHBM Oral History: Marcus Raichle
By: Nils Muhlert
Professor Marcus Raichle has played a truly pivotal role in the discovery of the physiological basis of functional neuroimaging. During the 1980s he helped to discover the relative independence of blood flow and oxygen consumption during changes in brain activity; in the 1990s he identified the ‘default mode’ of brain activity; more recently, his team carried out critical work into the infraslow activity of the brain. Marcus is currently the Alan A. & Edith L. Wolff Professor of Medicine and a Professor of Neurology, Radiology, Neurobiology and Biomedical Engineering at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri. He took time out of his busy schedule to tell us about his seminal studies on measuring blood flow and exploring the rhythms of the brain.