Science of Learning Institute supports project led by Sridevi Sarma

Sridevi Sarma, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and associate director of the Institute for Computational Medicine, is the principal investigator on one of six projects to receive a two-year seed grant from The Science of Learning Institute at the Johns Hopkins University. The project titled, “How can we characterize individual differences in learning behaviors as a function of motivation?” is an interdisciplinary study that addresses interactions among motivation, attention, learning, working memory, and cognitive control. The study, which is a collaboration with Susan Courtney, a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Science, could positively impact educational practices by improving classroom instruction through computer-based learning. Read the full project proposal here.

The Science of Learning Institute was founded in 2013 to support interdisciplinary research that seeks to understand the ability to learn. Sarma’s research project is a recipient of the fifth round of seed grants from the institute. Read the full story in The Hub.

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Sri Sarma receives Robert B. Pond, Sr. Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Sridevi Sarma, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 Robert B. Pond, Sr. Excellence in Teaching Award for outstanding undergraduate teaching. The award recognizes “commitment to and excellence in instruction in the Whiting School of Engineering, success in instilling the desire to learn, and dedication to undergraduate students.” In testimonials supporting Sri’s nomination, students repeatedly described Sri as enthusiastic, approachable, and highly knowledgeable. They lauded her for her ability to elucidate complex topics, such as the Controls section of Systems and Controls, a course she co-teaches with fellow ICM core faculty members Michael Miller and René Vidal.

The award was presented to Sri at the annual Whiting School of Engineering Convocation Awards Ceremony on Monday, May 4.

Congratulations, Sri, on this well-deserved achievement!

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Clinical Neurophysiology features Sarma lab research on cover

Research from the lab of Dr. Sridevi Sarma, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and ICM core faculty member, was featured in the February 2015 issue of Clinical Neurophysiology. The paper, entitled “Physiology of functional and effective networks in epilepsy” reviews notions of functional and effective connectivity as applied to the study of seizures in epilepsy. Functional and effective connectivity are notions that come from network science and have been widely applied to fMRI data. Also reviewed are applications to invasive EEG recordings obtained from epilepsy patients undergoing invasive monitoring.

To view the entire article, click here.

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Sri Sarma named inaugural recipient of the Krishna Kumar Award

The North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) awarded Dr. Sridevi Sarma, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and ICM core faculty member the first Krishna Kumar Award at their Dec 12, 2014 annual meeting held in Las Vegas. Dr. Sarma set the bar high for subsequent recipients by addressing the 2000 or so attendees with a talk that managed to make complicated modeling approachable and significant for everyone in the audience. The North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) is dedicated to promoting multidisciplinary collaboration among clinicians, scientists, engineers, and others to advance neuromodulation through education, research, innovation and advocacy.

Congratulations Sri!

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Robert Yaffe awarded a Pre-Doctoral Research Training Fellowship by the Epilepsy Foundation

Robert Yaffe, a predoctoral student and member of the Sarma lab, has been awarded a Pre-Doctoral Research Training Fellowship by the Epilepsy Foundation. The Fellowship supports predoctoral students with dissertation research related to epilepsy, thus strengthening their interest in establishing epilepsy research as a career direction. The title for Robert’s proposed project is “Development of a Tool for Seizure Foci Localization”.

For patients with epilepsy that do not respond to pharmaceutical treatments, the last resort treatment option is a surgical procedure in which the epileptogenic zone (EZ) – the region of the brain that is believed to be the source of the seizures – is removed. First, electrodes are implanted onto the surface of the brain or inserted deep into the brain. This is done to record the electrical activity of the brain while a patient has seizures, so that the exact source of the seizures can be determined. Once the EZ is determined, this area can be surgically resected. Only about 50% of the patients who have this procedure remain seizure-free in the long term. One of the main reasons why this procedure fails is misidentification of the EZ. Currently, trained epileptologists visually inspect hours of electrical recordings without the assistance of any computational tools. In this project, a computational tool will be developed to accurately identify the region of the brain that is responsible for generating seizures in patients with epilepsy. This will greatly improve the effectiveness of surgical resections and decrease the amount of time needed for the pre-surgical evaluation.

Congratulations Robert, and good luck with your research!

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Sabato Santaniello receives 2 year $150k award from National Science Foundation

Sabato Santaniello, a scientist in the lab of Dr. Sridevi Sarma, Assistant Professor at the Institute for Computational Medicine, recently received an award of $150K for 2 years from the National Science Foundation. The award, which is part of the NSF’s “Energy, Power, and Adaptive Systems” program is entitled “EAGER: Modeling Network Dynamics in the Epileptic Brain to Develop Translational Tools for Seizure Localization and Detection”. The study is a collaboration with the Epilepsy Center at JHMI.

From the Grant abstract:

“Epilepsy affects 60 million people worldwide who suffer from recurrent seizures, and 40% of patients do not respond to any drug therapy. These patients would greatly benefit from closed-loop neurostimulation therapy to suppress seizures, but the efficacy of such therapy critically depends on whether the stimulus is administered close to the seizure origin (epileptogenic zone, EZ) and immediately prior to or at seizure onset. This program develops novel computational tools for effective EZ localization and seizure onset detection from multi-channel intracranial EEG (iEEG) recordings.”

More details can be found about the award on the NSF website here.

Congratulations Sabato!

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Dr. Sridevi Sarma speaks at SIAM DS13 symposium

Dr. Sridevi Sarma, presented at the 2013 SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics) Conference on Applied Dynamical Systems. The conference was held at the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, Snowbird, Utah, USA, from May 19-23. Dr. Sarma’s presentation was entitled “On the Therapeutic Mechanisms of Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease: Annihilation or Restoration?”

From SIAM’s site: “The application of dynamical systems theory to areas outside of mathematics continues to be a vibrant, exciting and fruitful endeavor. These application areas are diverse and multidisciplinary, ranging over all areas of applied science and engineering, including biology, chemistry, physics, finance, and industrial applied mathematics. This conference strives to achieve a blend of application-oriented material and the mathematics that informs and supports it. The goals of the meeting are a cross-fertilization of ideas from different application areas, and increased communication between the mathematicians who develop dynamical systems techniques and applied scientists who use them.”

To view a video of the presentation, click here.

To view pdf slides, click here.

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Dr. Sridevi Sarma named recipient of a 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Assistant Professor Sridevi Sarma of The Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Computational Medicine, is the recipient of a 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The PECASE is the highest honor the federal government gives to its young scientists and is intended to recognize some of the finest scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge during the twenty-first century. This year, 96 PECASE awards were granted. Sri will receive her award at a ceremony at the White House later this year.

This is not the first award for Sri. She joined the Institute for Computational Medicine as a 2008 recipient of a prestigious Burroughs Welcome Fund Careers at the Scientific Interface award. She has been awarded research grants by both NIH and NSF, and is also a 2011 recipient of an NSF Career award. These awards all recognize her innovative work at the interface of systems/control theory and neuroscience, particularly the area of improving methods for treating neurological disorders using deep brain stimulation.

To read the full JHU Whiting School of Engineering release, click here.

Let us all congratulate Sri on these outstanding achievements.

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Sri Sarma featured in JHU Gazette story: New early warning system for seizures

Assistant Professor Sridevi Sarma of the Institute for Computational Medicine has been featured in the JHU Gazette for work recently published in Epilepsy & Behavior. The research centers on the creation of a novel framework for seizure onset detection which could be used in the future with brain implants that send electrical impulses to stop Epileptic seizures just as they begin to occur.

“These devices use algorithms—a series of mathematical steps—to figure out when to administer the treatment,” Sarma said. “They’re very good at detecting when a seizure is about to happen, but they also produce lots of false positives, sometimes hundreds in one day. If you introduce electric current to the brain too often, we don’t know what the health impacts might be. Also, too many false alarms can shorten the life of the battery that powers the device, which must be replaced surgically.”

See the full story and see a video detailing the research in Dr. Sarma’s lab on the JHU Gazette website.

The story has also been featured in JHU News Releases.

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Kevin Kahn awarded a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Travel Award

Kevin Kahn, a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Sridevi Sarma, has recently been awarded a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Collaborative Research Travel Grant. Kevin will be traveling to Cleveland Clinic with the assistance of the grant to help design and run experiments to highlight how motor related cortical areas work to make the body perform high velocity movements under loaded dynamic environments. The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent private institution dedicated to advancing biomedical sciences and uses this travel grant as a means of promoting collaborations across fields and institutions.

Congratulations on your award Kevin!

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