A major focus in my lab is the investigation of the functional brain organization that supports human cognition and consciousness, and how this organization breaks down in the disordered brain. My work combines psychological theory, neuroimaging, and research of brain-injured and anesthesized patients, and translates this knowledge to develop clinically applicable neuroimaging measures. Additionally, my work explores the medico-ethical and societal implications of such applications, to build ethical guidelines for their clinical use.
A second focus is the investigation of early biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease by combining neuroimaging, clinical, neuropsychological and physiological assessments. In the face of a global dementia pandemic, it is extremely important to understand the nature of the earliest cognitive/functional changes, as well as their biological basis. This can lead to better diagnoses, potential targets for treatment, and better understanding of the disease itself. We carry out this work in collaboration with the PREVENT UK project.
Trinity College Dublin launches a new initiative in NeuroHumanities, aiming to stimulate public engagement and generate exciting research at the inter-disciplinary boundary between humanities and brain sciences.
Dr. Naci’s work is featured on Wikipedia by the Permanent Canadian Mission to UNESCO, as part of their wider efforts to promote the visibility of outstanding women scientists. Of nearly six million English articles on Wikipedia, fewer than 20% of profiles are about women (July 2018).
Dr. Naci and colleagues were awarded the Global Brain Health Institute Project Grant to change the dementia narratives and associated stigma through art and creative processes (June 2018).
Dr. Naci speaks with Bob McDonald of Canada’s Quirks and Quarks about using narratives to understand human conscious experience in non-responsive patients thought to unconscious, whether in a vegetative state, a coma, or those waking up under general anesthesia during surgery, and parallels of my work to storytelling rituals in remote Filipino hunter-gather societies (December 2017).
Dr. Naci was awarded Trinity College Provost’s Scholarship Grant and will be hiring a new PhD student for a 4-year project, starting from September 2018.
Dr. Naci was awarded the Global Brain Health Institute Project Grant to develop early biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease in midlife, asymptomatic individuals at high-risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
Our paper on using neuroscience to prevent accidental awareness in anesthesia was covered on the front page the National Post of Canada (November 2017), and several radio shows, including the Roundhouse Radio 98.3 Vancouver – November 14, 2017: http://cirh2.streamon.fm/listen-pl-13129; ‘Canada Now’ on SiriusXM Canada Talks – November 14, 2017; Western News – November 30, 2017: https://news.westernu.ca/2017/11/study-looks-flag-awareness-anaesthetized-patients/
Dr. Naci’s research features in Canada’s Globe and Mail (July 2017).
Dr. Naci’s work is featured on the yearly newsletter of the School of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin (June 2017).
Dr. Naci speaks about the science of consciousness with Quebec’s Curium Magazine (June 2017)
Dr. Naci speaks about consciousness and encouraging young girls to pursue science careers with Marie Clare magazine (May 2017).
Read Dr. Naci’s interview with Notable.ca (March 2017)
Dr. Naci will receive the L’Oréal-Unesco for Women in Science International Rising Talents award in Paris, France, on March 23rd. View CTV’s interview (March 2017).
Listen to Dr. Naci’s interview on the BBC’s Radio 4 (March 2017).
Dr. Naci’s research is the leading feature on Canada Excellence Research Chairs‘ bulletin (Feb 2017).
Listen to Dr. Naci’s interview with the BBC World Service Witness Program on Albania’s ’97 pyramid schemes collapse and ensuing civil war (Jan 2017).
Dr. Naci was awarded the L’Oréal Canada for Women in Science Research Excellence Fellowship, with the support of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, in Ottawa, Canada (Nov 2016). Read more.
Dr. Naci speaks with Neurology Today (October 2016) on the replication crisis in neuroimaging research. Read more here. Read more.
* = Corresponding/Senior
Irwin K, Sexton C, Daniel T, Lawlor B, Naci L*. Healthy Aging and Dementia: Two Roads Diverging in Midlife? Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. In Press. Read.
Naci L., Haugg A., MacDonald A., Anello M., Houldin E., Naqshbandi S., Gonzalez-Lara LE., Arango M., Harle C., Cusack R., Owen AM. Functional diversity of brain networks supports consciousness and verbal intelligence. Scientific Reports. In Press. Read at Biorxiv Neuroscience
Graham, M., Doherty C. P., Naci, L.* Using neuroimaging to detect covert awareness and determine prognosis of comatose patients: informing surrogate decision-makers of individual patient results. Seminars in Neurology. In Press. Download
Haugg A., Cusack R., Gonzales-Lara L., Sorger B., Owen A.M., Naci L* Do patients thought to lack consciousness retain the capacity for internal as well external awareness? Frontiers in Neurology. In Press. Download
Graham, M., Owen, A. M., Weijer, C. Naci, L.* Using neuroimaging to detect covert awareness in the severely brain-injured and patients who become accidentally aware under general anesthesia. Frontiers in Bioscience In Press. Download
Graham, M., Owen, A. M., Cipi, K. Weijer, C. Naci, L.* (2017) Minimizing the harm of accidental awareness under general anesthesia. Lessons from patients misdiagnosed as being in a vegetative state. Sep 14. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000002495. Anesthesia and Analgesia. [Epub ahead of print] Download
Naci, L., Sinai, L, Owen, A. M. (2017) Detecting and interpreting conscious experiences in behaviorally non-responsive patients. NeuroImage. 145(Pt B):304-313. Download.
Sinai L., Owen AM, Naci L*. (2017) Mapping preserved real-world cognition in brain-injured patients. Frontiers in Bioscience. 22:815-823. Download
Abdalmalak A., Milej D., Diop M., Shokouhi M., Naci L., Owen A.M., Lawrence K. St.(2017) Can time-resolved NIRS provide the sensitivity to detect brain activity during motor imagery consistently? Biomedical Optics Express. In Press
Gibson, R. M., Chennu, S., Fernández-Espejo, D., Naci. L., Owen, A. M, Cruse, D. (2017) Reply to “Is command following unrelated to top-down attention in consciousness disorders?” Annals of Neurology. 81(1):160-161.
Naci, L*., Graham, M*., Owen, A. M. Weijer, C. (2016 )Covert narrative capacity: A cross-section of the preserved mental life in patients thought to lack consciousness. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. 1:61–70. * These authors contributed equally. Selected for written and audio review is Practical Reviews in Neurology. Download
Gibson, R. M., Chennu, S., Fernández-Espejo, D., Naci. L., Owen, A. M, Cruse, D. Somatosensory attention identifies both overt and covert awareness in disorders of consciousness. Annals of Neurology. 80(3):412-23.
Owen, A. M., Naci, L. Decoding thoughts in behaviourally non-responsive patients. In Sinnott-Armstrong (Ed). Finding Consciousness. Oxford University Press. In Press.
Peterson, A., Cruse, D., Naci, L., Weijer, L., Owen, M. A. Risk, Diagnostic Error, and The Clinical Science of Consciousness. NeuroImage: Clinical. 2015; 7: 588–597. Download
Naci, L., Taylor, K. I., Cusack, I., Tyler, L. K. (2015) Are the senses enough for sense? Early high-level feedback shapes our comprehension of multisensory objects. In S. Zhuanghua and H. J. Müller (Eds.) Multisensory perception and action: psychophysics, neural mechanisms, and applications. eBook. Frontiers Research Topics.
Graham, M., Weijer, C., Cruse, D.,Fernandez-Espejo, D., Gofton, T., Gonzalez-Lara, L., Lazosky, A., Naci, L., Norton, L., Peterson, A., Speechley, N. K., Young,B.,, Owen, M. A. An Ethics of Welfare for Behaviourally Non-responsive Patients with Covert Awareness. AJOB Neuroscience In Press.
MacDonald, A., Naci, L., MacDonald, P., Owen, A. M. Anesthesia and neuroimaging: Investigating the neural correlates of unconsciousness. TICS. 2015;19(2): 100–107. Download
Naci, L., Cusack, R., Anello, M., Owen, A. M. A common neural code for similar conscious experiences in different individuals. PNAS. 2014;111(39):14277–82. Download. Featured on Macleans, Science, and Nature.
Owen, A. M., Naci, L. Decoding thoughts in disorders of consciousness. In M. Monti and W. G. Sannita (Eds.) Brain Function and Responsiveness in Severe Disorders of Consciousness. Springer. In Press.
Peterson, A., Norton, L., Naci, L., Owen, A. M., Weijer, C. Toward a Science of Brain Death. Am J Bioeth. 2014;14(8):29-31. Download
Weijer, C., Peterson, P., Webster, F., Graham, M., Cruse, D., Fernández-Espejo, D., Gofton, T., Gonzalez-Lara, L. E., Lazosky, A., Naci, L., Norton, L., Speechley, K., Young B., Owen, A. M. Ethics of neuroimaging after serious brain injury. BMC Medical Ethics 2014; 15, 41. Download
Naci, L., Owen, A. M. Making every word count for vegetative patients. JAMA Neurology. 2013; 70(10), 1235-41. Download or Read it for free at the Journal of the American Medical Association. INTERNATIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE. Named one of Best 51 Discoveries at Western University Since 1878.
Guger, C., Noirhomme, Q., Naci, L., Real, R., Lugo, Z., Veser, S., Sorger, B., Quitadamo, L., Lesenfants, D., Risetti, M., Formisano, R., Toppi, J., Astolfi, L., Emmerling, T., Erlbeck, H., Monti, M. M., Kotchoubey, B., Bianchi, L., Mattia, D., Goebel, R., Owen, A. M., Pellas, F., Müller-Putz, G., Kübler, A. Brain-computer interfaces for coma assessment and communication. Emerging Theory and Practice in Neuroprosthetics; ed. Ganesh R Naik, IGIGLOBAL Press 2013.
Naci, L., Cusack, R., Jia, Z., V., Owen, M. A. The brain’s silent messenger – using selective attention to decode human thought for brain-based communication. J Neurosci 2013; 33(22), 9385–9393. Download. Featured on PSYCHOLOGY PROGRESS.
Peterson, A., Naci, L., Weijer, C., Owen A. M. A principled argument, but not a practical one. AJOB Neuroscience 2013; 4(1), 52–53. Download
Peterson, A., Naci, L., Cruse, C., Fernández-Espejo, E., Graham, M., Weijer, C., Owen, A. O. Assessing decision making capacity in the disorder of consciousness patient. AJOB Neuroscience 2013; 4(4), 3-14. Download
Graham, M., Weijer, C., Peterson, A., Naci, L., Cruse, C., Fernández-Espejo, E., Owen, A. O. Acknowledging awareness: informing families of individual research results for patients in the vegetative state. J Med Ethics. Published Online First: [please include 30/07/2014] doi:10.1136/medethics-2014-102078. Download
Naci, L., Monti, M. M., Cruse, D., Sorger, B., Rainer, G., A., Kotchoubey, B., Kubler. A, Owen, A. M. Brain-computer interfaces for communication with non-responsive patients. Ann Neurol 2012; 72(3), 312–23. Download
Naci, L., Cusack, R., Taylor, K., Tyler, L. K. Are the senses enough for sense? Recurrent high-level feedback shapes our comprehension of multisensory objects. Front Integr Neurosci 2012. Download
Cusack, R., Veldsman, M., Naci, L., Mitchell, D. J., Linke, A. Seeing different objects in different ways: measuring ventral visual tuning to sensory and semantic features with dynamically adaptive imaging. Hum Brain Mapp 2012; 33(2), 387–97. Download
Covington, M., He, C., Brown, C., Naci, L., Brown, J. How complex is that sentence? A proposed revision of the Rosenberg and Abbeduto D-Level scale. Research Report, 2006. Artificial Intelligence Center, University of Georgia. Download
Covington, M., He, C., Brown, C., Naci, L., McClain, T., Fjordbak, B., Semple, J., Brown, J. Schizophrenia and the structure of language: The linguist’s view. Schizophrenia Research 2005; 77(1), 85–98.
Naci, L. Software to measure rambling, cognitive difficulty and degree expression in schizophrenic speech. Artificial Intelligence Center, University of Georgia. Download