Research

Overview

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.

Curriculum Vitae

 

Actively Recruiting

News

Our paper on using neuroscience to prevent accidental awareness in anesthesia was covered on the front page the National Post of Canada (November 2017).

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 will move to an Assistant Professor position at the Trinity College Dublin, Global Brain Health Institute, and School of Psychology from May 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.

Peer-reviewed Publications

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. [Epub ahead of print] *Corresponding/Senior Author.

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 intelligence. In Review.

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.  *Senior Author 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: 588–597Download

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): 100–107Download

Naci, L., Cusack, R., Anello, M., Owen, A. M. A common neural code for similar conscious experiences in different individuals. PNAS. 2014;111(39):14277–82DownloadFeatured on MacleansScience, 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 2012Download

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., NaciL., 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