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Connectivity analysis based on EEG recordings: from motor tasks to the human social brain

Laura Astolfi
speaker DIAG: 
Data dell'evento: 
Tuesday, 26 June, 2018 - 09:00
Aula Magna
Laura Astolfi, Ricercatrice a Tempo Determinato di tipo B (SSD ING-INF/06), terrà un seminario sulle attività  di ricerca svolte e in corso di svolgimento, in vista della delibera con cui il Consiglio di Dipartimento si esprimerà sulla sua chiamata nel ruolo di Professore di II fascia, a seguito dell’esito positivo ottenuto nella procedura valutativa della sua attività di ricerca e didattica. 
Il seminario precederà il Consiglio di martedì 26 giugno nell'aula magna del Dipartimento, e avrà inizio alle ore 9:00.
Understanding the brain organization that underlies human complex functions is a central problem both in basic research and for clinical applications. The description of brain circuits established during specific tasks (or at rest) can provide important insights into the neural mechanisms at the basis of motor and cognitive functions, their reorganization resulting from different pathological conditions and their recovery, whether spontaneous or due to a specific treatment (brain plasticity). Electroencephalography (EEG) is a non-invasive, low-cost, portable technique for the investigation of brain activity that provides the time resolution (milliseconds) necessary to follow the brain dynamics and to perform an effective estimation of brain functional connectivity. In this seminar, the methods at the basis of the estimation of brain connectivity in the time, frequency and time-frequency domains will be introduced, together with the most recent advancements in this field. The lecture will discuss the advantages of performing the analysis in the EEG source space, and how a graph theory approach can be adopted to summarize and quantify brain networks properties. The importance and role of the statistical assessment of connectivity patterns will be also illustrated. Finally, some applications will be shown, ranging from the study of cortical reorganization following motor or cognitive rehabilitation to the description of social cognitive functions (empathy, cooperation, individualistic behavior). To this last purpose, the novel technique of Hyperscanning, or simultaneous multi-subject EEG recordings, will be introduced. In conclusion, future directions of these studies and possible interactions with other fields of research will be critically discussed.
Bio Sketch
Laura Astolfi received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Bologna in 2007. From 2012 to 2018 she has been an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer, Control, and Management Engineering at Sapienza University of Rome. In February 2014 she got the National Scientific Qualification for the position of Associate Professor in Bioengineering and in December 2014 she got the National Scientific Qualification for the position of Full Professor in Bioengineering.
She authored 159 papers indexed in Scopus, 2 books and more than 100 contributions to International Schools and Conferences. Her h-index is 32 (source: Scopus; 38: Google Scholar), her total number of citations is 3135 (Scopus; 5320: Scholar). Her total Impact Factor is 208,1. 
She is currently Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, of Brain Topography and of Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing. From 2016 to 2017 she has been Chair of the Technical Committee in Biomedical Signal Processing of the IEEE Society of Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMBS) and currently she is member of the Administrative Committee of the same society (2018/2020). She is also member of the Scientific Board of the International Society for Brain Electromagnetic Topography (ISBET). She contributed to the organization of important International Conferences (IEEE EMBC, OHBM).
She received several national and international awards for her scientific activity, among which the Best Under-40 Researcher Award at Sapienza University in 2010, the Trainee Travel Award by the Human Brain Mapping Society in 2011, the Young Investigator Competition by the ISBET Society in 2009, the Best PhD Thesis Award by the Italian Society for Biomedical Engineering in 2008, the Young Investigator Award by the Brain Connectivity Society in 2006, the Young Investigator Award by the International Society for Functional Source Imaging in 2005.
She participated in several national (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Private Foundations), European (7th FP) and US (NSF and NIH) funded research projects. She has been National Representative to two EU COST Actions and PI of a MIUR funded project FIRB "Brain-to-brain connectivity from simultaneous neuroelectric and autonomic multi-subjects recordings as a new tool to study human social interaction". 
She is Junior Fellow of the Sapienza School for Advanced Studies (SSAS).
Her research activity includes brain connectivity, high resolution EEG source reconstruction, EEG applications to neurorehabilitation, simultaneous recordings from multiple subjects (hyperscanning), consciousness, cognition and social Neuroscience. 


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