Laura Lewis – Fast multimodal imaging of brain dynamics underlying sleep and wakefulness

Tuesday, March 29
10:00 am - 11:00 am

Grier A (34-401A)

When we fall asleep, brain function and physiology are transformed, and this process is essential for neurological health. Understanding the neural basis of sleep requires imaging methods that can capture multiple aspects of brain physiology at fast timescales. We develop approaches for analyzing human brain physiology using multimodal neuroimaging, and apply them to investigate the neural origins and consequences of sleep. We found that accelerated methods for fMRI can enable imaging subsecond neural dynamics throughout the human brain. We applied these methods to investigate the neural dynamics that occur at state transitions, and identified temporal dynamics within thalamocortical networks that precede the moment of awakening from sleep. In addition, we developed a method to image cerebrospinal fluid flow, and discovered large waves of fluid flow that appear in the sleeping human brain. Together, these studies highlight the new biological information that can be extracted from fast fMRI data, and use this approach to discover neurophysiological dynamics unique to the sleeping brain.

Laura Lewis is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. Her research develops multimodal approaches for imaging and analyzing human brain dynamics, and applies them to study the brain networks that regulate sleep and the consequences of sleep for brain function. She completed her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at MIT, where she identified neural circuit mechanisms of sleep and anesthesia. She then conducted postdoctoral research in neuroimaging methods, at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, where she used fast imaging techniques to image subsecond brain dynamics in humans. Her research has been recognized by awards such as the Society for Neuroscience Peter and Patricia Gruber International Research Award, the One Mind Rising Star Award, the Searle Scholar Award, the McKnight Scholar Award, the Sloan Fellowship, and the Pew Scholar Award.


  • Date: Tuesday, March 29
  • Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
  • Category:
  • Location: Grier A (34-401A)