During my studies in biomedical engineering, I became interested in understanding brain function from a practical point of view, which led me to focus on cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience and signal processing. After my studies, I volunteered for some time at the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies, a research center situated in the Wadsworth Center (New York State Health Department) located in Albany, New York. My research was focused on a system for comprehensive kinematic/EMG/EEG analyses of locomotion and other motor actions in normal volunteers and in people with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, or other chronic neuromuscular disorders. This project allowed me to engage more in neuroscience and Brain Computer Interface (BCI).
Based on this experience, I decided to pursue a volunteer position as a neuroscientist resident at OpenBCI, in Brooklyn, NY. OpenBCI stands for open-source brain-computer interface (BCI). The company’s goal is to provide anyone with a computer, the tools necessary to sample the electrical activity of their body with their versatile and affordable biosensing systems that can be used to sample electrical brain activity (EEG), muscle activity (EMG), heart rate (ECG), body movement, and much more. My line of research was focus in studying the practical basis of the OpenBCI system and create different projects using all biosensing system, but basically the EEG system. As an example, one of the experiments that I performed relied on comparing motor imagery movements with actully motor execution. Moreover, I wrote several posts about how to engage with the OpenBCI system and a few introductory tutorials about programming in MATLAB, EEGLAB, and Python.
Although my programming and signal processing skills were drastically improved, I had a lack of neuroscience background that did not allow me to undertake the research from a holystic perspective. Therefore, I enrolled myself in a research master’s in Brain and Cognition (Cognitive Neuroscience) at the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) in Barcelona. This intense one-year master programme allowed me to satisfy my desire to understand how the brain works, learn about perception and attention, and get an introductory basis of computational neuroscience from the cognitive neuroscience and pschological perspective. At this very point, I had an equilibrium of theoretical and practical knowledge about neuroscience and BCI, which gave me the opportunity to undertake my master’s thesis about “A closed-loop BCI based on EEG alpha activity modulated by covert visuospatial attention”. The main goal of the study was to build a classifier able to classify EEG recordings during both offline and online visuospatial attention tasks on a tiral-by-trial basis. The alpha power imbalance created when the user oriented attention to left or right hemifield was used as a control signal for a closed-loop BCI system (which I created) based on the EEG signal.
Currently, I am a PhD student at the Centre for Brain and Cognition (CBC) at the UPF in the Multisensory Research Grup (MRG). Now my interest is focused on EEG and the relation between brain oscillations and perception, particularly in studying the causal relationship between the brain state and the behavioral outcome.