- Description of the Research Group +
The group is dedicated to research and development in Biomedical Systems and Engineering, particularly through Modelling and Simulation, and Signal and Image Processing and Classification. A special emphasis is given to the study of human brain function, with applications in sleep and cognition, bio- and neuro-feedback applied to personal development and to therapy and rehabilitation, and more recently also in pathologies such as epilepsy, dementia and cerebrovascular disease.
The approaches employed by the group involve the acquisition and analysis of electrophysiology signals, namely electroencephalography (EEG), and brain imaging, namely functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), as well as computational neuroscience methodologies for modeling and estimation aimed at understanding brain activity and connectivity. A horizontal topic has also been developed on Bio-Inspired Optimization ranging from Evolutionary Computing to Swarm Intelligence and Agent-Based Simulations applied to Medicine and Biology, but also to Agriculture, Energy and Operational Research areas.
The activity of the group over the period 2008-2012 has been carried out along the following research lines:
- Main achievements +
The achievements of the group over the period 2008-2012 are briefly listed here, for each of the five research lines, including the group members who contribute:
1. Simulation of Biological Systems:
Group members: Vitor Lopes, Nuno Fachada, Carlos Isidoro, Luis Ramalho, Bruno Sousa, Filipe Funenga , Ernesto Soares, Gong Hong Fei and Agostinho Rosa.
Group members: Carlos Fernandes, Nuno Leite, Vitorino Ramos, Fernando Melicio and Agostinho Rosa.
Group members: João Rodrigues, João Semedo, Daria Migotina, Fernando Melicio and Agostinho Rosa.
Group members: Daria Migotina, Rogerio Largo, Alexandre Calapez, Cristian Munteanu and Agostinho Rosa.
Group members: Marco Leite, Teresa Murta, João Jorge, Rodolfo Abreu, Joana Pinto, Márcia Santos, Juliana Rodrigues, João Abrantes and Patrícia Figueiredo.(alumni: Inês Sousa, Vânia Relvas, Pedro Osório, Marta Sousa, Ana Portêlo, Marco Pimentel).
- Structure of the Research Group +
The Group is currently composed of three permanent staff and a variable number of postdoctoral researchers, research assistants, PhD students and MSc students. In view of its small dimension, the management structure is limited to a scientific board composed of one coordinator and two principal investigators.
The Group is organized around five research lines, each coordinated by a principal investigator, who is responsible for the supervision of PhD and MSc students, supported by research assistants. The involvement of the integrated group members in student supervision, grant proposals, project coordination, and consultancy is strongly encouraged.
Weekly meetings are held for progress reports presentation, paper discussions and brainstorming. A Web page is available for the public and a private wiki page is available for editing for all members of the group. A seminar series is also organized by regularly inviting scientists with expertise in relevant fields of research.
The existing collaborations of the group members with other groups within ISR will be further extended and intensified, in order to take advantage of the vast complementary expertise of the researchers in this institute with relevance to specific projects. Moreover, collaboration with researchers from other groups within LARSyS will be sought, particularly in the scope of the proposed thematic area T4.
Importantly, two members of the group are faculty of the Department of Bioengineering of IST and are therefore strongly involved in teaching students in the Biomedical and Biological Engineering MSc and PhD programmes, which warrants a good synergy between education and research in the proposed scientific fields.
One crucial aspect of the activity of this group is the inter-disciplinary collaboration with key partners in the biomedical sciences and biomedical device industry, in order to provide the appropriate context, facilities and access to data (particularly in what concerns experimental biology and clinical applications). Well-established collaborations already exist with a number of important national and international institutions.
- Objectives of the Research Group +
The main scientific objective of the group is to address key challenges in Biological and Biomedical Engineering through the development of modeling, simulation, and signal processing and classification methodologies. In the period 2015-2020, special emphasis will be given to the study of human brain function, through both top-down and bottom-up approaches, by using different tools and in different cognitive and pathological states. The main route to achieve this objective is through the acquisition, analysis and modelling of Neuroimaging signals, particularly EEG and fMRI, as well as EEG-fMRI simultaneous recordings.
Neuroimaging is an inter-disciplinary scientific area of crucial importance in the wider fields of Neuroengineering and Biomedical Engineering, providing the means, not only to investigate the brain's structure and function, but also for interfacing with artificial devices. It has recently received much attention at both international and national levels, as evidenced by major funding enterprises such as the "Human Brain Project", the "BRAIN Initiative" or the national "Brain Imaging Network". It is expected that research in this field should, not only contribute to an increasingly richer and more precise understanding of the human brain, but also provide biomarkers of disease with potentially great value in the diagnosis and monitoring of pathology, as well as the development of novel therapeutic and enhancement techniques. The proposed objective is therefore targeting a highly strategic area in 21st century Science and Technology, while clearly meeting the overall strategy of LARSyS.
The following specific aims will be pursued in order to meet this overall strategic objective: