Faculty

Pioneering Rehabilitation

Disha Gupta, Ph.D.

Instructor, Early Brain Injury Recovery/Motor Recovery

Instructor
Brain and Mind Research Institute
Weill Cornell Medicine

Phone:

(914) 368-3162

Research Focus

My research focuses on retraining impaired brain networks after brain injury. Clinically, the commonly used methods for such retraining are behavioral rehabilitation training. Other promising neuromodulation mechanisms that are actively being investigated are (i) transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and (ii) brain computer interfacing (BCI). My research interests are in the exploration of tDCS and BCI as therapeutic interventions for rehabilitation in specific brain impairments.

tDCS in Rehabilitation: tDCS is a non-invasive neuromodulation technique that is gaining popularity as a possible rehabilitation therapy for the injured brain. Although its effects are encouraging, the brain mechanisms by which tDCS leads to those effects are poorly understood. This prevents its optimal application in rehabilitation. The usual method to probe these effects is via transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), albeit restricted to the motor cortex. My research focuses on the use of full-head electroencephalography (EEG) and electromyography (EMG) to further our understanding of the local as well as global neural mechanisms involved in tDCS therapy. We are specifically investigating the effects of facilitating the motor cortex with tDCS in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.   

BCI in Rehabilitation: BCI or Brain Computer Interfacing is a technique of measuring brain activity and using it to artificially supplement, restore, replace or improve the impaired central nervous system pathways. These are extensively being studied and developed for communication and control via the motor and auditory pathways in stroke and ALS. Inspired by the silence of my non-verbal autistic nephew, my vision is to use a BCI to target the impairments of the auditory system, specifically in autism.  I am working towards developing interventions that would allow continuous direct assessment and possible re-training of these brain systems in people with autism. It will use EEG—non-invasive brain responses—to tap into hidden mental processes, to facilitate immediate reward-based training. I envision such procedures to be made practicable via BCI paradigms built into entertaining games, paired with easy-to-use dry-wireless EEG systems.  

Biography

Instructor
Burke Medical Research Institute
Early Brain Injury and Recovery labs of Dr. Jason Carmel and Dr. Kathleen Friel
Brain and Mind Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medicine, Neuromodulation
White Plains, NY

Visiting Scientist
Helen Hayes Hospital, Traumatic Brain Injury Unit with Dr. Glenn Seliger
Route 9, West Haverstraw, New York 10993

Research Scientist
Autism Research Group, 325 E Hillcrest Drive, Suite 140, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Goldsmith Fellow, Neuromodulation
Burke-Cornell Research Institute, in the labs of Dr. Jason Carmel and Dr. Kathleen Friel
White Plains, NY

Visiting Scientist, Neuroscience
Wadsworth Research Laboratories, in the labs of Dr. Gerwin Schalk
New York State Deptartment of Health, Albany, NY

Postdoctoral Associate, Brain Computer Interface
Albany Medical College, New York

Postdoctoral Researcher, Computational Neuroscience
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands

Ph.D., Neuroscience, specialized in biomedical signal processing
University of Southampton, in the lab of Dr. Christopher James
Southampton, UK

Masters Intern, Biomedical Signal Processing and Security
Fraunhofer Insitute for Integrated Solutions, Erlangen, Germany

M.Sc., Information and Communication System Security
Kunglinga Tekniska Hogskolan: The Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

Assistant Systems Software Engineer
Tata Consultancy Services, Mumbai, India

B.E., Electrical Engineering with Honors, silver medalist
Punjab Engineering College, Punjab University, Chandigarh, India

My training in computer software programming, electrical engineering and neuroscience has been a perfect combination that has allowed me to contribute to the neurophysiological investigation of the healthy and affected human brain. My neuroscience research training over the last 10 years has been targeted to learning and developing state-of-the-art signal processing techniques for extracting, visualizing and analyzing neurophysiology signals, prospectively as well as in real-time. Such methods for interfacing the brain and computer allow us to build systems for monitoring, assessing, communicating with and even training the underlying cortical circuitry, with immediate feedback.

I have moved laterally—across various modalities of brain signals—non-invasive as well as invasive: electrical, magnetic and imaging signals. I have also moved vertically—across various cortical systems and disorders—movement intention, movement execution, attention and auditory processing applied in epilepsy, cerebral palsy as well as ‘normal’ brain. Each project has added to my understanding of the working of the human brain, and sharpened my skills for unraveling complex information from the weak biological signals.


Professional Collaborations & Experience

2008-15      Invited Reviewer for Scientific Journals: Journal of Neural Engineering, PNAS, Neuroimage, PLoS One, IEEE Transactions in Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Neuroscience Letters, Frontiers Neurology, Brain-Computer Interfaces, Neurotherapeutics, Frontiers in Neuroengineering, Biomedical Signal Processing and Control

2004          Collaborative Project: Telemed HC: Design and implementation of a telemedicine solution for treatment in a home environment, in collaboration with KTH University and Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset (Hospital), Sweden

2003          Research Internship: Image Processing and Visualization, Terminal Ballistic Research Labs, India at Defence Research and Development Organization.


Professional Memberships

2008-14     AdHoc reviewer: Journal of Neural Engineering, PNAS, Neuroimage, PLoS One, IEEE Transactions in Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Neuroscience Letters, Frontiers Neurology, Brain-Computer Interfaces, Neurotherapeutics, Frontiers in Neuroengineering

2004           Collaborative Project: Telemed HC: Design and implementation of a telemedicine solution for treatment in a home environment, in collaboration with KTH University and Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset (Hospital), Sweden

2011-           Member: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

2011-           Member: Society of Neuroscience

2011            Nominated Member: Sigma-Xi Scientific Research Society

2006-09    Nominated Staff-Student Liaison: Engineering Foundation Year, Southampton Univ.

2006-08    Teaching Assistant for Undergraduate Engineering courses: Engineering Principals, Electricity and Electronics,  Mechanics, Mathematics.

2006-07    Member: International League Against Epilepsy, UK Chapter

2001-02     Nominated Student-Company Liaison: Student job-placement committee, Punjab Engineering College, Punjab University, India

2000-02    Designer/Co-editor: College magazine editorial board, Punjab Engineering College, India


Honors & Awards

2013-15    Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Research Fellowship, NY

2013          Scholar Travel Grant: International Meeting, Brain Computer Interfacing, CA, USA

2008         Travel Award: Fraunhofer IIS, Germany

2007         Graduate Student Travel Award: Student paper competition, Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, IEEE, Intl, Conf. France.

2007         Graduate Student Travel Support Award: EPSRC ICA Research Network, UK

2006         Scientific Research Presentation at SET for Britain: House of Commons (Parliament), London, UK— required liaison with Hampshire Member of Parliament.

2006         William James Memorial Biomedical Engineering Student Award: Best conference paper, Intl. Conf., Advances in Medical, Signal and Information Processing, UK

2006         Graduate Student Travel Support: EPSRC Research Network on Blind Source Separation and Independent Component Analysis, UK

2005-09   PhD Scholarship: Life Sciences Interface, UK and Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, University of Southampton, UK

2004-05   Masters Research Scholarship: Fraunhofer Institute- IIS, Germany

2002         Silver Medalist: Engineering Graduation: artificial intelligence for medical diagnosis

2002         Honors: Bachelors in Engineering, Punjab Engineering College, Punjab University

2000-02   Coordinator and Awardee: National Service Scheme, Punjab Engineering College

2001-02   Vice-President: Rotaract Student Chapter, Punjab Engineering College, India

1999-01   ‘Sergeant at Arms’: Rotaract Student Chapter, Punjab Engineering College, India

1998         National Merit Certificate: National Scholarship Scheme: National 1% Topper, India

1996         Senior National Level Talent Search Contest: Silver Medalist—Maths, Science

1994         Junior National Level Talent Search Contest: Silver Medalist—Maths, Science

Current Projects

Assessing the Neurophysiological Effects of Transcranial-Direct-Current-Stimulation-based Therapeutic Intervention in Hemiplegia:

The aim of the project is to assess the local and global neural effects of applying weak transcranial direct current (tDCS) to the human brain after brain injury.  The use of tDCS is increasingly being explored for neural rehabilitation after brain injury. In these applications, it is usual to apply excitatory tDCS on the injured hemisphere to facilitate weakened cross-connections to the impaired hand. This is also expected to augment weakened interhemispheric connectivity. However, in many cases where complete disruption of the cross-connections takes place, the uninjured cortex, especially during the plastic stage of development, is known to adapt and control the impaired hand. This has observed in children with cerebral palsy where brain injury takes place very early on in development.  

We hypothesize that in such cases facilitating the uninjured cortex will be more effective in improving motor function. We aim to test the hypothesis by investigating the local and global effects of tDCS application on the cortico-cortical as well as the cortico-muscular connections.

A high-definition form of tDCS will be applied (sham-controlled) on the injured and uninjured cortical hemispheres in separate sessions, in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy. For each of these sessions we will collect electroencephalographic signals (signals from the brain), electromyographic signals (signals from the muscles) and transcranial-magnetic-stimulation-based motor evoked potentials and motor maps, before and after the tDCS application.


Assessment and Training of Auditory Perception in Autism
:

The goals of this project are to develop electrophysiological systems to detect and augment subject specific auditory impairment in people with autism—such as pitch, loudness, duration, location or speech vs. non-speech.  The hypothesis is that EEG-based training of auditory perception at the threshold level will improve auditory perception. We will additionally explore the role of abnormal interhemispheric connectivity on the perception impairments and the effect that EEG training has on these connections.


Brain-Computer Interfaces for Selective Auditory Training in Autism
:

A key impairment in autism is the difficulty separating salient sounds from background noise. We aim to train the skill of selective auditory attention in people with autism, using a novel Brain-Computer Interface. The project will use electrophysiological brain signals for the real-time detection of this covert mental process. This will be paired with real-time feedback to provide reinforcement via a video game interface. We hypothesize that training auditory attention will lead to improved listening. We will perform the studies in adults with autism, but the long-term goal is to provide therapeutic intervention for children with autism. 

Funding

Medtronic ($50,000)
Dates of project: 2016
Goals: Electrocorticography (ECoG) electrode grid localization
Role: Co-Principal Investigator 

Weill Cornell Clinical and Translational Science Center Seed Grant ($100,000)
Dates of project: 06/01/2014 — 05/31/2016
Goals: A key impairment in autism is the difficulty separating salient sounds from background noise. We aim to train the skill of selective auditory attention in people with autism, using a novel Brain-Computer Interface. The project will use electrophysiological brain signals for the real-time detection of this covert mental process. This will be paired with real-time feedback to provide reinforcement via a video game interface. We hypothesize that training auditory attention will lead to improved listening. We will perform the studies in adults with autism, but the long-term goal is to provide therapeutic intervention for children with autism. 
Role: Principal Investigator 

Eisenberg Ahsen Foundation Grant ($163,000)
Dates of project: 05/01/14 —
Goals: To investigate the use of non-invasive electrophysiology tools for assessment and brain-computer interfaced training of the auditory processing circuitry in adults and children with autism.
Role: Principal Investigator 

Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Fellowships ($150,000)
Dates of project: 10/01/14 — 10/01/16
Goals: To investigate the use of electrophysiology with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for motor rehabilitation in children with cerebral palsy, in particular, to understand how tDCS affects brain networks beyond the motor cortex.
Role: Principal Investigator 

The Thomas and Agnes Carvel Foundation
Dates of project: 09/01/13 — 08/30/15
Goals: Using neural activity to repair the brain. Specifically to investigate the effects of tDCS on hand function in children with cerebral palsy.
Role: Co-Investigator (with Co-PIs Jason Carmel and Kathleen Friel) 

Publications

Citations via Google Scholar


Selected Publications

A. Vuckovic, J. Pineda, C. Guger, K. LaMarca, D. GuptaInteraction of BCI with the underlying neurological conditions in patients: pros and consFrontiers in Neuroengineering, e-book (ed) (13 articles, 75 authors), Nov 2014

A. Vuckovic, J. Pineda, C. Guger, K. LaMarca, D. GuptaInteraction of BCI with the underlying neurological conditions in patients: pros and consFrontiers in Neuroengineering, Research Topic Editorial, Nov 2014, doi: 10.3389/fneng.2014.00042. 

D. Gupta, J. Hill, M. Adamo, A. Ritaccio, G. Schalk. Localizing ECoG electrodes on the cortical anatomy without post-implantation imagingNeuroImage: Clinical,  Aug 21, Vol 6, pp: 64 – 76, 2014.

D. Gupta, J. Hill, P. Brunner, A. Gunduz, A. Ritaccio, G. Schalk. Simultaneous Real-Time Monitoring of Multiple Cortical SystemsJournal of Neural Engineering, Jul 31;11(5): 056001, (2014).

J.E. Huggins, C. Guger, B. Allison, C.W. Anderson, A. Batista, A-M Brouwer, C.Brunner, R. Chavarriaga, M. Fried-Oken, A. Gündüz, D. Gupta, A. Kübler, R. Leeb, F. Lotte, L.E. Miller, G. Müller-Putz, T. Rutkowski, M. Tangermann, D.E. Thompson. Workshops of the Fifth International Brain-Computer Interface Meeting: Defining the FutureBrain Computer Interfaces, 1(1): 27-49 (2014).

V. Miller, D. Gupta, N. Neu, A. Cotroneo, C.B. Boulay, R.F. Seegal. Novel interhemispheric white matter connectivity in the BTBR mouse model of autismBrain Research, 1513: 26-33 (2013).

J. Hill, D. Gupta, P. Brunner, A. Gunduz, M.A. Adamo, A.Ritaccio, G. Schalk. Recording human electrocorticographic (ECoG) signals for neuroscientific research and real-time functional cortical mappingJournal of Vis. Experiments (2012).

A. Ritaccio, M. Beauchamp, C. Bosman, P. Brunner, E. Chang, N. Crone, A. Gunduz, D. Gupta, R. Knight, E. Leuthardt, B. Litt, D. Moran, J. Ojemann, J. Parvizi, N. Ramsey, J. Rieger, J. Viventi, B. Voytek, J. Williams, G. Schalk. Proceedings of the Third International Workshop on Advances in ElectrocorticographyEpilepsy & Behavior. 25 (4), 605-613 (2012).

D. Gupta, P. Ossenblok, G. van Luijtelaar. Space-time network connectivity and cortical activations preceding MEG Spike Wave Discharges in human absence epilepsyMed Biol Eng Comput; 49(5): 555-65 (2011).

C.J. James, D. GuptaSeizure prediction for epilepsy using a multi-stage phase synchrony based systemIEEE Eng. in Medicine and Biology Society, USA (2009).

D Gupta, CJ James. Narrowband vs. Broadband Phase Synchronization Analysis Applied to Independent Components of Ictal and Interictal EEGIEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, France, 2007.

C. J. James, D. Abasolo, D. GuptaSpace-time ICA versus Ensemble ICA for ictal EEG analysis with component differentiation via Lempel-Ziv complexityProc of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 02/2007:5473-6. DOI: 10.1109/IEMBS.2007

Presentations

August 2016
Sensory Connectivity and Lesion Type predict Hand Function in Unilateral Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Columbia Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science

July 2016
Stimulating Outside the Brain (TMS, tDCS, PNS)
National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies, Summer Course

June 2016
Novel Application Fields for Auditory BCIs
Workshop at International Brain Computer Interfacing Meeting

June 2016
Neurophysiology, Neuroimaging, and Brain-Computer Interfaces in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Progress and Pitfalls
Autism Workshop, Satellite Event, International Brain Computer Interfacing Meeting

June 2016
BCI Research and Development in Children
Workshop at International Brain Computer Interfacing Meeting

May 2016
BCI for Rehabilitation in Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Bioelectronic Medicine, Feinstein Institute
New York, USA

January 2013
Current Trends in Research and Development of Brain Computer Interfaces
Fortis Hospitals
Mohali, India

May 2012
ECoG: A Step Closer to the Brain
The Brain Computer Interfacing Workshop, University Old Dominion
Norfolk, VA

September 2012
Treatments/Interventions for Autism
Autism Outreach Albany Workshop
Albany, NY

November 2011
Auditory Processing and Anticipation with human ECoG, 3rd
International Workshop on Advances in Electrocorticography, Society of Neuroscience Satellite Workshop
Washington DC, USA

March 2010
Dynamic Imaging of Generalized Seizure Activity
Sleep and Epilepsy Update: 12th Annual International Clinical Symposium
Kempenhaeghe, Heeze, Netherlands

News & Media

November 2014

Society for Neuroscience 2014 Poster
"Comparing Anatomy and Physiology of the Corticospinal Tract Across Subjects: Microstimulation Motor Mapping and Retrograde Tracing of Motor Cortex Neurons Co-registered in 3-Dimensional Space"

2014
Guest Associate Editor: Frontiers in Neuroengineering: Interaction of BCI with the Underlying Neurological Conditions in Patients: Pros and Cons.

July 2014
Weill Cornell Medical College, Clinical and Translational Science Center: Pilot Grant 2014 Awardees Announced

May 26, 2014
Recipient of Eisenberg Ahsen Foundation Grant for Autism Research: BMRI Receives New Research Grants from JDRF and Eisenberg Ahsen Foundation

October 29, 2013
Awardee of Goldsmith Fellowship: Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Fellowship Winners Announced

June 2013
International Workshop Organizer: Brain Computer Interfaces for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, BCI International Meeting, Monterey, CA, USA.

May 21, 2013
Dr. Gupta’s Article Highlights from Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative: Molecular mechanisms: Mice link brain region to autism

September 2012
Workshop Co-organizer: Autism Outreach Workshop, Albany, NY, USA.

May 12, 2011
Mind Reading: Technology Turns Thought Into Action (NPR)

Laboratory

Lab Members

Current

Casara Jean Ferretti, MS — Ph.D. Student
Yeshiva University
Prof. Vance Zemon — Ph.D. Advisor
Dr. Disha Gupta — Ph.D. Co-Advisor

Ms. Ferretti is a Ph.D. student in the Clinical Psychology Health Emphasis Program at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University. Her research interests include the identification of electrophysiological and immunological biomarkers and endophenotypes in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Ms. Ferretti received her B.S. from Cornell University in 2006, and her M.S. in Neuroscience and Education from the Teachers College of Columbia University in 2008. Prior to starting her Ph.D., Ms. Ferretti was a Clinical Research Associate and psychometrician at the Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Program at Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine with Eric Hollander, MD and a Research Coordinator for the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with Susan E. Levy, MD and Robert Schultz, PhD. Ms. Ferretti has been working in research for over ten years, and is experienced in working with both adults and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Yu Hao — Ph.D. Student, Cornell University
Prof. Gary William Evans — Ph.D. Advisor
Dr. Disha Gupta — Ph.D. Minor Committee

 

Alumini

Alexandre Barachant, Ph.D. — Postdoctoral Researcher
alb3001@med.cornell.edu
alexandre.barachant.org

Alexandre Barachant was born in Chateauroux, France, in 1985. In 2012, he received his Ph.D. degree in signal processing from the Grenoble University, France. For his Ph.D. thesis at the CEA Grenoble, he developed a robust and adaptive brain computer interface based on self-paced motor imagery. Between 2012 and 2013, he has been a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in the GIPSA Laboratory, Grenoble, where he developed a calibration-less P300 brain computer interface.

Since November 2014, he joined Burke to study the effects of non-invasive brain stimulation for rehabilitation. His research interest include statistical signal processing, Machine learning, Riemannian geometry and classification of neurophysiological recordings.

Tihami Qureshi, Ph.D. — Postdoctoral Researcher
Tihami was born in Nashville, TN to Bengali parents. She earned her B.S. in microbiology and Ph.D. in biochemistry, cellular, and molecular biology from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. Before joining Burke, she was a postdoc at Albany Medical College, NY. Tihami has broad research interests including electrophysiology/neurophysiology, gene and stem cell therapy, and protein folding. When not in the lab, Tihami enjoys hot yoga, watching zombie TV shows/movies, and playing board games.

 

Collaborators

Jason Carmel, M.D., Ph.D.
Burke Medical Research Institute / Weill Cornell Medicine

Katherine Friel, Ph.D. 
Burke Medical Research Institute / Weill Cornell Medicine

N. Jeremy Hill, D. Phil.
Burke Medical Research Institute / Weill Cornell Medicine, and Blythedale Children’s Hospital

Catherine Lord, Ph.D.  
Weill Cornell Medicine

Sylvie Goldman, Ph.D. and Sunil Agrawal, Ph.D.
Columbia University

Dennis Dixon, Ph.D.
Center for Autism and Related Disorders

Theresa Vaughan, B.A.
National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies

Glen Seliger, M.D. and Debra Zeitlin, M.A.SLP/ CCC, ATP
Helen Hayes Hospital, NY

Diana Ghinda, M.D.
Ottawa University

Gary Evans, Ph.D.
Cornell University

Vance Zemon, Ph.D.
Yeshiva University, NY