The Canada Foundation for Innovation funds a Neurophysiological data acquisition platform for Bishop’s University

The Canada Foundation for Innovation funds a Neurophysiological data acquisition platform for Bishop’s University

Dr. Russell Butler

Dr. Russell Butler, Assistant professor at Bishop’s University’s Department of Computer Science received a Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) award of $72,492 to purchase an Electroencephalography (EEG) system with physiological recording and eye tracking to establish a high throughput neurophysiology platform at Bishop’s University specifically devoted to studying the link between EEG signals, human personality, and brain white matter pathways.

Dr. Butler applied for this grant with Dr. Rafael Tedesqui, of Bishop’s University’s Department of Sports Studies and Dr. Maxime Descoteaux, of the Université de Sherbrooke.  The team’s objective is to study the structural basis of EEG brain rhythms and their role in shaping personality, academic and athletic performance across individuals.

Electroencephalography (EEG) is the most widely used tool for non-invasive quantification of human brain activity. EEG records the brain’s electrical activity en-masse via surface electrodes on the scalp. EEG is commonly used to infer neurophysiological parameters such as peak frequency and power. However, despite its widespread usage, our understanding of what drives individual differences in EEG peak frequency and power is incomplete. The purpose of this research is to set up an in-house EEG recording facility at Bishop’s University for high throughput acquisition of EEG signals from a diverse student body of healthy undergraduates (ages 18-24). EEG recordings will be performed in a large sample. The team will then select from the large sample a sub-sample to maximize the variability in the dataset and perform diffusion MRI at the neighboring hospital, to obtain white matter metrics. Finally, they will correlate the white matter metrics with the EEG parameters and personality measures, to better understand what drives individual differences across a healthy population.

Hosting the equipment directly at Bishop’s University facilitates the experiments and allows for increased participant throughout, yielding higher statistical power and a more diverse set of experiments, in addition to providing a unique experience to our students. An advantage of the current platform is that it is intrinsically multidisciplinary, sitting at the crossroads of neurophysiology, performance, and personality research. The equipment will amplify the already collaborative nature of the research team and increase the appeal of Bishop’s for attracting the most talented highly qualified personnel.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, announced more than $64 million to support 251 research infrastructure projects at 40 universities across the country. This contribution will help universities more competitively recruit and retain outstanding researchers by helping acquire the state-of-the-art labs, equipment, and facilities they need to make discoveries that will have an impact on Canadians.