The latest advances in microelectrode technology provide scientists with the ability to record dozens to hundreds of neurons simultaneously. Beyond contributing to the development of brain-computer interface systems for the restoration of movement and communication in persons with paralysis or limb loss, pilot clinical trials of the BrainGate2 system also provide an extraordinary and rare opportunity to further our understanding of how the human brain works. Recent scientific work has included studying how ensembles of single neurons represent and process sensory and motor information in the human cortex during intended movements including reaching, grasping, and speech generation. We are also investigating how neuronal activities are modulated with general neural states (e.g. attention, sleep, volition, etc.). These studies pose exciting theoretical and statistical challenges. To meet these challenges, our research also focuses on the development of new statistical methodologies and algorithms that seek to uncover meaningful spatiotemporal patterns of neural activity, especially their relationship to intended action, behavioral/cognitive states, and disease conditions.
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