The Cognitive Neuropsychiatric Research Laboratory (CNRLab) is part of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience within the Department of Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Its current projects include investigating the motor system's contribution to cognitive function; HIV-related neuroplasticity and attention-to-reward as predictors of real world function; and brain function and cognition in Lyme disease.
The Mollie Meffert Lab studies mechanisms underlying enduring changes in brain function. We are interested in understanding how programs of gene expression are coordinated and maintained to produce changes in synaptic, neuronal and cognitive function. Rather than concentrating on single genes, our research is particularly focused on understanding the upstream processes that allow neuronal stimuli to synchronously orchestrate both up and down-regulation of the many genes required to mediate changes in growth and excitation. This process of gene target specificity is implicit to the appropriate production of gene expression programs that control lasting alterations in brain function.
The neuroimaging and Modulation Laboratory (NIMLAB) investigates neural correlates of cognition and behavior using neuroimaging methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neuromodulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
We are looking in depth at the contributions of the cerebellum and cerebro-cerebellar circuits to cognition; the effects of chronic heavy alcohol consumption on cognition and brain activation underlying cognitive function; how aging in humans affects neural systems that are important for associative learning and stimulus awareness; and the integration of transcranial magnetic stimulation with functional MRI.
We investigate the brain networks and neurotransmitters involved in symptoms of movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, and the mechanisms by which modulating these networks through electrical stimulation affects these symptoms. We are particularly interested in the mechanisms through which neuromodulation therapies like deep brain stimulation affect non-motor brain functions, such as cognitive function and mood. We use imaging of specific neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine and dopamine, to understand the changes in brain chemistry associated with the clinical effects of deep brain stimulation and to predict which patients are likely to have changes in non-motor symptoms following DBS. Through collaborations with our neurosurgery colleagues, we explore brain function by making recordings during DBS surgery during motor and non-motor tasks. Dr. Mills collaborates with researchers in the Department of Neurosurgery, the Division of Geriatric and Neuropsychiatry in the Depar...tment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and in the Division of Nuclear Medicine within the Department of Radiology to translate neuroimaging and neurophysiology findings into clinical applications.view more