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Research conducted by members of the Cognitive Neurophysiology Research Group at New York University is aimed at bridging the fields of neuroscience and clinical neurology to advance our understanding of the human brain in health and disease. To accomplish this goal, our team consists of scientists and clinicians working in close collaboration. The laboratory also maintains collaborative relationships with other basic science departments within the university and beyond.

The Cognitive Neurophysiology Research Group is part of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in the Department of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine. The group is also closely affiliated with the Multiomodal Imaging Laboratory at the University of Califonia at San Diego.

We are using a variety of state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques, such as functional and structural MRI, magnetoencephalography, cortical stimulation mapping and intra-cranial EEG.

Our research in the news:

"Neurologists identify potential biomarker of cognitive decline for earlier diagnosis of disease": A report on our work on non-invasive MRI imaging of the brain's gray-white matter boundary and how its integrity affects cognition

"Neurologists develop software application to help identify subtle epileptogenic lesions": An overview of our recently developed specialized computer software that allows us to detect subtle lesions in MRI scans.

"Brain study sheds light on language use" A documentary TV report on our work with intracranial human electrophysiology:

The NYU Epilepsy Center and its doctors featured on the cover of Newsweek

Recent publications

Quinn, B. T., Carlson, C., Doyle, W., Cash, S. S., Devinsky, O., Spence, C., Halgren, E.  & Thesen T. (2014) Intracranial cortical responses during visual-tactile integration in humans. Journal of Neuroscience. Jan 01, 2014 [PDF]

Thesen T, McDonald CR, Carlson C, Doyle W, Cash S, Sherfey J, Felsovalyi O, Girard H, Barr W, Devinsky O, Kuzniecky R, Halgren E. Sequential then interactive processing of letters and words in the left fusiform gyrus. Nature Communication. (2012) Dec 18;3:1284. PMID: 23250414. Pubmed [PDF]

Honey CJ, Thesen T, Donner TH, Silbert LJ, Carlson CE, Devinsky O, Doyle WK, Rubin N, Heeger DJ, Hasson U. Slow cortical dynamics and the accumulation of information over long timescales. Neuron. 2012 Oct 18;76(2):423-34. PMID: 23083743 Pubmed [PDF]

Butler T, Zaborszky L, Wang X, McDonald CR, Blackmon K, Quinn BT, Dubois J, Carlson C, Barr WB, French J, Kuzniecky R, Halgren E, Devinsky O, Thesen T. (2013) Septal nuclei enlargement in human temporal lobe epilepsy without mesial temporal sclerosis. Neurology. Jan 9. PMID: 23303846. Pubmed [PDF]

Blackmon K., Halgren E., Barr W. B., Carlson C., Devinsky O., DuBois J., French J., Kuzniecky R. & Thesen T. (2011) Individual differences in verbal abilities associated with regional blurring of the left gray and white matter boundary. Journal of Neuroscience, 26 October 2011, 31(43): 15257-15263 [Pubmed] [PDF]

Thesen, T., Carlson, C. E., Quinn, B. T., Devinsky, O., Halgren, E., DuBois, J., McDonald, C. R., French, J., Leventer, R., Felsovalyi, O., Wang, X., & Kuzniecky, R. (2010) Detection of Epileptogenic Malformations with Surface-based MRI Morphometry. PLOS One Feb 4;6(2):e16430. PMID: 21326599 [Pubmed] [PDF]

Goldberg, E., Roediger, D., Kucukboyaci, E. N., Carlson, C., Devinsky, O, Kuzniecky, R., Halgren, E., & Thesen, T. (2012) Hemispheric Asymmetries of Cortical Volume in the Human Brain. Cortex, PMID: 2217687 [Pubmed] [PDF]

McGill,M. L., Devinsky, O. Halgren, E., Kelly, C., Milham, M., Castellanos, X. F., Quinn, B. T., DuBois, J., Young, J., Carlson, C., French, J., Kuzniecky, R. & Thesen, T. (2012) Default mode network abnormalities in idiopathic generalized epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior,Mar;23(3):353-9, PMID: 22381387. [Pubmed] [PDF]

Butler, T., Blackmon, K., Zaborsky, L., Wang, X., DuBois, J., Carlson, C., Barr, W. B., French, J., Devinsky, O., Kuzniecky, R., Halgren, E. & Thesen, T. (2012) Volume of the human septal forebrain region is a predictor of source memory accuracy. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, Jan;18(1):157-61. Epub 2011 Dec 9. PubMed PMID: 22152217. [Pubmed] [PDF]

Butler T, Blackmon K, McDonald CR, Carlson C, Barr WB, Devinsky O, Kuzniecky R, Dubois J, French J, Halgren E, Thesen T. (2011) Cortical thickness abnormalities associated with depressive symptoms in temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy & Behavior. 2011 Nov 16. PMID: 22099527 [Pubmed] [PDF]

Yang AI, Wang X, Doyle WK, Halgren E, Carlson C, Belcher TL, Cash SS, Devinsky O, Thesen T. Localization of dense intracranial electrode arrays using magnetic resonance imaging. Neuroimage. 2012 Oct 15;63(1):157-65 PMID: 22759995. Pubmed [PDF]

Blackmon K, Barr WB, Carlson C, Devinsky O, Dubois J, Pogash D, Quinn BT, Kuzniecky R, Halgren E, Thesen T. Structural evidence for involvement of a left amygdala-orbitofrontal network in subclinical anxiety. Psychiatry Research. 2011 July 29. PubMed PMID: 21803551 [Pubmed] [PDF]

DuBois, J. M., Devinsky, O., Carlson, C., Kuzniecky, R., Quinn, B. T., Alper, K., Butler, T., Starner, K., Halgren, E., Thesen, T. (2011) Abnormalities of Cortical Thickness in Postictal Psychosis. Epilepsy & Behavior, May 2. PMID: 21543262 [Pubmed] [PDF]

Devinsky, O., Davachi, L., Santchi C., Quinn, B. T., Staresina, B. P.  & Thesen , T. (2010). Hyperfamiliarity for Faces. Mar 23;74(12):970-4. PMID: 20308681 Neurology [Pubmed] [PDF]


Funding Support

Funding for our research comes from the National Institutes of Health and F.A.C.E.S (Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures), a charity organization that supports research into epilepsy. If you want to support our research through a tax-deductible donation, please contact us for further information.

Thesen Lab
Department of Neurology
New York University School of Medicine
Mailing address: 223 E 34th St.
Lab address: One Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016




New York University School of Medicine, located int the heart of Manhattan





Blackmon et al., 2010

Cover story: Blackmon et al. (2010). Phonetically Irregular Word Pronunciation and Cortical Thickness in the Adult Brain.

Legend: Correlation between cortical thickness and performance on an exception
word pronunciation task in adult readers. Exception words do not adhere to formal phonetic rules, (e.g. “Gloucester” is pronounced ’glɒstə(r) and “Leicester” is pronounced ‘lɛstə(r)), which can result in mispronunciation in naïve readers. Unlike phonetically regular words, they require prior exposure to be correctly pronounced.

Findings: Better performance on a test of phonetically-irregular word reading was associated with thicker cortex in bilateral anterior superior temporal gyrus, bilateral angular gyrus/posterior superior temporal gyrus, and left hemisphere intraparietal sulcus. Higher scores were also associated with thinner cortex in left hemisphere posterior fusiform gyrus and central sulcus, bilateral inferior frontal gyrus, and right hemisphere lingual gyrus and supramarginal gyrus. These results suggest that the ability to correctly pronounce phonetically irregular words is associated with structural variations in cortical areas that are commonly activated in functional neuroimaging studies of word reading, including areas associated with grapheme-to-phonemic conversion

Read the whole study here: [PDF]