I am a control engineer and an applied mathematician. I have worked in different and mostly unrelated fields of science and engineering and eventually have landed on the fascinating field of systems neuroscience.
I have a habit of working on different projects at the same time; a habit which has always been a source of joy and pain for me. Right now, I spend time on a few projects that have very little in common, except that I enjoy working on them and that my skills as a mathematician and as a data scientist helps me to make a meaningful impact in each. The more notable ones are:
- Individual Differences in Gaze Behaviour: Motivated by my interest in photography, I have designed a project to study how we humans look at photographs, and how different compositional elements, such as contrast, colour, depth of fields, etc., can affect that process. I am using photographs of a master photographer as the visual stimuli. I use an Eye-tracking system while participants look at the selected photographs and simultaneously recording the EEG signals. The aim of the project is to improve our understanding of how we humans look at and perceive a photograph, and how our gaze behaviour is affected by saliency and the contents of the photograph. The photographer I corroborate with in this project has written two books on this subject, and using his photographs as visual stimuli in this project provide a proper benchmark to compare my measurements with mainstream and widely accepted theories of composition in art.
- Analysis of Molecular fMRI data: This is a collaboration with a group of colleagues who have designed a smart contrast agent to detect the changes in calcium concentration at the onset of ischaemia using fMRI signals. I developed a code to analysis the fMRI data which I have released as an open-source python library.
- Adaptive Learning and the role of LCNE activity: When an animal is faced with a change in the environment, how does it react to such changes. What happens when there is an Intra or Extra-dimensional shift in the reward stimulus. In particular, I am interested to discover the role that Locus Coeruleus Noradrenergic (LCNE) activity plays in regulating the arousal state of the animals when a change in their environment occurs. Collaborating with a group of experimentalist colleagues, I look into the pupil diameter data of a number of rats as a proxy for their LCNE activity while at the same time using data provided by a 32 channel EEG system to discover the changes in brain activity in such paradigms.
- Effects of Time-delay in a Cell assembly: A purely theoretical project which is inspired by my interest in a fascinating group of neurons called von Economo Neurons (VENs). Among their properties, a prominent one, supported by indirect evidence, is that they provide fast and long-range projections. And they are also known to be targeted specifically in diseases that affect social graces. And so far they have been found in Anterior Insular and Cingulate Cortices (AIC, ACC) in human, primates and other mammals with large brains. Given all that evidence, the question that comes to mind is what role time-delay (or lack thereof) plays in such cognitive functions. And in particular its role in autonomic network, of which AIC and ACC are integral parts. This introductory document explain the main properties of VENs.
I indulge myself in a few hobbies, most joyful of all is photography. You can find samples of my photographs in here.
- PhD in Mathematics from Hamilton Institute, Maynooth, Ireland.
- MSc in Electrical (Control) Engineering from KNTU, Tehran, Iran.
- BSc in Electrical (Control) Engineering from Ferdowsi Univeristy, Mashhad, Iran.