Dylan Cooke, PhD

Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University

Accelerated mapping of individual variation in brain organization with online detection of EMG activity

Individuality is widely celebrated in human culture but rarely studied in the laboratory. As with dexterity and athletic coordination, brain organization varies significantly between individuals, though it is not known whether “natural athletes” are aided by specific natural variations in the ways that brains control muscles. Very few studies have examined variation in brain organization and none have tested whether it is associated with skills like dexterity.

Dr Cooke’s research team aims to develop a fast method to measure the organization of the part of the brain that controls muscle activity. The resulting “maps” will show how individual brains differ in their organization, and whether different patterns relate to different levels of ability.

Future studies may show whether certain patterns of organization are more resistant to brain injury, possibly leading to the development of protective skill-training for people at risk for strokes.