Richard Ivry, Professor

Closed (1) Sensorimotor coordination in healthy and neurologically impaired humans

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

Research in our laboratory and on a new online platform addresses how people perform coordinated actions. We study this topic using behavioral methods with healthy and neurologically impaired humans. The neurological studies examine the contribution of different brain structures to coordination and seek to develop functional hypotheses regarding the coordination problems faced by patients with disorders such as Parkinson's disease. Current research projects include: 1) What makes some people more coordinated than others? How do we coordinate the movements of the different limbs in order to accomplish an action? 2) How people select one possible action among the many alternatives that exist at any one point in time. 3) Characterizing the psychological and neural bases of our sense of time. For example, is there a common internal clock that is invoked by both auditory and visual stimuli and that can be used to produce rhythmic movements?



Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Jonathan Tsay, graduate student, Graduate Student

Qualifications: Duties: Responsibilities will include conducting experiments with college students examining various aspects of human performance and multi-task coordination. The apprentice will be working in the lab between 8-10 hours per week. Of that time, approximately 75% would be devoted to coordinating the testing sessions. The rest of the time will be devoted to organizing and analyzing the data, and participating in discussions related to interpreting the results and planning the subsequent studies. These experiments are designed to address questions regarding cognition and will serve as pilot studies for research with neurological patients. The experimental work and data analysis will require proficiency with PC-based computers and various software packages. The apprentice will be required to maintain a regular reading program. S/he will also be expected to attend weekly lab meetings at which we will discuss papers and the results of ongoing experiments. At the end of the term, the apprentice will complete a a final report as described in the URAP contract and an 8-10 page term paper if the URAP program is completed for credit. Qualifications: Intended major in Psychology, Cognitive Science, or Biology (MCB or IB). Minimum of introductory course in there fields.

Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs

Related website: http://ivrylab.berkeley.edu

Closed (2) Novel technologies for online studies of cognition in people with degenerative neurological disorders.

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

Research in our laboratory addresses various aspects of human performance and cognition, and how these abilities are impacted by degenerative neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease or cerebellar degeneration. We are looking for an apprentice who could help with running and programming online experiments.



The apprentice will work with a team of lab members and Prof. Ivry in planning the studies, coordinating the on-line testing program, and the analysis of the data. There is also the opportunity to be involved in the development of computational models of the experimental results. This is an excellent opportunity for someone interested in cognitive and neuropsychological research.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Will Saban, Post-Doc

Qualifications: An ideal candidate would have experience in web development and programming experience with software such as Javascript, HTML, or CSS. The experiments would be programmed to run in the browser. - Unix or Mac OS. Some knowledge of server and database configuration/management. RA would be responsible for configuring database and server to collect experiment data and interface with the online platform. The candidate should also be interested in cognitive neuroscience, and working with patients with neurological disorders.

Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs

Related website: http://ivrylab.berkeley.edu

Closed (3) Testing a novel non-invasive brain stimulation device to safely modulate human brain function

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

The goal of this project is to test the efficacy of a new non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) device that has been developed at Berkeley. NIBS methods have been around for about 40 years and involve applying weak electrical or magnetic fields to the scalp (non-invasive) in order to modulate neural activity in a targeted region of the brain. These methods have provided a powerful tool for basic research on brain-behavior relationships, as well as a clinical intervention in the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders (e.g., stroke recovery). Our new NIBS method emerged through a collaboration between Prof. Ivry and members of his Cognition and Action Lab, and physicists at the UC Berkeley Brain Imaging Center. We are recruiting one or more URAP RAs to assist in running the experiments and analyzing the data. We will be comparing our new NIBS method to existing NIBS methods. This is a great opportunity for someone interested in neuroscience and/or bioengineering.

The RA will be involved in
-- Running experiments with human participants to compare different NIBS methods. This involves using different brain stimulation techniques.
-- Recording surface (non-invasive) activity in peripheral muscles (EMG), one of the main probes of changes in cortical excitability.
-- Running behavioral experiments to assess performance changes resulting from NIBS.
-- Analysis of the data using Matlab code.

The RA will work under the direct supervision of a graduate student in the Ivry lab. There are regular team meetings of the research group, including the senior scientists behind the development of the project and Prof. Ivry, to review the project.

RAs are expected to participate in journal club meetings where we read relevant literature related to NIBS.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Christina Merrick, Graduate Student

Qualifications: An ideal candidate: -- has a strong interest in neuroscience and/or bioengineering research -- can commit about 10 hours per week to the project -- is excellent in paying attention to detail as the experiments involve many different components. With training, it is expected the RAs will conduct the experiments without supervision.

Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs

Related website: http://ivryab.berkeley.edu