Cognitive Neurophysiology Consortium: Direct Recordings from the Human Brain

Itzhak Fried, M.D., Ph.D.

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

Grant Program:

Clinical Neuroscience Research

Funded in:

December 2006, for 3 years

Funding Amount:


Lay Summary

Direct Recordings from the Human Brain

This two-phase consortium study by translational research neurosurgeons at UCLA and the Universities of Iowa and Toronto, working with select cognitive neuroscientists worldwide, will launch a broad investigation of the neuronal underpinnings of cognition, using fMRI imaging and direct recordings from cells in patients undergoing brain surgery. Through a series of pilot studies in surgical patients , consortium researchers will investigate the responses of single neurons and their electrochemical pathways within neural networks in various brain areas, as the patients perform specific cognitive tasks.  The findings are anticipated to further scientific understanding of human cognition at the level of nerve networks within the brain.  This “cells and circuits” approach is designed ultimately to reveal the neural basis for human cognition and lead to the development of new therapies for diseases that impair cognition, such as neurodegenerative diseases, autism, depression, and epilepsy.

The effort will proceed in two phases. In Phase One, the consortium will be organized, and members and leading cognitive neuroscientists will participate in a workshop designed to facilitate discussion of initial key research questions that should be explored and of optimal methods for addressing these. Thereafter, consortium members will select initial pilot studies to be pursued, identify the roles of each collaborating site for each study, design the studies, determine how data will be analyzed, and develop an efficient and effective means for making the data  available online to the research community worldwide.  In Phase Two, the research will be undertaken as planned.

Investigator Biographies

Itzhak Fried, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Itzhak Fried is Professor of Neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Co-Director of the Seizure Disorder Center  and Director of the Adult Epilepsy Surgery program at the UCLA Medical Center.  He received his medical degree from Stanford University and his neurosurgical training at Yale.  In 2001 he was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Fried is a pioneer in the recording of single neuron activity during a variety of cognitive tasks in neurosurgical patients undergoing implantation of intracranial electrodes.  His laboratory has contributed significantly towards understanding cognition through direct recordings from brain cells in humans.