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Bonilha Laboratory Blog

October 4, 2018

Janina received a commendation of the research award 2018 from the Fürst Donnersmarck-Foundation in Berlin. This prize is awarded for current scientific research in the field of neurological rehabilitation of people with acquired damage to the nervous system. Janina received the commendation for her dissertational work on the influence of brain lesion locations on the rehabilitation of individuals with post-stroke swallowing disorders. Congratulations, Janina! 

October 2, 2018

The Bonilha lab has been busy! Read about how Dr. Bonilha and Dr. Gleichgerrcht analyzed the neural networks of epilepsy patients to predict seizure-free outcome post-surgery using a novel artificial intelligence deep learning technique and reached up to 88% accuracy. 

September 27, 2018

The brain diet! A new EurekAlert! covering the recently published work of our graduate student Barbara Marebwa on the effects of a hormone called FGF23 on brain health. 

September 6, 2018

Spreading the word: Noninvasive brain stimulation may soon reach more aphasia patients. A new EurekAlert! covering the results of a recent successful clinical trial led by MUSC researchers Dr. Bonilha and Dr. George, and USC collaborators Dr. Fridriksson and Dr. Rorden.  

June 20, 2018

Emilie received the ISMRM Magna Cum Laude Merit Award for her work on "Diffusion Anisotropy of the Extra-Axonal Environment is Linked to Axon Alignment".  She presented this work at the Joint Annual Meeting ISMRM-ESMRMB held from 16-21 June 2018 in Paris, France. Congrats Emilie! 

June 7, 2018

Emilie received one of two student merit awards for her work on "Synergism between cortical damage and white matter disconnection contributes to aphasia severity".  She received the highest ratings from all reviewers. Emilie will be presenting her work at the Annual meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language. The conference will be held in Quebec City on August 16-18. Congratulations Emilie!

April 19, 2018

Read about how aphasia researchers are tailoring speech and language therapies to individual patients in the Spring 2018 Issue of Progressnotes.

March 17, 2018

Janina received the "Sumiko Okada International Fellowship Fund 2018", a research grant honoring Sumiko Okado, a Japanese speech, and language pathologist. This fund will support Janina in regards to her travel expenses to present her research findings in an oral presentation during the 2018 Japanese-Korean Joint Swallowing Conference and the 2018 meeting of the Japanese Society of Dysphagia Rehabilitation. Congrats Janina.

March 1, 2018

CurePSP awards the Department of Neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina the title “CurePSP Center of Care” for a period of two years under the leadership of Dr. Dale. This award will benefit Progressive Subnuclear Palsy and Corticobasal Degeneration patients, their carepartners, and Health care professionals. A team of mentors, including Dr. Bonilha, will be supporting this project. Congratulations Dr. Dale.

February 15, 2018

Emilie has been awarded an Educational Stipend to attend the Annual Meeting ISMRM, June 16 to 21 in Paris. She will be presenting her work on "Diffusion Anisotropy of the Extra-Axonal Environment is Linked to Axon Alignment". Congratulations, Emilie.

January 29, 2018

Zeke has been awared the 2018 Alliance Award by the American Academy of Neurology for best clinical neuroscience research by a neurology resident for his work on "Looking at temporal white matter structural abnormalities to predict surgical outcome after epilepsy surgery in medication refractory medil temporal lobe epilepsy". The conference will be held in Los Angeles on April 21 to 27. Check out some of his work here. Congratulations Zeke.

December 1, 2017 

Zeke will be representing the Bonilha lab at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society. He will be presenting his work on "Structural Connectivity Abnormalities in Adult Patients with Frontal Lobe Epilepsy: A Pilot Study" (PDF) and "Pre-surgical brain regions acting as network “influencers” may help predict post-surgical seizure control among patients with medication-refractory temporal lobe epilepsy" (PDF).

November 10, 2017

You can find the Bonilha lab in Baltimore this week at SNL 2017. Barbara (PDF), Zeke (PDF), and Emilie (PDF) will be presenting their work. If you are not able to make it, don't dispair, clicking on their name will reveal their poster.

August 3, 2017

Barbara Marebwa and Dr. Bonilha get acknowledged by EurekAlert for their recent work on network modularity and aphasia recovery.

The Bonilha lab is being recognized for its "Innovative research to improve standard of care for stroke patients.". Read the news release.

July 26, 2017

Dr. Na Jin Seo received an NIH Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant. This grant will support a Phase I clinical trial of a novel sensory stimulation device on stroke survivors. Dr. Seo will be conducting this research under the mentorship of Dr. Bonilha.

July 24, 2017

Dr. Roozbeh Behroozmand received $700K from the NIH to study how brain damage causes speech impairment in stroke survivors with aphasia. A team of mentors, including Dr. Bonilha, will be supporting this project. For more information, read the full article.

July 10, 2017

Emilie McKinnon and Dr. Bonilha get acknowledged by EurekAlert. for their recent work on ventral stream structural plasticity. For more information, read the full article.

July 8, 2017

Dr. Bonilha and research participant Mark Vail tell their success story to NIH medline plus. For more information, read the full article.

June 20, 2017

Award winning public broadcaster Bobbi Conner talks with Dr. Bonilha about seizures and epilepsy in a radio segment called Health Focus on South Carolina Public Radio. For more information, listen to the full interview.

June 16, 2017

Our M.D. Ph.D. student Emilie McKinnon published her first clinical publication "Structural Plasticity of the Ventral Stream and Aphasia recovery" in Annals of Neurology. This study examines the restrengthening of the residual language network with intensive speech therapy using diffusional kurtosis imaging.

ANA figure

Figure 1: Pre- and post-treatment MK values along the ILF from a representative participant are shown anatomically. The ILF bottleneck, which is marked with a black arrow, demonstrates an increase in MK toward normal values from before to after therapy. The stroke lesion is demonstrated in pink. This participant demonstrated a 55 percent improvement in semantic errors.

April 10, 2017

Award winning public broadcaster Bobbi Conner talks with Dr. Bonilha about Aphasia following a stroke in a radio segment called Health Focus on South Carolina Public Radio. Listen to the full interview.

March 7, 2017

Dr. Marian Dale recently published "Impaired perception tilt in progressive supranuclear palsy" in PloS One, under mentorship of Dr. Bonilha. This study examines why patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a degenerative neurological disorder with prominent gait and balance difficulties, tend to fall mainly in a backward direction. Subjects with PSP accurately perceive the gravitational vertical, but are unable to perceive backward surface tilts and inappropriately plantar-flex their feet when tilted backward, resulting in backward postural instability.

December 12, 2016

Dr. Na Jin Seo received a Mentored Research Development Award from the Delaware-CTR ACCEL (Accelerating Clinical and Translational Research). This award will support the project "Sensory Stimulation to Enhance Hand Functional Recovery Post Stroke” to examine the neurobiological basis for the effects of sensory stimulation in enhancing hand rehabilitation outcomes. This work will be conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Bonilha and Dr. Saladin.

November 15, 2016 

Dr. Christine Cooper, Assistant Professor of Neurology, received a pilot award from the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute (SCTR). SCTR pilot funding supports novel, high-impact research with emphasis on diseases demonstrating significant prevalence in South Carolina. Dr. Cooper’s work “Brain circuitry changes in vascular parkinsonism” will use structural MRI and connectome imaging to investigate the changes in brain network connections associated with vascular parkinsonism, which ultimately may lead to earlier diagnosis, better classification, and potential for future interventions. Dr. Cooper will be conducting this research under the mentorship of Dr. Vanessa Hinson and Dr. Bonilha.

November 14, 2016

Dr. Bonilha and his team are recognized by the MUSC newscenter in an article covering the story of Mark Vail, a study participant. For more information, read the full article.

November 4, 2016 

Barbara Marebwa won 2nd place in the 1st-2nd year Ph.D. oral presentation with her talk on "Chronic Post-stroke Aphasia Severity is Determined By Fragmentation of Residual White Matter Networks" at the Perry V. Halushka 2016 MUSC Research Day.

September 16, 2016

Emilie McKinnon was offered a position as a predoctoral trainee in the college of Graduate Studies at MUSC under the mentorship of Dr. Bonilha and supported by the NIH/NIDCD Institutional Training Grant, "Interdisciplinary Research Training in Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences." Emilie's work "Residual post-stroke integrity of white matter networks and their relationship with recovery from chronic aphasia" will focus on using Diffusional Kurtosis Imaging to study the impact of residual post-stroke microstructure of specific white matter pathways on language impairment and language recovery.

August 5, 2016

Emilie McKinnon raised 1000$ through DonorsCure to help cover her travel costs to attend the 8th Annual Neurobiology of Language conference in London, England on August 17 to 20, 2016. Donors Cure is a nonprofit organization that provides a centralized platform where donors can support specific, qualified biomedical research projects led by researchers at US universities and institutions. Emilie will be presenting her work on the relationship between therapy-related improvements in naming errors and microstructural white matter fiber properties, measured using advanced imaging techniques.

June 22, 2016

Dr. Grigori Yourganov and colleagues recently published a paper, Multivariate Connectome-Based Symptom Mapping in Post-Stroke Patients: Networks Supporting Language and Speech, in The Journal of Neuroscience. In this study, the authors compared a novel multivariate approach to predict speech and language impairment post-stroke using white matter connectivity (connectome) with predictions using a more traditional multivariate, cross-validation method from lesion based analysis. Generally, results showed that “lesion-based and connectome-based predictions are comparable in terms of accuracy but not altogether similar in terms of the spatial features that drive the predictions”. In addition, results from the connectome-based analysis showed that clinical language tasks require connectivity between the motor and sensory systems (temporoparietal junction). The authors therefore suggest that leasion- and connectome-based approaches are complementary to one another and that both methodologies should be used to advance understanding of brain-behavior relationships.

June 7, 2016

Barbara Khalibinzwa Marebwa received a travel award from the Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL). SNL travel awards are partially funded by the National Institute of Health and awarded to junior scientists who are members of underrepresented groups to help cover travel and registration costs to attend the 8th Annual Neurobiology of Language conference in London, England, on August 17 to 20, 2016. This scientific meeting highlights research on a variety of topics such as neural mechanisms supporting linguistic processes among others. Barbara will present her recent work investigating how the fragmentation of structural brain networks is associated with post-stroke aphasia severity.