CNUP Training Faculty

Aaron Batista, PhD

Assistant Professor, Bioengineering

PhD California Institute of Technology (1999)

Office: 4074 Biomedical Science Tower 3
Telephone:412.383.5394
Fax:412.383.9061
E-mail: apb10@pitt.edu
Website: http://www.smile.pitt.edu

Sensory-motor integration and neural prosthetics

Research Summary:

My laboratory explores the neural mechanisms of sensory-motor integration. We study how visually-guided arm and eye movements are orchestrated by the cerebral cortex. We then apply new discoveries in neurophysiology to help improve neural prosthetics - devices that can provide motor control to paralyzed individuals.

There are two chief research directions in the lab: neural prosthetics and basic neuroscience. In the first, we are exploring a new way to provide sensory feedback to the user of a neural prosthesis: cortical microstimulation. By providing the brain with a direct representation of the position of the prosthesis, we hope to improve its controllability. Such fast, accurate feedback may create the sensation that the prosthesis is "embodied": incorporated into the user's body body.

Our second research direction is to understand how arm and eye movements are controlled, and how these movements change our sensory experience. For example, every time we move our eyes, a different image is sent from the retina to the brain. This change is anticipated by the brain, and is accounted for rapidly, to create a seamless visual experience. How is visual information rapidly passed between neurons to permit accurate goal-directed reaching even while the eyes are moving?

Selected Publications:

Batista, A.P., Yu, B.M., Santhanam, G., Ryu, S.I., Afshar, A. and Shenoy, K.V. Cortical Neural Prosthesis Performance Improves When Eye Position is Monitored IEEE Transactions in Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering 16(1): 24-31 February, 2008.

Batista, A.P., Santhanam, G., Yu, B.M., Ryu, S., Afshar, A. and Shenoy KV. Reference frames for reach planning in macaque dorsal premotor cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology 98: 966-983, 2007.

Chestek, C.A.*, Batista, A.P.*, Santhanam, G., Yu, B.M., Afshar, A., Cunningham, J.P., Gilja, V., Ryu, S.I., Churchland, M. and Shenoy, K.V. Single-neuron stability during repeated reaching in macaque premotor cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 27:40, 2007. (*These authors contributed equally.)

Batista, A.P., Buneo, C.A., Snyder, L.H. and Andersen, R.A. Reach plans in eye-centered coordinates. Science 285: 257-260, 1999.

Snyder, L.H., Batista, A.P. and Andersen, R.A. Coding of intention in the posterior parietal cortex. Nature 386: 167-170, 1997.