Huiling Tan is a programme leader at the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford. The goal of her research is to define how activity in large populations of neurons is coordinated in healthy brain functioning and how such coordination may go awry in diseases, translating this information to improved treatment for Parkinson’s Disease, Essential Tremor, and other disorders.
To achieve this, her group takes a multidisciplinary approach, combining experimental manipulations in healthy subjects and patients with sophisticated signals analysis and modelling. The experimental manipulations include non-invasive brain stimulation, and often involve patients who have had deep brain stimulation electrodes implanted as treatment for problems with movement. Her group have made major contributions in understanding how abnormal interactions between brain cells cause slowness of movement, tremor and stiffness in people with Parkinson’s disease. At the same time, they have leveraged these insights to pioneer closed-loop approaches to therapeutic brain stimulation, and are exploiting local dynamics in deep brain nuclei as a basis for Brain-Computer Interfaces that control the environment for paralysed patients.
Dr Huiling Tan is interested in working with the Turing Institute and its network of Fellows to advance her research, particularly that using machine learning to improve the detection and control of brain activity dynamics for therapeutic benefit.