Multisensory Systems Neuroscience laboratory  

Sherman Health Science Research Centre of Excellence where we now do our scanning but with our collaborators we do scan at SickKids, Queen's and Western Universities.

We are interested in how the brain is overcoming motor difficulties during diseased brain states like Parkinson's Disease and how during dance therapy for Parkinson's disease (see Dance for PD) these patients can move more.  


Dhami, Moreno & DeSouza. (2015) New framework for rehabilitation - fusion of cognitive and physical rehabilitation: the hope for dancing.  
Front. Psychol.    REVIEW PAPER





This shows shows increased SMA activation after listening to music that they are practicing and performing (National Ballet of Canada ballerinas, Fig A,B,C) compared to control dancers that are not learning this dance (Fig D). Note both Fig C and D have auditory activation but only the Dancers show this increased SMAdanceVis activation.  In both groups subjects moved their right toes/foot to localize motor areas ( light green and purple areas labeled SMAfoot ) in figures. 

Sensorimotor regions activated during music where subjects were asked to visualize themselves dancing to the music (labeled DanceVis) using the blocked design across all ballet dancers (n=5) scans/sessions showing a sagittal (A), coronal (B), and axial views (C) of the GLM functional activity. Where hot coloured functional maps signify the music vs. fixation experimental scans. 

What is impressive is there is activity during visualization in the anterior portion of SMA seen in a,b,c but is absent in (D) which shows the averaged GLM across the control subjects (n=4).

 Although the control subjects do show a very strong bilateral auditory (A1) activation it is not different from that of the dancers in fig B 

What is impressive is that the BOLD signals within SMADanceVis and A1 increase together suggesting the learning is increasing the neural network. The cool green and purple scans represent the foot motor control task vs. visual fixation of SMAfoot and Motor cortex (M1foot). The average activity across subjects was overlaid onto the anatomical of one representative subject.

DeSouza & Bar (2012) IMRF conference.    |   Newcastle talk  |  visit to Institute for Music in Human and Social Development (IMHSD)  in Scotland ( Chair ).  DeSouza, Bar and Tehrani (2013) Journal of Parkinson's Disease, 3(1) poster presentation at World Parkinson's Congress.



Abnormalities of attention occur in humans for many psychiatric disorders, stroke or trauma-related injury to the frontal brain regions.  Patients with these attention deficits often have difficulties concentrating, are easily distracted, and fail to notice relevant aspects of their environment, while they are unable to suppress irrelevant ones (known as response inhibition).  Currently the brain mechanism of these attention deficits is poorly understood and thus difficult to treat.  The prefrontal cortex is important for both the direction of attention and for the selection of appropriate actions.  My long-term research goals are to develop a better understanding of the PFC modulation of the oculomotor system through the examination of how eye position, preparatory set signals and visual motion signals are modulated during various tasks (e.g. anti-saccade and delayed-match-to-sample).   

e.g. of BOLD activation during the anti-saccade task 


Pynn & DeSouza. (2013) Vision Research.  
DeSouza, Pynn, Ovaysikia. (2012) JoVE.    See JoVE video 
Ovaysikia, Tahir, Chan, DeSouza. (2011) Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.  
Ovaysikia, Hoover, Tahir, Tharani, DeSouza. (2009) Chapter in Cortical Mechanisms of Vision.  
DeSouza, Menon & Everling. (2003) Journal of Neurophysiology.  


When we walk or drive a car, we see an expanding optic flow pattern, a pattern that indicates our direction of motion.  This sensed direction of motion does not change when we move our eyes.  Consequently, to correctly judge the direction 

of the self-motion of our bodies, the optic flow patterns seen by the eye must be recomputed using current eye position to arrive at the correct heading direction.  

e.g of BOLD activation during motion processing in area MT+

Fernandez-Ruiz, Goltz, DeSouza, Vilis & Crawford. (2007) Cerebral Cortex.  
DeSouza, Dukelow & Vilis. (2002) Cerebral Cortex.  
DeSouza et al. (2000) Journal of Neuroscience.  

e.g. of BOLD activation for object and face processing

Ovaysikia, Tahir, Chan, DeSouza. (2011) Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.  

Jody Culham's webpage fMRI for dummies which gives you all the info you will need on fMRI