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Dr Hayriye Cagnan
Level 2
Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL
12 Queen Square
Dr Hayriye Cagnan profile picture
  • Honorary Research Assoicate
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

Hayriye Cagnan studied Electrical and Electronics engineering at Cornell University as a Fulbright Scholar and specialized in signal processing and biomedical engineering (2000-2004). In 2004, she was awarded a British Chevening scholarship and was accepted to the Master of Science programme in Engineering and Physical Science in Medicine at Imperial College. She completed her PhD in Neuroscience in a joint placement between the University of Amsterdam and Philips Research Laboratories in 2010. Subsequently, Hayriye joined Professor Peter Brown’s research group and worked on tremor pathophysiology.

In 2015, Hayriye was awarded a MRC Skills Development Fellowship and joined the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London. She is also an Associate member of the Medical Research Council Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford (BNDU). 

Research Summary

Most neurological and psychiatric disorders are driven by complicated neural circuits. Tremor is one such disorder, driven by exaggerated rhythmic activity in brain regions involved in motor control. To date, disease circuit remains poorly understood and treatment options limited. Due to limitations of pharmacological therapy for long-term treatment of tremor, deep brain stimulation has become a prevalent alternative for management of disease symptoms. Deep brain stimulation is an effective surgical treatment, which involves regular and high frequency electrical stimulation of key brain regions by a battery powered brain pacemaker. Stimulation is effective, but unfortunately may affect other functions giving rise to side effects, impacting patients' speech, balance and impulsivity. This is because the form of stimulation presently applied cannot distinguish between diseased and normal brain activities. 

My research aims to alter the way stimulation is delivered so that it preferentially disrupts disease-related brain activities, leaving normal activity relatively spared. To this end, I develop theoretical models to determine how to selectively disrupt disease related brain activities and validate efficacy of these novel stimulation patterns in Parkinson's disease, Essential Tremor and Dystonic Tremor patients, who have been implanted with deep brain stimulation electrodes for treatment of their tremor. 

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