Laboratory for Affective and Translational Neuroscience (LATN)


The Laboratory for Affective and Translational Neuroscience (Director: Diego A. Pizzagalli, Ph.D.) occupies approximately 1000 sq. ft. in the newly established Center for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Research (~ 6000 square feet) in the De Marneffe Building at McLean Hospital. Dr. Pizzagalli’s laboratory consists of five offices, one EEG control room, one subject room for EEG data collection, two rooms for clinical interview/behavioral testing, and one room for data processing and storage. All rooms have internet access.

EEG Equipment

The lab just completed an upgrade of the EEG system and is equipped to collect 128-channel EEG/ERP data using the latest Electrical Geodesics Inc. (EGI) system. The system uses Geodesic Sensor Nets (HCGSN 120), Net Amps (high-input impedance – 200 MOhm – dense-array amplifiers), and Net Station 4.4.2. The system uses EGI’s NetStation software on an Intel Mac Pro runing Snow Leopard to collect data. Data acquisition takes place in an electrically and acoustically shielded research room designed by Industrial Acoustics Company, Inc (8’4” x 10’1” x 7’7”). The room provides radio-frequency (RF) and electrostatic shielding and has a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of 55 and a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of 0.95.

The subject room is equipped with a 17" computer monitor for stimulus presentation, a keyboard, a dedicated response box for behavioral responses, and an intercom system (including video camera) for subject monitoring. Stimulus presentation (audio/video) is achieved using E-prime 2.0. The control room contains stimulus presentation, data recording and laboratory control instrumentation, including an audio-visual event timing tester equipped with a photocell for millisecond verification of stimulus onset and duration. A Psylab 24-bit digital Skin Conductance system (Contact Precision Instruments Inc.) is available for recording of phasic and tonic skin conductance levels; the system is monitored and recorded using a Core 2 Duo PC with 2GB RAM running Windows XP.

Computer Facilities

The lab is equipped with two servers, 12 desktop PCs, one Macintosh, and one laptop. The first server is a PowerEdge R820 Dell with four Intel Xeon E54620 2.20GHz, 8 Core Processors (totaling 32 core processors), 128 GB RAM, and 21.6 TB of space running Linux and is used for data storage, backup, and analyses. The second server is a MacPRO with two 3.06 GHz 6-core Intel Processors, 64 GB RAM, and 8 TB of space, and provides home folders and additional data processing space to users. Server backups are written to SDLT tape via a Quantum 160/320 external SCSI tape drive. Data is archived to DVD with a Sony DRX-510UL external rewritable DVD drive. Of the 12 desktop computers, four are dual-boot (Redhat Linux/WindowsXP) machines with 2.4 GHz processors, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB storage, 40X max CD-RW drives and 250 MB zip drives. Four other machines with similar processors (2.4GHz – 3.0GHz) are running Windows XP with 1 GB of RAM, 40-120 GB of storage space, a CD-RW drive, and/or a DVD-ROM drive. The PC used for stimulus presentation during EEG data acquisition sessions has a 1.8 GHz processor, 256 GB RAM, and the Windows 98SE operating system. The Netstation system is controlled using a Macintosh PowerPC G4 (866 MHz; 512 MB RAM), which is also employed for EEG data analysis. Data from the Skin Conductance System is monitored and recorded using a PC with a Pentium II processor, 256 MB RAM, and Windows 2000. Two additional PCs with similar specifications are available for data entry and word processing. A Sony laptop with an Intel® Pentium® 4 processor (1.5GHz), 30 GB hard drive, 256 MB SDRAM, and 15" XGA TFT LCD is used for stimulus presentation during fMRI studies, as well as other needs. Network printers include an HP LaserJet 4200n and an HP Multifunction OfficeJet Pro 8500, equipped to copy, color print, scan, and fax. An IT Research Assistant is employed to provide on-site system maintenance, software programming, and general technical assistance.

Data Processing

In-house, matlab-based and C++-based code is used for pre-processing and analyses of EEG/ERP data, including space-oriented analyses of scalp EEG and ERP data. Various software suites for scalp and source localization analyses using realistic head models are available, including BESA (2000), LORETA (3.0), and Brain Vision Analyzer (2.0). Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM8), Analysis of Functional NeuroImages (AFNI), FreeSurfer, and FMRIB Software Library (FSL) are used for pre-processing and analyzing functional and structural neuroimaging data. Analyses are performed on a PowerEdge R820 Dell with four Intel Xeon E54620 2.20GHz, 8 Core Processors (totaling 32 core processors) equipped with 128 GB RAM and 21.6 TB of space. Cross-registration of EEG/ERP and fMRI/PET data is achieved using SPAMALIZE. Additional commercial software consists of IDL, Matlab, SPSS, Statistica, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, X-Win32, and Brainiac (a computerized interactive neuroanatomy atlas).

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Website credit: Michael Attisha © 2012