The NeuroCognitive Imaging Lab (NCIL) at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, conducts basic and applied cognitive neuroscience research. Much of our research is focused on language and neuroplasticity — how the brain changes with experience. The ultimate goal of our work is to help people live healthier, happier, and more productive lives. To this end, our activities follow a cycle including basic research, active participation in clinical settings, clinical research, and knowledge translation and commercialization.
NCIL is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. We are all Treaty people.
We recognize that African Nova Scotians are a distinct people whose histories, legacies and contributions have enriched that part of Mi’kma’ki known as Nova Scotia for over 400 years.
NCIL’s research is focused on Neuroplasticity: how the brain is changed by experience. Neuroplasticity is an innate capacity of the brain. It includes changes that occur during development, learning (such as learning a new language), recovery from injury (such as a stroke), adaptation to the loss of a sense (such the loss of hearing or sight), and many other things.
In our lab, we mostly use neuroimaging tools like MRI and EEG to study the brain. These tools are non-invasive (they are safe and painless) and give us amazing abilities to see where and when things are happening in the brain. You can learn more about these tools under the Neuroimaging link at the top of the page.
Current research projects in the lab are focused on a number of different topics, including:
- Basic Language Processing
- Reading Development
- Second Language Learning
- Brain-Computer Interfaces
- Aphasia (an acquired language disorder)
- Advanced analysis approaches for EEG and fMRI
The NeuroCognitive Imaging lab makes extensive use of brain imaging technologies including:
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
- Event-related brain potentials (ERP)
- Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
Our lab houses two 64-channel EEG systems as well as servers for data storage and analysis. We make use of the MRI and MEG facilities available locally at the IWK and QEII Health Centres. We collaborate with other labs, researchers, and organizations to develop and complete innovative research objectives.
To support the growth of the field, lab director Dr. Aaron Newman has written textbooks on neuroimaging and neural data science in Python.
The NeuroCognitive Imaging lab is a group of enthusiastic researchers interested in cognitive neuroscience. Our team comprises individuals with diverse backgrounds, interests, and skill sets. This includes undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and professional research assistants. If you are interested in joining the lab as a volunteer, student, or other trainee, please contact us!
NCIL is committed to providing a safe, diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment for learning and working. We welcome trainees from all backgrounds, both locally and internationally. In particular, we welcome and encourage participation by people from African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq communities. We recognize the barriers to participation in academia that these and other groups have experienced, and we actively work to support future scholars from historically marginalized communities.
Do you want to participate in one of our studies?
Due to the broad range of research that takes place in the lab, we are often searching for participants from diverse backgrounds. Depending on what studies are active, we might be looking for elementary school children, young adults, older adults, people with different language learning experiences, or people with certain clinical conditions (such as stroke or vision problems). However, in order for our research to be scientifically rigourous, each study has specific criteria for participation. If you are interested in participating, please click the link below.