Project 4: Working as a Team to Research and Write a Paper on Phase-Amplitude Coupling in Parkinson's Patients. Coming out of the summer in Pittsburgh wanting to do more data analysis, I started my final U of MN project: studying Parkinson's disease biomarkers. Parkinson's patients exhibit pathological phase-amplitude coupling (PAC) in motor cortex and basal ganglia. However, the variation of PAC across patients and brain regions remains unclear. The goal of the project was to investigate variation using magnetoencephalography (MEG) and isolate PAC differences between PD and healthy individuals.
Working in a diverse team (comprised of myself, a grad student, a med student, and an undergrad), I designed analysis methods and compared their performance in evaluating PAC. While the final results and paper are being drafted, PAC was found to be significantly greater for several key regions. This result further supports the potential for PAC being used as a diagnostics tool in Parkinson's disease and brings the field closer to early-onset diagnoses and better treatments.
This project taught me how to collaborate with others on a complex, multi-faceted project. I learned how to communicate our current and long-term goals and visions, work on parallel project aspects, integrate our contributions into a cohesive unit, and draft papers as a team.