Dr. Nanthia Suthana Asst. Prof. in Residence, NeuroSurgery
Brain Research Institute
Dr. Suthana’s research program aims to develop therapeutic cognitive treatments and tools through the characterization of neuronal mechanisms underlying successful human learning and memory. Dr. Suthana has a unique multi-modality background with expertise in Cognitive Neuroscience methodologies including functional magnetic resonance imaging, single neuron and local field potential electrophysiology, electroencephalography, and deep brain stimulation. She has dedicated her career to improving and understanding the brain’s contribution to the formation and retrieval of successful memory. Her research currently works towards the development of a computational model of the human medial temporal memory system that can be incorporated into a novel neuroprosthetic device used to restore memory in afflicted patients. This work is made possible through collaborative efforts between Departments of Engineering, Neurosurgery, Psychology, and Neurology. Inspiring these efforts, her postdoctoral research published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed the ability to enhance spatial memory in epilepsy patients using low current deep brain stimulation of the human entorhinal area applied during learning. For this work, she received a Society for Neuroscience Travel award and a nomination for the UCLA Chancellor’s Award for Postdoctoral Research. In addition to Dr. Suthana’s research program, she has been a longtime contributor to local Neuroscience outreach programs. She was previously awarded a National Science Foundation fellowship to work with Los Angeles K-12 schools to incorporate inquiry based lesson plans and Neuroscience topics into the curriculum. She has also organized and facilitated an undergraduate course called Project Brainstorm where students are trained to develop and implement Neuroscience lesson plans in local K-12 schools. During the same years she organized annual Brain Awareness Week programs where hundreds of K-12 students visited the university to participate in laboratory tours, career panels, Neuroscience activities, and brain demos. She also currently organizes a summer journal club for incoming underrepresented Ph.D. students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic fields where presentation skills and critical review of scientific literature are focused upon.