Phone: (412) 648-6425
Pre-surgical mapping of brain functions (somatosensory, motor, auditory, visual, and language) for resection of brain tumors and arteriovenous malformations; using MEG for cognitive research, especially speech and language processes.
Erika J. C. Laing received her bachelor of science degree in cognitive science in 2001, from Carnegie Mellon University. Upon graduating, she worked with Dr. Marcel Just for three years at the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging (CCBI) at Carnegie Mellon, conduction fMRI research into topics such as music perception, problem solving, multi-tasking, and autism. Ms. Laing then went on to work with Dr. Charles Perfetti for three years at his Reading and Language Lab at the Learning Research and Development Center of University of Pittsburgh. As behavioral and ERP lab manager, Ms. Laing developed expertise in electrophysiology research techniques, acquisition, analysis, and interpretation. When the UPMC MEG was installed, she requested to have the opportunity to be involved in a pilot project with Dr. Perfetti. Fortunately, he agreed and a MEG researcher was born.
Ms. Laing started working fervently on the pilot experiment and quickly became familiarized with the acquisition and analysis procedures. She had the great fortune to be sent to Helsinki, Finland, for expert training from the manufacturing company itself, Elekta. Following this, she entered into the graduate program in Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, working on MEG investigations of speech perception under the advisor-ship of Dr. Lori Holt, and mentored by Anto Bagic, MD. During this time, Ms. Laing supported the MEG community by being available to assist other researchers, co-organizing a monthly special interest group MEG SIG, and creating and maintaining an internationally used website of information on what MEG is and how to use it, www.megwiki.org. Furthermore, Ms. Laing regularly gives lectures about MEG to classes of undergraduate and graduate students at Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh, and has taught a 6-week intensive MEG training course under the Multimodal Neuroimaging Training Program (MNTP) for three summers.
Upon receiving her master’s degree in May 2010, Ms. Laing was offered a position as clinical associate at the UPMC Brain Mapping Center and charged with the task of developing and implementing MEG-based pre-surgical mapping procedures to aid in the process of planning the surgical extraction of brain tumors and arteriovenous malformation. Secondarily, she conducts cognitive research of various psychological phenomenon, and facilitates other researchers who use the MEG facility. She also assists in the maintenance of equipment, engineering solutions to technological challenges, and trains researchers in the analysis and interpretation of MEG data.