The goal of the InPuts lab is to investigate how our brain processes sensory information, how cortical processes relate to our behavioural perception of sensations, and how this leads to our externalized behaviours in health and disease. We have a specific focus on neurodevelopmental conditions including Autism and ADHD across the lifespan. The laboratory has a strong focus on linking alterations in inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmission to differences in perceptual sensitivity in neurodevelopment. The ultimate aim of this work is to identify specific sensory differences that may lead to better stratification of neurodevelopmental disorders and subsequent biomarker development at the biological level. Dr Puts leads the assessment of sensory perception, as well as Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) in the European AIMS-2-TRIALS consortium.
We use a varied number of approaches including tactile (as well as auditory and visual) psychophysics to examine the neural correlates low-feature tactile detection and discrimination, and novel cognitive experiments to assess subjective valuation of sensory experiences and affective touch. We also use advanced MRS approaches to estimate levels of GABA and glutamate in the brain. Our prior work has found that distinct perceptual differences are associated with differences in brain excitation/inhibition balance, making our work easily translatable. In addition, we have expertise in sensory EEG and TMS. In our current work, we aim to make these approaches more scalable and involve young children as well as those with higher support needs.