I am a senior research associate in the Cambridge Research into Impaired Consciousness (CRIC) group. I received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Kent, with a specialisation in computational neuroscience and cognitive electroencephalography (EEG). I have a background in computing and systems engineering, along with a stint in industry. I actively draw upon these skills for my current research into the use of neuroimaging to study human cognition and consciousness. In particular, I develop neuroscientific tools for assessing and assisting brain function in patients with disorders of consciousness (DoC), including the vegetative and minimally conscious states. This research, funded by the James S. McDonnell foundation and the Medical Research Council, aims to improve diagnostic and prognostic decision making in these states. In high-impact studies published in The Lancet, Neurology, PLoS and Neuroimage: Clinical, I have shown that EEG can be used to detect covert attention and awareness in patients at their bedside. My topical research program has received considerable scientific, public and international media interest, including BBC News 24, BBC World Service, The Washington Post and Der Spiegel. Building upon my findings, I also develop real-time monitoring and brain-computer interfaces that might enable communication with some patients.
Cognition and Consciousness; Neuroimaging; Computational Modelling; Brain-computer Interfacing
Research Supervision, University of Cambridge, UK
- PhD supervisor for a doctoral candidate in Clinical Neurosciences from April 2014 Proposed thesis title: Brain-computer interfacing in disorders of consciousness
- Have supervised research projects of 8 undergraduate (Part II) and graduate students
Tripos Supervision, Homerton College, Cambridge, UK
- Supervise courses for 6 Natural Sciences (Part IB Neurobiology) and 13 Computer Science (Parts IA and IB) Tripos students in Homerton, Fitzwilliam and Downing colleges
- Involved in setting and marking essays, exercises and mock exams, providing constructive feedback to students and coordinating with their directors of studies
Assistant Lectureship, University of Kent, UK
Laboratory instruction for undergraduate students taking Cognitive Neural Networks, Database Systems and Advanced Java Programming courses
- PhD in Computer Science Topic: Cognitive Neuroscience. Thesis title: The temporal spotlight of attention: computational and electrophysiological explorations (approved with no corrections at viva held on 16th March 2010)
- MSc in Information and Communication Systems. Overall ECTS grade: 1.3 (Very Good; Passed with Distinction)
- BEng in Computer Science and Engineering. Overall percentage score - 81.46% (First Class with Distinction)
- Programme Grant Co-investigator, MRC, £3,428,505 Submitted
Coordinated successful outline application; EEG work package manager for full application
- Marie Curie IRSES Grant Co-investigator, European Union, €380,100 2013-2016
UK member of international collaboration employing EEG and TMS in consciousness research
- Science & Innovation Network Fellowship UK Foreign Office 2012
- Postgraduate Research Scholarship, University of Kent, 2006-2009
Supported full tuition and maintenance costs for doctoral study
- Travel Grant for Conference Attendance, Guarantors of Brain, 2008, 2011
PhD Thesis title: The temporal spotlight of attention: computational and electrophysiological explorations
An abstract of my doctoral research, and a PDF of PhD thesis
- Cruse, D., Beukema, S., Chennu, S., Malins, J. G., Owen, A. M. & McRae, K. 2014. The reliability of the N400 in single subjects: Implications for patients with disorders of consciousness. NeuroImage: Clinical, 4, 788-799.
- Gibson, R. M., Chennu, S., Owen, A. M. & Cruse, D. 2013. Complexity and familiarity enhance single-trial detectability of imagined movements with electroencephalography. Clinical Neurophysiology, In press. Chennu, S., Finoia, P., Kamau, E., Monti, M. M., Allanson, J., Pickard, J. D., Owen, A. M. & Bekinschtein, T. 2013. Dissociable Endogenous and Exogenous Attention in Disorders of Consciousness. NeuroImage: Clinical, 3, 450-461.This article used EEG to show that a vegetative patient was not only aware, but also able to flexibly attend to task-relevant stimuli while ignoring novel but irrelevant ones.
- Chennu, S., Noreika, V., Gueorguiev, D., Blenkmann, A., Kochen, S., Ibáñez, A., Owen, A. M. & Bekinschtein, T. A. 2013. Expectation and Attention in Hierarchical Auditory Prediction. The Journal of Neuroscience, 33(27), 11194-11205. In this article, we showed that some of the most commonly measured event-related EEG markers of human neurodynamics, namely the MMN, P300 and CNV, can be construed along a predictive coding hierarchy implemented in auditory cortex.
- Chennu, S., Alsufyani, A., Filetti, M., Owen, A. & Bowman, H. 2013. The cost of space independence in P300-BCI spellers. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 10(1), 82.
- Cruse, D., Chennu, S., Chatelle, C., Bekinschtein, T. A., Fernández-Espejo, D., Pickard, J. D., Laureys, S. & Owen, A. M. 2013. Reanalysis of "Bedside detection of awareness in the vegetative state: a cohort study" - Authors' reply. The Lancet, 381(9863), 291-292.
- Cruse, D., Chennu, S., Fernández-Espejo, D., Payne, W., L., Young, G., Bryan & Owen, A., M. 2012. Detecting Awareness in the Vegetative State: Electroencephalographic Evidence for Attempted Movements to Command. PLoS ONE, 7(11), e49933.
- Chatelle, C., Chennu*, S., Noirhomme, Q., Cruse, D., Owen, A. M. & Laureys, S. 2012. Brain-computer interfacing in disorders of consciousness. Brain Injury, 1-13.
- Chennu, S. & Bekinschtein, T. A. 2012. Arousal modulates auditory attention and awareness: insights from sleep, sedation and disorders of consciousness. Frontiers in Psychology, 3(00065).
- Cruse, D., Chennu*, S., Chatelle, C., Fernández-Espejo, D., Bekinschtein, T. A., Pickard, J. D., Laureys, S. & Owen, A. M. 2012. The relationship between aetiology and covert cognition in the minimally-conscious state. Neurology, 78(11), 816-822.This article reports the finding that DoC patients with traumatic brain injury are more likely to show signs of covert awareness than those with non-traumatic injury.
- Cruse, D., Chennu, S., Chatelle, C., Bekinschtein, T. A., Fernández-Espejo, D., Pickard, J. D., Laureys, S. & Owen, A. M. 2012. Bedside detection of awareness in the vegetative state? Authors' reply. The Lancet, 379(9827), 1702.
- Cruse, D., Chennu, S., Chatelle, C., Bekinschtein, T. A., Fernández-Espejo, D., Pickard, J. D., Laureys, S. & Owen, A. M. 2011. Bedside detection of awareness in the vegetative state: a cohort study. The Lancet, 378(9809), 2088-2094.The research described in this article used command following with EEG to show that some patients in the vegetative state might possess a degree of covert awareness.
- Chennu, S., Bowman, H. & Wyble, B. Fortunate Conjunctions Revived: Feature Binding with the 2f-ST2 Model. In: Carlson, L., Hölscher, C. & Shipley, T., eds. Proc. of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 2011, 2598-2603.
- Chennu, S., Craston, P., Wyble, B. & Bowman, H. 2009. Attention Increases the Temporal Precision of Conscious Perception: Verifying the Neural-ST2 Model. PLoS Computational Biology, 5(11), e1000576.Here, we used connectionist modelling alongside time-frequency analysis of the P300 event-related potential to show that the Attentional Blink reflects a reduction in the temporal acuity of selective attention and the timeliness of perception.
- Craston, P., Wyble, B., Chennu, S. & Bowman, H. 2009. The attentional blink reveals serial working memory encoding: Evidence from virtual & human event-related potentials. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21(3), 550-566.
- Chennu, S., Craston, P., Wyble, B. & Bowman, H. The influence of target discriminability on the time course of attentional selection. In: Taatgen, N. A. & Van Rijn, H., eds. Proc. of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 2009, 1506-1511.
- Bowman, H., Wyble, B., Chennu, S. & Craston, P. 2008. A Reciprocal Relationship Between Bottom-up Trace Strength and the Attentional Blink Bottleneck: Relating the LC-NE and ST2 Models. Brain Research, 1202, 25-42.
- Chennu, S., Craston, P., Wyble, B. & Bowman, H. Transient Attentional Enhancement during the Attentional Blink: ERP correlates of the ST2 model. In: French, R. M. & Thomas, E., eds. From Associations to Rules: Connectionist Models of Behavior and Cognition, 2008, 236.
- Chennu, S., Habel, K. & Langer, K.-D. 2006. Protected Ethernet Rings for Optical Access Networks. Proc. of the 7th ITG Symposium on Photonic Networks. Informationstechnische Gesellschaft.
- Chennu, S., Habel, K. & Langer, K.-D. 2006. QoS-aware Traffic Protection for Access Rings. Proc. of the 11th European Conference on Networks & Optical Communications.
- Sivanthi, T., Chennu, S. & Kreft, L. 2005. Modeling Decentralized Real-Time Control by State Space Partition of Timed Automata. 9th IEEE International Symposium on Distributed Simulation & Real-Time Applications. IEEE Computer Society.