Music processing in the brain

classification of human brain networks during music and speech perception

Department of Physics & Astronomy, Rice University (Houston, TX)

M.E. Bonomo, C. Karmonik, A.K. Brandt, & J.T. Frazier

Doctoral Research, Spring 2017 – Present

Music therapy is a low-cost, non pharmaceutical treatment that has been shown to enhance traditional medical interventions for patients of neurological disease and trauma. However, several questions remain – How is music helping the brain? Why does it only work for some patients? Why is music more effective than speech-based listening?

For this project, we aimed to use modularity to quantify differences in the brain networks of healthy individuals as they processed different types of music and speech, in order to start to address the questions surrounding therapeutic applications. To measure modularity – we divide up the brain into regions, and we infer a network by looking at the patterns of functional activity observed from neuroimaging — in this case fMRI. Modularity is then the degree to which these brain regions can be separated into distinct functioning units, known as modules.

In the News:

Oral Presentations:

  • 5th Annual Smalley-Curl Institute Transdisciplinary Symposium (Houston, TX) 14 February 2020. (Presenter Award)
  • Annual Rice University Bioengineering Innovation Symposium (Houston, TX) 31 October 2019. (Presenter Award)
  • Annual Smalley-Curl Institute Summer Research Colloquium (Houston, TX) 9 August 2019.
  • The Science of Consciousness Annual Conference (Interlaken, Switzerland) 27 June 2019.
  • 4th Annual Smalley-Curl Institute Transdisciplinary Symposium (Houston, TX) 8 February 2019.

Poster Presentations:

  • 17th Gulf Coast Consortium on Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience Conference (Houston, TX) 31 January 2020.
  • Annual Meeting of the International Physics of Living Systems Network (Munich, Germany) 8 July 2019.
  • Organization of Human Brain Mapping Annual Conference (Rome, Italy) 10 June 2019.
  • 16th Gulf Coast Consortium on Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience Conference (Houston, TX) 1 February 2019.
  • American Physical Society Annual March Meeting (Boston, MA) 6 March 2019.
  • Lasker Lecture and EnMed Biomedical Imaging Symposium (Houston, TX) 26 April 2018. (Presenter Award)