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The EMBS Chapter of the IEEE Ottawa Section was recognized as the Best Ottawa Chapter in 2008, 2010, 2014, 2019, and 2022 and received the Outstanding Chapter Award from IEEE EMBS in 2011!

Using Multiple Neuroimaging Modalities to Understand the Effects and Mechanisms of Reserve within the Context of Cognitive Aging

Photo of Dr. Jason Steffener

Dr. Jason Steffener

Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa

March 20, 2017 14:30 - 16:00

Mackenzie Building Room 3356, Carleton University




The overall aim of this work is the development and testing of a comprehensive model of the neural mechanisms of cognitive aging and the effects of individual differences in exposures such as education and physical activity. The overall model includes neuroimaging derived markers of brain structure, brain function and cognitive performance. This research includes the development and testing of nonlinear mathematical modeling of the relationships between age, brain structure, brain function and cognitive performance. Additionally, full brain modeling of neural-cognitive relationships will provide theoretically grounded biomarkers of brain plasticity. Biomarkers of brain plasticity provide measures of how the brain adapts to age related changes in brain tissue to maximize cognitive performance. This presentation will present the overall research model, the methods used to test the model and results.


Dr. Jason Steffener's research focuses on understanding healthy aging and identifying the mechanisms by which lifetime exposures and behaviors provide protection from cognitive decline. This research brings together multiple brain imaging techniques, cognitive performance and behavioral measures.

Dr. Steffener completed undergraduate studies in applied physics at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in the U.S.A. After completion, he started working as a brain imaging research assistant to study clinical populations with chronic fatigue, chronic pain and traumatic brain injury. He received master's and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering with a special emphasis on signal processing also at NJIT. He then did a post-doctoral fellowship at a startup firm studying ultrasonic bone healing. After completion, he started in the department of Neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in NYC working with Dr. Yaakov Stern as a post-doc. He received a K-01 career award grant from the National Institute on Aging and was promoted to assistant professor. After seven years at Columbia, he moved to Montreal to be a research scientist at Concordia University at the PERFORM Center and in the department of Psychology. In July 2016, he received a post as an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa in the Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences. He is a member of the OCIBME, a member of the Royal's Institute for Mental Health Research and a member of the University of Ottawa's Mind and Brain Research Institute.

Last updated February 07, 2017

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