Cortical Systems Laboratory

The Cortical Systems Lab, under the direction of Jorge A. González-Martínez, MD, PhD, is a neuroscience laboratory studying brain electrophysiology, cognition and language in patients undergoing epilepsy and movement disorder surgery. The overreaching goal of our work is to better understand the neurobiology of cortical-subcortical interactions in the normal and pathological human brain. The lab aims to develop new methods for brain mapping and therapeutic options for patients with medically refractory epilepsy and movement disorders, including neuromodulatory and resective procedures. The laboratory is highly integrated with the University of Pittsburgh Epilepsy Center and the Carnegie Mellon University Department of Biomedical Engineering.   

Location and Capabilities

The Cortical Systems Laboratory is located in Scaife Hall at the University of Pittsburgh, which is the main medical school building at the university, and is attached to UPMC Presbyterian. The lab is located three floors away from the epilepsy monitoring unit, located in UPMC Presbyterian, on the 8th floor. 

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU)

The laboratory clinical arm is the epilepsy monitoring unit, part of the University of Pittsburgh Epilepsy Center. The epilepsy center at the University of Pittsburgh is one of the leading epilepsy surgery programs in the world, with more than 5,000 adult patient-visit annually. The program offers the opportunity for comprehensive evaluation in a self-contained, eight-bed, adult epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU). The EMU features the latest technology including state-of-the-art, all digital video EEG equipment in private rooms. Operating around the clock, seven days a week, the unit is staffed by a dedicated team of nurses and EEG technologists specializing in epilepsy and overseen by staff epileptologists. The unit is part of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, a multi-disciplinary group of neurosurgeons, neurologists neuroradiologist, neuropsychologist, nurses, residents, and fellows who coordinate the care and research related topics for patients with medically refractory epilepsy. Patient Management Conference Meetings (PMCs) are performed weekly, on Mondays, where all aspects of patient care are discussed in an academic and teaching environment. Approximately 50 to 60 invasive monitoring procedures (SEEG) are performed per year in our center. 

Current Projects

Exploring the Granularity of Language and Memory Networks in Humans

Decision Making Process in Complex Environment

Thalamic and Basal Ganglia Stimulation in Medically Refractory Epilepsy

Deep brain stimulation for stroke recovery

Thermodynamics and Thermocoagulation in Human Brain Tissue


Elvira Pirondini, PhD
Marco Capogrosso, PhD
Frank Yeh, PhD
Brad Mahon, PhD
John Gale, PhD
Patrick Chauvel, MD
Avniel Ghuman, PhD
Leila Wehbe, PhD
Julie Fiez, PhD