Research

Désirée Lussier’s research interests lie in the development and utilization of machine/deep learning techniques towards the solving of problems in neuroimaging. To this end, she is particularly interested in variational autoencoders and the use of graph convolutional neural networks. Her current research currently focuses on Alzheimer’s disease and autism spectrum disorders and the application of these methods to these and related conditions  SIMEXP laboratory at l’Université de Montréal. She is also currently continuing her investigation on the relationship between pain and brain structure in the context of aging with the  PAIN laboratory at the University of Florida using machine learning.

Désirée Lussier’s PhD work focused on structural volumetrics and connectivity between brain regions in aging, and associated clinical outcomes, using magnetic resonance (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) with the Social-Cognitive and Affective Development Lab and PAIN laboratory. During this time, her interests lied in the interaction between interindividual variation in brain morphology and the oxytocin system and how this is impacted by and contributes to the experience of pain, pain perception, and cognition in older adults. Her master’s thesis at the University of Florida focused on age-differential effects of intranasal oxytocin on “social brain” resting state functional connectivity in women. Her dissertation work investigates the relationship of brain morphology and oxytocin with pain experience in older adults.

Prior to graduate school at the University of Florida, Désirée worked as a Clinical Research Associate with Seattle Children’s Research Institute on the Autism Center for Excellence study on the MRI portion with  the Psychology and Beahvioral Systems Lab. During this time she also worked on structural MRI pipeline development using the LONI IDA. While an undergraduate student, Désirée also worked as a Research Assistant at the Integrated Brain Imaging Center at the University of Washington where she assisted with two neuroimaging studies. One study was a clinical trial investigating the use of a novel drug for the treatment of early stage Parkinson’s Disease. The second study was the first stage of a longitudinal project investigating the structural (DTI) and functional (fMRI) correlates of dyslexia and dysgraphia in children and the subsequent response to treatment.