Dr Levin Kuhlmann

Levin is a senior lecturer of Data Science and Digital Health in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University.

His research applies computational neuroscience, machine learning, neuro-engineering and neuroimaging methods to the computational modelling of vision, depth of anaesthesia monitoring and epileptic seizure prediction, detection and control.

Levin is interested in how the brain works and how it processes information at multiple scales, from neuron to whole brain, in order to create our conscious experiences of the world. Most importantly, he is interested in utilising this understanding to improve diagnostics, interventions and therapies for brain-related medicine and digital health.

Recent work has been focused on understanding the mechanisms of loss of consciousness via anaesthesia by studying simultaneous electroencephalography (EEG)/magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings, and using neural inference techniques to estimate and image anaesthetic-induced neurophysiological changes in the human brain.

Finding a way to predict epileptic seizures has been one of Levin’s other main areas of research. Taking a novel approach to advancing the cause of epilepsy research, he set about organising a crowd funding project – the goal was to write computer algorithms capable of predicting epileptic seizures based on the electrical signals and activity recorded from patients’ brains. More than 10,000 algorithms were submitted from around the world.

Other specific research includes:
1. Machine learning for physiological monitoring and epilepsy diagnosis – to evaluate existing techniques involved in detection of epileptiform activity as well as focus on novel seizure detection methods
2. Model-based depth of anaesthesia monitoring – tracking of brain states from electroencephalographic signals while inferring underlying physiological changes
3. Deep brain stimulation for seizure control – electrodes provide stimulation directly to the brain to help stop the spread of seizures
4. Brain network mechanisms underlying anaesthetic-induced loss of consciousness ¬– by studying the effects of different anaesthetic potencies and searching for a common brain network that is affected, the aim is to find a ‘backbone’ for the generation of consciousness.

Why does consciousness research matter?

An understanding of consciousness, and the mechanisms that create our experience of the world and our place within it, is more important than ever before. Significant to our everyday lives, consciousness research has far reaching implications for: