Our group uses a combination of behavioural and brain imaging tools (i.e. MEG) to probe the brain and investigate the patterns of brain activation as they relate to perceptual-motor and social-emotional development in children and adults with developmental disabilities. Our research has shown that in adults with Down syndrome, there are distinct differences in the timing, pattern and location of brain activity during functional tasks. We will be exploring how information based on brain dynamics can be effectively integrated into intervention for children and adults with developmental disabilities.


Stuck in a State of Inattention? Functional Hyperconnectivity as an Indicator of Disturbed Intrinsic Brain Dynamics in Adolescents With Concussion: A Pilot Study
ASN Neuro
Angela M. Muller and Naznin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1177/1759091417753802

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is associated with baseline child sport concussion assessment tool third edition scores in child hockey players
Brain Injury
Laurel J. Collings and Nathan E. Cook and Shaun Porter and Cody Kusch and Jonathan Sun and Naznin Virji-Babul and Grant L. Iverson and William J. Panenka
DOI: 10.1080/02699052.2017.1377351

Changes in brain-behavior relationships following a 3-month pilot cognitive intervention program for adults with traumatic brain injury
S. Porter and I.J. Torres and W. Panenka and Z. Rajwani and D. Fawcett and A. Hyder and N. Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2017.e00373

Infants and adults have similar regional functional brain organization for the perception of emotions
Neuroscience Letters
N. Rotem-Kohavi and T.F. Oberlander and N. Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2017.04.031

Development of the Sports Organization Concussion Risk Assessment Tool (SOCRAT)
Brain Injury
A. Yeung and V. Munjal and N. Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1080/02699052.2016.1271456

Associating Physical Activity Levels with Motor Performance and Physical Function in Childhood Survivors of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Physiotherapy Canada
Stanley H. Hung and Anne Rankin and Naznin Virji-Babul and Sheila Pritchard and Christopher Fryer and Kristin L. Campbell
DOI: 10.3138/ptc.2015-67lhc

The Child Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (Child SCAT3): normative values and correspondence between child and parent symptom scores in male child athletes
BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine
Shaun Porter and Jenna Smith-Forrester and Najah Alhajri and Cody Kusch and Jonathan Sun and Bill Barrable and William J Panenka and Naznin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1136/bmjsem-2015-000029

Comparison of foam-based and spring-loaded dry EEG electrodes with wet electrodes in resting and moving conditions
2015 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC)
Arnold Yeung and Harinath Garudadri and Carolyn Van Toen and Patrick Mercier and Ozgur Balkan and Scott Makeig and Naznin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1109/embc.2015.7320036

Source-domain spectral EEG analysis of sports-related concussion via Measure Projection Analysis
2015 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC)
Ozgur Balkan and Naznin Virji-Babul and Makoto Miyakoshi and Scott Makeig and Harinath Garudadri
DOI: 10.1109/embc.2015.7319284

Therapists’ Perceptions of Social Media and Video Game Technologies in Upper Limb Rehabilitation
JMIR Serious Games
Sandy K Tatla and Navid Shirzad and Keith R Lohse and Naznin Virji-Babul and Alison M Hoens and Liisa Holsti and Linda C Li and Kimberly J Miller and Melanie Y Lam and HF Machiel Van der Loos
DOI: 10.2196/games.3401

Alterations in Resting-State Brain Networks in Concussed Adolescent Athletes
Journal of Neurotrauma
Michael Borich and Aliya-Nur Babul and Po Hsiang Yuan and Lara Boyd and Naznin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1089/neu.2013.3269

Perceptions of Technology and Its Use for Therapeutic Application for Individuals With Hemiparesis: Findings From Adult and Pediatric Focus Groups
JMIR Rehabil Assist Technol
DOI: 10.2196/rehab.3484

The development of the Pediatric Motivation Scale for rehabilitation
Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy
Sandy K. Tatla and Tal Jarus and Naznin Virji-Babul and Liisa Holsti
DOI: 10.1177/0008417414556884

Network analysis of perception-action coupling in infants
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Naama Rotem-Kohavi and Courtney G. E. Hilderman and Aiping Liu and Nadia Makan and Jane Z. Wang and Naznin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00209

The effects of motivating interventions on rehabilitation outcomes in children and youth with acquired brain injuries: A systematic review
Brain Injury
Sandy K. Tatla and Karen Sauve and Tal Jarus and Naznin Virji-Babul and Liisa Holsti
DOI: 10.3109/02699052.2014.890747

Changes in Functional Brain Networks following Sports-Related Concussion in Adolescents
Journal of Neurotrauma
Naznin Virji-Babul and Courtney G.E. Hilderman and Nadia Makan and Aiping Liu and Jenna Smith-Forrester and Chris Franks and Z.J. Wang
DOI: 10.1089/neu.2014.3450

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy
Michael R. Borich and Katharine L. Cheung and Paul Jones and Vera Khramova and Lauren Gavrailoff and Lara A. Boyd and Naznin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1097/npt.0b013e31829f7460

Combining Whole-Brain Voxel-Wise Analysis withIn VivoTractography of Diffusion Behavior after Sports-Related Concussion in Adolescents: A Preliminary Report
Journal of Neurotrauma
Michael Borich and Nadia Makan and Lara Boyd and Naznin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1089/neu.2012.2818

Neural correlates of music recognition in Down syndrome
Brain and Cognition
N. Virji-Babul and A. Moiseev and W. Sun and T. Feng and N. Moiseeva and K.J. Watt and M. Huotilainen
DOI: 10.1016/j.bandc.2012.11.007

Evidence for outcomes of motivational rehabilitation interventions for children and adolescents with cerebral palsy: an American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine systematic review
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology
Sandy K Tatla and Karen Sauve and Naznin Virji-Babul and Liisa Holsti and Charlene Butler and Hendrik F Machiel Van Der Loos
DOI: 10.1111/dmcn.12147

Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Sports-Related Concussion in Adolescents
Pediatric Neurology
Naznin Virji-Babul and Michael R. Borich and Nadia Makan and Tiffany Moore and Kira Frew and Carolyn A. Emery and Lara A. Boyd
DOI: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2012.09.005

A variational Bayes spatiotemporal model for electromagnetic brain mapping
F. S. Nathoo and A. Babul and A. Moiseev and N. Virji-Babul and M. F. Beg
DOI: 10.1111/biom.12126

Distinct DNA methylation patterns of cognitive impairment and trisomy 21 in down syndrome
BMC Medical Genomics
Meaghan J Jones and Pau Farré and Lisa M McEwen and Julia L MacIsaac and Kim Watt and Sarah M Neumann and Eldon Emberly and Max S Cynader and Naznin Virji-Babul and Michael S Kobor
DOI: 10.1186/1755-8794-6-58

Dynamics of oscillatory changes associated with the perception of human motion
Naznin Virji-Babul and Alexander Moiseev and Wenqi Sun and Arman Fesharaki and Faisal Beg and Urs Ribary
DOI: 10.1097/wnr.0b013e328357288e

A Skew-t space-varying regression model for the spectral analysis of resting state brain activity
Statistical Methods in Medical Research
Salimah Ismail and Wenqi Sun and Farouk S Nathoo and Arif Babul and Alexader Moiseev and Mirza Faisal Beg and Naznin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1177/0962280212448974

Neural correlates of action understanding in infants: influence of motor experience
Brain and Behavior
N. Virji-Babul and A. Rose and N. Moiseeva and N. Makan
DOI: 10.1002/brb3.50

Recognition of Facial Expressions of Emotion in Adults with Down Syndrome
Physical & Occupational Therapy In Pediatrics
Naznin Virji-Babul and Kimberley Watt and Farouk Nathoo and Peter Johnson
DOI: 10.3109/01942638.2011.653626

Aspects of motor development in Down syndrome
Neurocognitive Rehabilitation of Down Syndrome
DOI: 10.1017/cbo9780511919299.012

Altered brain dynamics during voluntary movement in individuals with Down syndrome
Naznin Virji-Babul and Alexander Moiseev and Nadya Moiseeva and Wenqi Sun and Urs Ribary and Ira Lott
DOI: 10.1097/wnr.0b013e328346a1a0

The perception of friendship in adults with Down syndrome
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
K. J. Watt and P. Johnson and N. Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2010.01330.x

Neural Mechanisms Underlying Action Observation in Adults With Down Syndrome
American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Naznin Virji-Babul and Alexander Moiseev and Teresa Cheung and Daniel J. Weeks and Douglas Cheyne and Urs Ribary
DOI: 10.1352/1944-7588-115.2.113

Pediatric CNS Pathophysiology
17th International Conference on Biomagnetism Advances in Biomagnetism – Biomag2010
Julia M. Stephen and Sven Braeutigam and Paul L. Furlong and Urs Ribary and Timothy P. L. Roberts and Nazin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-12197-5_55

Evidence for Slowing as a Function of Index of Difficulty in Young Adults With Down Syndrome
American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Melanie Y. Lam and Nicola J. Hodges and Naznin Virji-Babul and Mark L. Latash
DOI: 10.1352/1944-7558-114.6.411

External landmark and head-shape-based functional data normalization
Computerized Medical Imaging and Graphics
Mirza Faisal Beg and Stephen Wong and Ali R. Khan and Teresa Cheung and Naznin Virji-Babul and Anthony Herdman
DOI: 10.1016/j.compmedimag.2009.04.008

Adults with Down syndrome show right hemisphere dominance during right-handed voluntary movements.
N Virji-Babul and A Moiseev and D Cheyne and U Ribary
DOI: 10.1016/s1053-8119(09)71857-9

Spatial-temporal dynamics of cortical activity underlying reaching and grasping
Human Brain Mapping
Naznin Virji-Babul and Alexander Moiseev and Teresa Cheung and Daniel Weeks and Douglas Cheyne and Urs Ribary
DOI: 10.1002/hbm.20853

Joint stiffness and gait pattern evaluation in children with Down syndrome
Gait & Posture
Manuela Galli and Chiara Rigoldi and Reinald Brunner and Naznin Virji-Babul and Albertini Giorgio
DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2008.03.001

Changes in mu rhythm during action observation and execution in adults with Down syndrome: Implications for action representation
Neuroscience Letters
Naznin Virji-Babul and Alexander Moiseev and Teresa Cheung and Daniel Weeks and Douglas Cheyne and Urs Ribary
DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.03.022

Investigation of a two-point maximum entropy regularization method for signal enhancement applied to magnetoencephalography data
Biomedical Signal Processing and Control
Q. Matthews and A. Jirasek and N. Virji-Babul and A. Babul and T. Cheung
DOI: 10.1016/j.bspc.2007.09.004

Neural activity involved in the perception of human and meaningful object motion
Naznin Virji-Babul and Teresa Cheung and Daniel Weeks and Kimberly Kerns and Maggie Shiffrar
DOI: 10.1097/wnr.0b013e32821c5470

Use of health care guidelines in patients with Down syndrome by family physicians across Canada
Paediatrics and Child Health
DOI: 10.1093/pch/12.3.179

Magnetoencephalographic analysis of cortical activity in adults with and without Down syndrome
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
N. Virji-Babul and T. Cheung and D. Weeks and A. T. Herdman and D. Cheyne
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2007.00999.x

Children with Down Syndrome
Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
Anne Jobling and Naznin Virji-Babul and Doug Nichols
DOI: 10.1080/07303084.2006.10597892

The Learn at Play Program (LAPP): Merging Family, Developmental Research, Early Intervention, and Policy Goals for Children with Down Syndrome
Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Grace Iarocci and Naznin Virji-Babul and Pratibha Reebye
DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-1130.2006.00048.x

Integrated therapy for stuttering and expressive syntax in Down syndrome: A case report
International Journal on Disability and Human Development
Susan Fawcett and Naznin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1515/ijdhd.2006.5.4.391

A preliminary investigation into the efficacy of virtual reality as a tool for rehabilitation for children with Down syndrome
International Journal on Disability and Human Development
Robyn ¿ Hovorka and Naznin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1515/ijdhd.2006.5.4.351

Perceptual-motor deficits in children with Down syndrome: Implications for intervention
Down Syndrome Research and Practice
Naznin Virji-Babul and Kimberly Kerns and Eric Zhou and Asha Kapur and Maggie Shiffrar
DOI: 10.3104/reports.308

Influence of a Cognitive Task in Postural Stability on Children with and without Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Preliminary Investigation
Physiotherapy Canada
Naznin Virji-Babul and Kimberly A. Kerns
DOI: 10.2310/6640.2005.50011

Stepping over obstacles: anticipatory modifications in children with and without Down syndrome
Experimental Brain Research
Naznin Virji-Babul and Michelle Brown
DOI: 10.1007/s00221-004-1971-5

Stiffness and postural stability in adults with Down syndrome
Experimental Brain Research
A. Webber and N. Virji-Babul and R. Edwards and M. Lesperance
DOI: 10.1007/s00221-003-1743-7

Performing movement sequences with knowledge of results under different visual conditions in adults with Down syndrome
Down Syndrome Research and Practice
Naznin Virji-Babul and Jennifer Lloyd and Geraldine Van Gyn
DOI: 10.3104/reports.137

Influence of joint interactional effects on the coordination of planar two-joint arm movements
Experimental Brain Research
N. Virji-Babul and J.D. Cooke
DOI: 10.1007/bf00241504

Reprogramming of muscle activation patterns at the wrist in compensation for elbow reaction torques during planar two-joint arm movements
Experimental Brain Research
J.D. Cooke and N. Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1007/bf00241366

Effects of gravitational forces on single joint arm movements in humans
Experimental Brain Research
N. Virji-Babul and J.D. Cooke and S.H. Brown
DOI: 10.1007/bf00239600

Effects of Post-operative Environment on Recovery of Function Following Brain Damage: A brief literature review
Naznin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.1016/s0031-9406(10)60377-x

Analysis of a management model for the treatment of hearing-impaired infants
Physiotherapy Theory and Practice
Naznin Virji-Babul
DOI: 10.3109/09593989009048294


Aging in Down Syndrome: A Model for Preclinical Alzheimer's Disease
Postmortem studies show that at 40 years of age, almost all subjects with DS have neuropathological changes that meet the pathological criteria for AD. These changes include extensive cerebral atrophy, accumulation of ßamyloid, extracellular senile plaques and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles in the hippocampus and frontal and temporal cortices. DS is therefore an extremely useful model to study the preclinical stages of AD as middle aged individuals can be identified prior to any clinical signs of dementia. Our goal is to use MEG data to compute measures of functional connectivity that may be useful in predicting the onset of dementia.

Perception of Motion and Emotion
Social behavior depends upon inferences that are based on the perception and interpretation of other people’s actions and emotions. Given the fundamental importance of accurately perceiving socially relevant information, we are studying how children and adults (with and without DS) perceive this information. We present short video clips showing animations of people performing different actions or portraying a variety of emotional expressions in the movement of their bodies. We are currently investigating how the underlying patterns of brain activity are modulated by the emotional content of the actions.

Mirrors in the Brain
Humans have a remarkable ability to understand the actions and intentions of other people, and to imitate these same actions. How we understand and interpret the actions and an emotion of others has been a central question in neuroscience. Advances in neuroscience in the last decade have led to the discovery of new class of brain cells called mirror neurons. These cells not only fire when we perform an action but also when we watch someone else performing the same action. This discovery has generated tremendous excitement as some scientists speculate that the mirror neuron system may form the basis of our social behaviour, our ability to imitate, acquire language and show empathy. The question we asked is whether this system is intact in individuals with Down syndrome. Results from our work indicates that although there is a link between perception and action in individuals with DS, the mirror neuron system may not function in the same way as in typical individuals. We are now in the process of designing research studies to investigate whether targeted “observation intervention” can cause changes in the underlying activation patterns in the brain.


Virji-Babul, N. Weeks, D., Roberts, L., et al. (2006-2008) MEG Laboratory Infrastructure Funds. Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) Grant (160,000.00).

Virji-Babul, N., Ribary, Urs. NSERC Discovery Grant ($75,000: 2008-2013).

Virji-Babul, N. NSERC Discovery Grant (2014)

Honours & Awards

International Scholarship, Columbia University, New York, NY (1989-1990)