Brigham and Women’s Hospital Recognizes ECE Student for Research on CTE in Retired NFL Players

PhD Student Marcia Sahaya Louis Receives Research Excellence Award

By Shereen Abubakr (QST ’18)


PhD student Marcia Sahaya Louis received the Research Excellence Award for a poster submitted to the Discover Brigham 2017 program. Louis is advised by Ajay Joshi.

Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD student Marcia Sahaya Louis (ECE ‘21) received a Research Excellence Award for a submission to the Discover Brigham 2017’s poster session. Discover Brigham is hosted by Brigham Research Institute at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The event featured a selection of 100 posters; and this year, Louis was one of ten posters that were recognized for excellence. Louis’ submission is titled “Neurospectroscopic Signatures of CTE-Related Impairments in Retired NFL Players.”

Louis’ expects that her research will lead to a definitive diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and monitoring the progress of CTE and its treatment. More specifically, the goal of Louis’ research is to identify spectroscopic biomarkers for CTE in football players with repeated head injury. Through data collected and processed by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Louis was able to conduct data analysis using machine learning to identify possible biomarkers for CTE.

Research surrounding CTE-related impairments is important because when CTE is diagnosed postmortem, there is no definitive in-vivo diagnosis due to heterogeneous clinical symptoms that often overlap with other neurodegenerative diseases. The machine learning model developed in Marcia’s research is useful for the identification of brain chemicals measured by magnetic resonance spectroscopy. These brain chemicals may serve as biomarkers relevant to the CTE diagnosis.

Louis is part of a multidisciplinary collaborative research effort. Her expertise in ECE is complemented by contributions from experts in the Department of Neurology, Boston University and researchers at the Center for Clinical Spectroscopy and Psychiatric Neuroimaging Laboratory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.