The Parra Lab currently works on interpreting and modulating brain activity in humans non-invasively using electro-encephalography (EEG) and trans-cranial electrical stimulation (TES), or in short, "reading" and "writing" the brain. The work is often coupled with auditory and visual psychophysics and always incorporates computational or mathematical models.

Join the Lab


We are looking for someone with experience with patch-clamp recordings and/or two photon imaging to help understand the cellular mechanisms of electric stimulation. Aside of that, we are always looking for candidates with strong quantitative skills (Physics, CS, EE, Math) who want to transition to neuroscience.


Apply either to Biomedical Engineering, or Behavioral & cognitive Neuroscience. Email your CV prior to application to determine if we are looking for someone with your profile and interests. We provide full financial support.

U.G. and H.S.

Students wanting an internship in the lab need to have strong GPA, a minimum of 12h per week and can in principle commit to 12 months if they like the project. Some programming experience is a must.


CCNY students wanting to do their thesis research in the lab have to commit to a 12 months research project and should have taken one of these graduate courses.


To do a Diploma or MS thesis with your home institution as an intern in this lab, you have to commit to at least 6 months and have your own financial support. We select a projects that is of interest to you and assist with the J1 visa. Strong programming experience is a must.

Contact us

Lab location
Center for Innovation and Discovery
85 St Nicholas Terrace
at front desk, call x8653
Mail address
City College of New York
160 Convent Ave, New York, NY 10031
+1 (212) 650 8653


We are currently recruiting study participants. Our experiments involve watching videos or listening to stories while we record EEG signals.


June 21
New tutorial on EEG component extraction methods presented at CuttingEEG in Glasgow: Slides and code.
April 27
Commentary on new study measuring student engagement in the classroom. The Smithsonian Magazine.
April 20
Short podcast describing the brain reading work in the lap: Brain teaser.
April 7
Andy presented his validation work for TES models at the 7th Annual TMII Symposium at Mount Sinai. Here is the video.
April 3
"Plugging electrodes into your brain like 'Matrix' the movie -- that's not going to happen for a long time ... we're focused on what we can do today." -- Lucas Parra. Comentary on brain reading technology at
March 16
NSF award 3 year grant for "Assessing student attentional engagement from brain activity during STEM instruction".
Feb 12
New paper on modulation of synaptic plasticity with direct current stimulation: Kronberg et al. Brain Stimulation 2017
Feb 7
Transcranial electric stimulation measured in the living human brain in over 1300 electrodes: eLife paper, video, and commentary.


Nov 30
When your brain syncs up with others, you are more likely to remember what happened, even three weeks later: Paper and code.
Nov 22
Child Mind Institude released EEG and eye gaze from 126 kids and adults during multiple tasks, rest and video. Data and code free for all here. We found interesting age and gender effects on the video data.
Sep 29
Lucas Parra explains how tDCS works at the the NIH symposium on trancranial electric stimulation. Here the talk, and here These all the talks from that day.
Jun 5
NIH-NINDS awarded a 5-year R01 grant entiteled "Effects of direct-current stimulation on synaptic plasticity". This project will investigate the effects of tDCS on the strength of connections between neurons, which may inform the treatment of neurological or psychiatric decease.


June 29
NIH-NINDS awarded a 3-year R44 grant entiteled "Targeted Transcranial Electrotherapy to accelerate Stroke Rehabilitation". This project will test the effectiveness individually targeted high-definition TDCS as adjunctive treatment to language rehabilitation in aphasia.
April 23
Several students (at various levels including HS, UG, MS) have been playing in the lab with Human-Computer Interfaces using eye-tracking. This caught the attention of the media when it was submitted to the New York City Science and Engineering Fair: NYC teen's eye-tracking computer project, Fox 5 News.


July 29
Our Nature Communication paper showing that inter-subject synchrony of EEG is a good predictor TV audience response attracted quite a bit of press: Interview on channel NTN24 (Spanish), LA Times, The Guardian, Vocative,, Hazlitt, Business Insider Australia, Sci Tech Today, South China Morning Post, Quartz, Newsfactor, Nature Highlights, The Munich Eye, Tech Times .


The finding that EEG signals can be boosted by puting subjects on their head was written up here: "Getting The Position Right For EEG", Discover, (October 7, 2012). "Tilt your head to improve brain signals", NewScientist, (November 30, 2011).
Our study on measuring engagement with EEG during movies generated quite a buzz: Zombies, Twitter, And Braaiiins!: The Neuroscience of The Walking Dead, FastCompany, Co.Create blog (Nov 14, 2012) "New Research Could Help Advertisers Read Your Mind" Reuters TV, (July 10, 2012). "Your brain on horror movies" Discovery News, (July 13, 2012). "Alfred Hitchcock, Your Brain, and DARPA" Neuromarketing, (June 13, 2012). and the list goes on: Scientific American, and more.


and prior ...
Our work on brain-reading technology has generated a few articles over the years: Mind Reading Machines, Discover Magazine (October 2011). BreakOut!: Your Brain's Search Engine, Video Network (January 2010). Documentary: The Brain, History Channel (November 10, 2008). "Tapping the Computing Power of the Unconscious Brain" IEEE Spectrum Video (August 2008). "A Brainy Approach to Image Sorting", IEEE Spectrum (April 2008). "When the brain is a component of the computer", Politiken (Danish newspaper, July 2007). "Brain-Computer Interfaces: Where Human and Machine Meet", IEEE Computer Magazine (January 2007). "Subliminal Search", MIT Technology Review (July 2006). "Man and machine vision in perfect harmony", New Scientist, (July 2006)
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