Thomas J. Covey PhD

Thomas Covey

Thomas J. Covey
PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Neurology

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences


Specialty/Research Focus

Biostatistics; Clinical Neurophysiology; Multiple Sclerosis; Neurobiology; Neurology; Neuropsychology; Psychology

Contact Information
Department of Neurology
Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurosciences
Sherman Hall Annex Room 114
Buffalo, New York 14214
Phone: 716-829-5989
Fax: NA
tjcovey@buffalo.edu



Professional Summary:

I am interested in brain processes that enable cognitive functions and contribute to individual differences in cognitive abilities. My particular focus is assessing brain function associated with stimulus categorization and resource allocation during working memory. Working memory involves a complex set of mental processes that are at the core of human cognition, general intellectual functioning and aspects of daily life. I study working memory and related cognitive processes (i.e., executive functions and cognitive control) in normal human populations and in patients with clinical disorders that compromise these cognitive abilities. This research utilizes a variety of methodological approaches, including dense-electrode EEG and event-related potential (ERP) measures of brain function, psychometric and neuropsychological measurement and MRI measures of brain structure and function.

A central aim of my work is characterizing the nature of large-scale brain network activity that underlies impaired cognitive performance, particularly in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The relationship between the brain and behavior is an emphasis of this research. A major goal of this work is to establish measures of cognitive processing that have clinical value and are useful as outcome measures for translational research.

Another primary area of my work is the examination of neuroplasticity of working memory and other cognitive processes. Along these lines, I am exploring the impact of targeted training of working memory and stimulus interference/distraction control processes on cognition and brain function. This research aims to disentangle the specific neurocognitive mechanisms that are affected by different forms of cognitive training, and to understand the generalizability of these kinds of interventions. My long-term goal is to determine the viability of cognitive training for improving outcomes in cognitively impaired clinical populations, such as patients with MS.

Education and Training:

  • PhD, Neuroscience, University at Buffalo (2016)
  • MS, Neuroscience, University at Buffalo (2010)
  • BS, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester (2008)

Employment:

  • Faculty, Center for Cognitive Science, University at Buffalo (2019-present)
  • Assistant Professor, Neurology, University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (2017-present)
  • Graduate Faculty, Neuroscience Program, University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (2017-present)
  • Research Assistant Professor, Neurology, University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (2016–2017)
  • Laboratory Manager, Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurosciences, University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (2011–2016)

Awards and Honors:

  • Dean‘s Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research (2017)
  • Neuroscience Thesis Award (2017)
  • Gina M. Finzi Memorial Summer Graduate Fellowship (2012)
  • Society for Neuroscience Graduate Student Travel Award (2011)
  • Gina M. Finzi Memorial Summer Graduate Fellowship (2011)

Research Expertise:

  • Cognitive impairment: Cognitive functioning in patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Cognitive processes: Working memory; executive functions; cognitive control; response inhibition; problem solving and reasoning ability
  • Cognitive training: Targeted training of cognitive processes such as working memory, interference control, and selective attention
  • Electroencephalography (EEG) and Event-Related Potential (ERP) methods: Using ERP components derived from the ongoing EEG as indices of specific cognitive processes; specific expertise with N2 and P3 ERP component measures

Research Centers:

  • Jacobs Neurological Institute

Grants and Sponsored Research:

  • October 2020–September 2021
    A novel method for the investigation of the neural underpinnings of performance on the Symbol Digit Modalities Test in Multiple Sclerosis
    National Multiple Sclerosis Society
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $55,000
  • October 2020–September 2021
    Supporting an aging workforce in future transportation and delivery work
    National Science Foundation
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    $149,580
  • June 2017–June 2021
    The effects of working memory training on brain function, structure, and cognition in MS
    National Multiple Sclerosis Society
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    $622,839
  • January 2018–January 2021
    The effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms on behavioral, psychological, and neurophysiological measures of decision making in police officers
    National Institutes of Justice
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    $814,158
  • October 2016–November 2020
    Neurocognitive, electrophysiological and MRI changes associated with low level laser therapy (photobiomodulation) in the treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury: A pilot study
    American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $68,000
  • August 2014–April 2016
    Does working memory training improve brain function and cognition in healthy individuals and in patients with Multiple Sclerosis?
    National Multiple Sclerosis Society
    Role: Co-Investigator
    $60,000

Journal Articles:

  • Turtola, ZP, Covey, TJ. (2021) Working memory training impacts neural activity during untrained cognitive tasks in people with multiple sclerosis. Experimental Neurology (Jan)(335) doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.expneurol.2020.113487
  • Covey, TJ, Golan, D, Doniger, GM, Sergott, R, Zarif, M, Srinivasan, J, Bumstead, B, Wilken, J, Buhse, M, Mebrahtu, S, & Gudesblatt, M. (2021) Visual evoked potential latency predicts cognitive function in people with multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neurology (Apr) doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00415-021-10561-2
  • Covey TJ, Shucard, JL, Shucard, DW, Stegen, S, Benedict RHB. (2012) Comparison of neuropsychological involvement and vocational outcomes in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Multiple Sclerosis patients. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (May), 18(3): 541-555.
  • Covey TJ, Shucard, JL, Shucard, DW. (2016) Evaluation of inhibitory control and distraction using event-related potentials in healthy individuals and patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Jun), 9743: 165-176.
  • Covey TJ, Shucard, JL, Shucard, DW. (2017) Event-related potential indices of cognitive dysfunction and brain resource reallocation during working memory in patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Clinical Neuophysiology (Apr), 128: 604-621.
  • Covey TJ, Shucard JL, Benedict RHB, Weinstock-Guttman B, Shucard DW. (2018) Improved cognitive performance and event-related potential changes following working memory training in patients with multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis Journal - Experimental, Translational, and Clinical (Jan), 4(1): 1-15.
  • Covey TJ, Zivadinov, R, Shucard, JL, Shucard, DW. (2011) Information processing speed, neural efficiency, and working memory performance in Multiple Sclerosis: Differential relationships with structural MRI. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology (Nov), 33(10): 1129-1145.
  • Wang, X, Covey TJ. (2020) Neurophysiological indices of the transfer of cognitive training gains to untrained tasks. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (May), 171: 1-15.
  • Shucard, DW, Covey, TJ, Shucard, JL. (2016) Single trial variability of the P3 event-related potential as an index of neural efficiency during working memory. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Jun), 9743: 273-283.
  • Covey, T.J., Shucard, J.L., Violanti, J.M., Lee, J., Shucard, D.W. (2013) The effects of exposure to traumatic stressors on inhibitory control in police officers: a dense electrode array study using a Go/NoGo continuous performance task. International Journal of Psychophysiology (Mar), 87(3): 363-375.
  • Covey TJ, Shucard JL, Shucard DW. (2019) Working memory training and perceptual discrimination training impact overlapping and distinct neurocognitive processes: Evidence from event-related potentials and transfer of training gains. Cognition (Jan), 182: 50-72.
See all (1 more)

Books and Book Chapters:

  • Covey TJ, Shucard, DW, Meynadasy, M, Mang, T, Arany, PR. (2019) Photobiomodulation in the Brain. In: Photobiomodulation as a potential therapeutic strategy for improving cognitive and functional outcomes in traumatic brain injury. Elsevier, 1-28.

Professional Memberships:

  • Cognitive Neuroscience Society (2019–present)
  • Society fo Psychophysiological Research (2014–present)
  • Society for Neuroscience (2010–present)
  • International Honor Society in Psychology, Psi Chi (2009–present)

Presentations:

  • "Decoding the neural dynamics of complex cognitive operations: An event-related potential approach" Department of Neurology Grand Rounds; University at Buffalo (2020)
  • "Improving efficiency at the desktop of the mind: The effects of working memory training on cognitive performance, brain function, and clinical outcomes" Cognitive Science Colloquium; University at Buffalo (2019)
  • "The effects of working memory training on cognitive performance and neural activity" The Center for Hearing and Deafness Seminar Series; University at Buffalo; Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences (2019)
  • "Neurophysiological and behavioral evidence for the efficacy of working memory training as a method for cognitive rehabilitation" Department of Rehabilitation Science Seminar Series; University at Buffalo (2019)
  • "Improved cognitive performance and enhancement of neural activity following targeted training of working memory" UB Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society; University at Buffalo (2018)
  • "Neurocognitive plasticity in normal individuals and in patients with neurological dysfunction" Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology Seminar Series; University at Buffalo (2018)
  • "Event-related potentials as an objective functional index of mental fatigue and cognitive performance in multiple sclerosis" Biogen Meeting (2018)
  • "Improving performance at the cognitive desktop: The effects of targeted working memory training on neuroscognitive processes in healthy individuals and in patients with Multiple Sclerosis" UB Department of Neurology Grand Rounds; University at Buffalo (2017)
  • "Visual-verbal working memory training versus visual search training have overlapping and distinct transfer effects on tasks of spatial working memory and cognitive control: An event-related potential study" Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience; Society for Neuroscience (2017)
  • "Use of neurocognitive outcome measures in testing the efficacy of photobiomodulation therapy for the treatment of TBI: A pilot study" Center for Translational and Cllinical Biophotonics Seminar Series; University at Buffalo (2017)
  • "Evaluation of inhibitory control and distraction using event-related potentials in healthy individuals and patients with Multiple Sclerosis" Human-Computer Interaction International Conference; ; Foundations of Augmented Cognition (2016)
  • "The effects of training working memory and stimulus interference control processes on cognitive performance and underlying brain activity: Preliminary findings" UB Neurology Grand Rounds; Department of Neurology, University at Buffalo (2015)
  • "An introduction to Event-Related Potentials (ERPs): The good, the bad, and the noisy" UB Dept of Communicative Disorders and Sciences Colloquium; Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, University at Buffalo (2014)
  • "The neural basis of cognitive functioning: Methods, experimental findings, and implications" Biology Major Seminar Series; Biology Department, Canisius College (2013)
  • "Event-related potential indices of working memory functioning: Implications for the evaluation of cognitive dysfunction in clinical populations and outcomes following targeted training" Brain and Behavior Science Symposium; University at Buffalo (2013)
  • "Electrophysiological, behavioral, and structural indices of working memory dysfunction in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus" Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience; Society for Neuroscience (2012)
  • "Single trial variability of event-related brain potentials as an index of neural efficiency during information processing" Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience; Society for Neuroscience (2011)
  • "Processing speed, neural efficiency and working memory: Their relationship with MRI measures in Multiple Sclerosis" UB Neuroscience Research Day; Society for Neuroscience Buffalo Chapter (2010)
  • "Complex, not simple, processing speed is associated with working memory performance and structural MRI indices of brain damage in multiple sclerosis" Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience; Society for Neuroscience (2009)
  • "Cognitive training in normal and neurologically impaired individuals." Behavioral Neuroscience Brown Bag Seminar; University at Buffalo
See all (10 more)

Service Activities:

  • Neuroscience Program Graduate Education Committee; Member (2021)
  • Beverly Petterson Bishop and Charles W. Bishop Neuroscience Travel Award Committee; Member (2021)
  • Buffalo Neuroscience Research Day Planning Committee; Chair (2020–2021)

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Contact Information

Department of Neurology
Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurosciences
Sherman Hall Annex Room 114
Buffalo, New York 14214
Phone: 716-829-5989
Fax: NA
tjcovey@buffalo.edu