PhD Studentship - Assessing the Hemodynamic Signal Sources of fMRI based Spontaneous Connectivity Maps and how Neuronal Plasticity such as Increased Spatial Working Memory can Change these Networks

University of Sheffield

Fully Funded PhD Scholarship in Psychology at the University of Sheffield

This is one of many projects in competition for the current funding opportunities available within the Department of Psychology

Project title: Assessing the hemodynamic signal sources of fMRI based spontaneous connectivity maps and how neuronal plasticity such as increased spatial working memory can change these networks

Primary supervisor: Dr J Berwick

Project description: Many psychiatric (e.g. schizophrenia) and neurological diseases are characterised by a disturbance of the connections between different parts of the brain that need to communicate with one another. A technique called blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can determine levels of different activity in parts of the living human brain and how malfunctions can occur in disease. However, this technique has been extended to look at communication between brain regions based on the similarity between ongoing signals (‘brain waves’) in connected parts of the brain. Neuroimaging allows precise information to be gathered about the breakdown of this communication between structures in disease states. However, these magnetic techniques are based on changes in the oxygen content of the blood rather than direct measures of brain activity. They are used because changes in oxygen content can be observed with an MRI scanner without performing surgery on the brain. There is concern, however, because the manifestation of these ongoing brain waves in blood oxygen content is poorly understood and as such the validity of using them to infer communication between brain structures has been questioned. By directly measuring spontaneous brain activity, neuroimaging signals and blood oxygen content at the same time we hope to understand the relationships between them and allow this potentially important aspect of neuroimaging to further our understanding of brain function and its malfunction in disease states.

Research Groups Involved: Dr Myles Jones, Dr Jason Berwick, Dr Aneurin Kennerley, Dr Ying Zheng, Dr CHUANG Kai-Hsiang – Singapore Bioimaging consortium

Start date: 1 October 2018

Requirements: Applicants must have a minimum of a first class or high upper second-class undergraduate honours degree and a distinction or high merit at Masters level in psychology or a related discipline.

Funding: Tuition fees £4,194 per year Living Expenses £14,500.00

Science Graduate School

As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you'll be part of the Science Graduate School. You'll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You'll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience the breadth of technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit www.sheffield.ac.uk/sgs to learn more.

For further details and the application process please visit:

www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgradapplication

Closing date for applications is 5pm Wednesday 24 January 2018

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

Northern England