PhD Studentship - Understanding Neurovascular Coupling and its Importance in the Interpretation of Modern Neuroimaging Techniques

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: Understanding neurovascular coupling and its importance in the interpretation of modern neuroimaging techniques

Primary supervisor:  Dr J Berwick

Project description: During the past two decades, blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has become the scientific technique of choice for investigating human brain function in the field of cognitive neuroscience. It exploits the local alterations in blood flow produced by changes in neural activity, termed neurovascular coupling. However, BOLD fMRI does not measure neural activity directly and hence a fundamental problem exists: how to interpret BOLD signal changes and make inferences about the neural activity that generates them. This is far from straightforward because the mechanisms linking events that produce neural changes to BOLD signaling are highly complex. For example, increased BOLD activity in a vast range of tasks and experimental conditions is interpreted as indicating areas of increased neural activity. However, many neural circuits in the brain are inhibitory and little is known about what corresponding fMRI signals are generated. Would an inhibitory neural signal be expected to generated negative BOLD for example? Consequently, multi-modal experiments that directly compare different indicators of hemodynamic activity and electrophysiological measures of neural signals are necessary if BOLD contrast is to be correctly interpreted.

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