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Characterising network changes during epileptic seizures in paediatric epilepsy surgery patients


Project Description

The Project:
Epilepsy is one of the most common primary neurological conditions, with a particularly high incidence in early childhood. For many patients that do not get better with currently available anti-epileptic medication, epilepsy surgery is an effective and well-tolerated treatment. Yet whilst many patients achieve complete seizure freedom, not all patients benefit from surgery equally.
Computational and network-based models of epileptic networks have already been shown to yield important new insights into whole-brain mechanisms of seizure spread and generation1,2. This PhD fellowship aims to develop patient-specific, mechanistic models of epileptic seizure networks from multi-modal, clinical datasets using a dynamic causal modelling approach3,4. The fellow will have access to intracranial EEG recordings and multimodal imaging datasets of >100 paediatric patients with epilepsy5, as well as excellent computational infrastructure including an in-house high-performance computing cluster.

Eligibility:
This PhD would suit an enthusiastic science graduate with an aptitude for quantitative analysis and a strong interest in translational neuroscience research. Much of the work will involve computational analysis and model development - mostly using MATLAB-based tools. Thus, a passion for learning the necessary computational analysis is essential.
We believe our science is better with a diverse team and we embrace and encourage differences in age, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, nationality, race, religion, and sexual orientation. We particularly encourage applications from groups that are under-represented in academia.

Location:
The fellow will be based at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging - the birthplace of many of the most commonly used neuroimaging tools in human neuroscience; and Great Ormond Street Hospital - the biggest paediatric epilepsy surgery centre in the UK. The fellow will be enrolled at the UCL Institute of Neurology and will be supervised by epilepsy researcher Dr Richard Rosch, theoretical neuroscientist Prof Karl Friston, consultant clinical neurophysiologist Dr Rachel Thornton and consultant neurosurgeon Dr Martin Tisdall.

Funding Notes

This fellowship will provide a monthly stipend (~£2,000pcm), funding for PhD fees at UK/EU level, and allowance for travel and conference attendance.

References

1. Thornton, R. et al. Epileptic networks in focal cortical dysplasia revealed using electroencephalography-functional magnetic resonance imaging. Ann. Neurol. 70, 822–837 (2011).
2. Rosch, R., Baldeweg, T., Moeller, F. & Baier, G. Network dynamics in the healthy and epileptic developing brain. Netw. Neurosci. 2, 41–59 (2018).
3. Friston, K. J. On the modelling of seizure dynamics. Brain 137, 2110–2113 (2014).
4. Tumpa, S. et al. Interictal discharges spread along local recurrent networks between tubers and surrounding cortex. bioRxiv (2019). doi:10.1101/691170
5. Sharma, J. D., Seunarine, K. K., Tahir, M. Z. & Tisdall, M. M. Accuracy of robot-assisted versus optical frameless navigated stereoelectroencephalography electrode placement in children. J. Neurosurg. Pediatr. 23, 297–302 (2019).

How good is research at University College London in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 238.88

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