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  Model-based functional spectroscopy of brain metabolites associated with cognition


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  Dr Adam Berrington  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

How can we better understand cognitive impairments in mental health disorders? If we do, we may be able to better target future therapies. This challenge requires the development of new brain imaging techniques.

In particular, differences in neurochemicals (such as glutamate or GABA) in the brain may explain the differences we observe in cognitive function. In this project, we will develop new tools using functional MR spectroscopy (fMRS) to non-invasively detect neurochemical changes while participants engage in a cognitive task. This offers a promising technique to investigate cognition. However, sensitivity to detect changes is limited by measurement noise. In addition, neurochemical data is collected separately to the concomitant blood response which occurs during brain activation (fMRI). We will research new data-driven computational approaches to model neurochemical changes. We will also combine fMRS with fMRI scans allowing us to obtain more information simultaneously. The developed techniques will be applied to study neurochemical changes in healthy volunteers during performance monitoring, which is often impaired in individuals with psychosis.

 The student will engage with interdisciplinary teams of physicists, neuroscientists and engineers. They will gain computational skills (Python, C++) coding their own pipelines and MR sequences to run on the 7 T MR scanner.

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Medicine (26) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

Full information about funding and application details, including application form, reference form plus Equality, diversity and inclusion form are available at https://more.bham.ac.uk/mrc-aim/phd-opportunities/ . The deadline for submitting applications is 9.00 am GMT, Monday, 16 January 2023. Please ensure that your application is submitted with all required documentation by the above deadline as incomplete applications will not be considered. Interviews will take place on Monday 27 February, Tuesday 28 February and Wednesday, 1st March and will be held via Zoom.

Where will I study?