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MRC Precision Medicine DTP: A Bayesian Modeling and rt-fMRI Neurofeedback Approach to Understanding Autism and Predictive Coding in the Insula


Project Description

Supervisors:
Dr Rajeev Krishnadas
Prof Frank E Pollick
Dr Peggy Seriès

Project summary:
A Bayesian approach to disorders has become increasingly popular. In this approach, a combination of prior experiences and future expectations influence our perception of the world. The objective for the brain is to minimize prediction error (i.e., the difference between expectations and actual outcome). Looking at Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from a Bayesian inference perspective reframes the traditional view of a social disorder into one of a perceptual disorder and allows for modelling of the neuronal mechanisms underlying behavioural symptoms. In the somatosensory domain, predictive coding is integrated with somatosensory input in the insula, a structure that has repeatedly been reported to be atypical in ASD. This structure is also involved in large-scale networks, such as the salience network, and has been associated with cognitive, affective, and sensorimotor processing. Thus, it encompasses a broad range of aspects that are symptomatic in ASD. The process of integration and predictive coding in the insula can be investigated using fMRI, providing a clearer picture on the formation of perceptions in ASD and a potential target for therapeutic interventions. Using these outcomes, realtime fMRI can be used to explore the possibility of altering this model on an individual level and measure corresponding perceptual changes.

This MRC programme is joint between the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. You will be registered at the host institution of the primary supervisor detailed in your project selection.

All applications should be made via the University of Edinburgh, irrespective of project location. Please note that your application along with any supporting documents will be shared with between both the University of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

For information on ‘How to Apply’ is detailed here: https://www.gla.ac.uk/colleges/mvls/graduateschool/precisionmedicine/howtoapply/
Please note that all applications must be submitted via the University of Edinburgh: http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees/index.php?r=site/view&id=919

Please note, you must apply to one of the projects and you must contact the primary supervisor prior to making your application. Additional information on the application process is available from the link above.

For more information about Precision Medicine visit: http://www.ed.ac.uk/usher/precision-medicine

Funding Notes

Start: September 2020

Qualifications criteria: Applicants applying for a MRC DTP in Precision Medicine studentship must have obtained, or will soon obtain, a first or upper-second class UK honours degree or equivalent non-UK qualification, in an appropriate science/technology area.

Residence criteria: The MRC DTP in Precision Medicine grant provides tuition fees and stipend of at least £15,009 (RCUK rate 2019/20) for UK and EU nationals that meet all required eligibility criteria.

Full eligibility details are available: View Website

Enquiries regarding programme:

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