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DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership: Stratifying patient response to epilepsy treatment using computational models of brain networks

Project Description

An exciting opportunity exists to undertake a PhD project in a multi-disciplinary group. We will develop and apply neuroimaging techniques to understand how brain networks are altered in epilepsy, and if network parameters can be used to predict treatment outcome.

Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological disorder and is caused by abnormal brain networks. Structural and functional brain networks can be modelled using sophisticated neuroimaging techniques. The PhD project will involve modelling of networks using diffusion tensor imaging and resting-state functional MRI data acquired in different cohorts of patients with epilepsy and healthy controls. The overarching goals of the research is to identify brain network-based biomarkers of anti-epileptic drug treatment outcome in patients with a new diagnosis of epilepsy, and of postoperative seizure outcome in patients with severe refractory epilepsy.

Research will be conducted in collaboration between the Institute of Translational Medicine at the University of Liverpool and the School of Computing at Newcastle University. Data has been acquired at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool (https://www.thewaltoncentre.nhs.uk), which is the only Neuroscience dedicated NHS Trust in the UK. The successful applicant will be primarily based at the Liverpool site under the supervision of Dr. Simon Keller, who leads Neuroimaging applications in the Liverpool Epilepsy Research Group (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/translational-medicine/staff/simon-keller/). The successful candidate will also be supervised by Dr. Peter Taylor (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/computing/people/profile/petertaylor.html) and will be required to visit the Newcastle site for training and development for computational analysis of neuroimaging data.

The successful candidate will have a 2.1 or 1st class honours degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. medicine, biology, psychology, neuroscience, physics, mathematics or engineering/computer science). Experience with computer programming and scripting (e.g. matlab) and of neuroimaging research (e.g. in context of an undergraduate research project or postgraduate degree programme) would be a distinct advantage. An interest in clinically-orientated research is desirable.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Computational Model; Connectome; Epilepsy; Graph Theory; MRI; Network; Neuroimaging; Treatment Outcome.

Funding Notes

This studentship is part of the MRC Discovery Medicine North (DiMeN) partnership and is funded for 3.5 years. Including the following financial support:
Tax-free maintenance grant at the national UK Research Council rate
Full payment of tuition fees at the standard UK/EU rate
Research training support grant (RTSG)
Travel allowance for attendance at UK and international meetings
Opportunity to apply for Flexible Funds for further training and development
Please carefully read eligibility requirements and how to apply on our website, then use the link on this page to submit an application: View Website

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