Brain Imaging and Hemodynamics

Summary

This research area is concerned with developing quantitative, physiologically-based, mathematical models of neural activity and resulting blood and oxygen flows in brain tissue, in applying the results to design and interpret experiments and clinical studies on brain structure, and in developing new methods for analysis of brain structure and networks, starting from magnetic resonance imaging technologies.

Supervisor(s)

Professor Peter Robinson

Research Location

School of Physics

Program Type

Masters/PHD

Synopsis

We have developed quantitative, physiologically-based, mathematical models of neural activity and hemodynamics (flow of blood and oxygen) in the brain, both in response to stimuli and in the resting state. We have shown that that these models successfully reproduce a wide range of phenomena, including the recent prediction and experimental confirmation of cortical hemodynamic waves that propagate across the brain after a stimulus. We have also shown how the results can be used to sharpen images and image in new ways. Numerous areas exist for PhD, MSc, or Honors projects, which could include theoretical, computational, experimental, and/or clinically-related components in cooperation with our collaborators locally and at other universities.

Specific projects lie in areas including:
1) Modeling of blood flow in the brain (hemodynamics) under a variety of visual and other stimuli.
2) Using modeling outcomes to design stimuli that can better probe brain structure and dynamics to obtain new insights into brain function.
3) Better relating brain activity to underlying brain network structure and physiology.
4) Developing new methods of deducing network structure from activity patterns.

Additional Information

Our approach is to formulate an overall project topic in close consultation with the prospective student, and to allow the approach and details to evolve with increasing student input as the candidature develops. Because of the highly interdisciplinary nature of the spectrum of projects, students from a wide variety of backgrounds will be able to find suitable projects in this area, with emphases ranging from highly theoretical to highly applied/clinical in nature. Top-up funding may be available for students of University Medal standard, or equivalent. Travel support to present research results at national and international conferences is also available.

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Keywords

biological physics, biomathematics, brain dynamics, fMRI, EEG, field theory, hemodynamics, BOLD signal, physics, Brain imaging, Neuroscience, brain networks, Simulation, magnetic resonance imaging, neural field theory, fluid dynamics.

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 675

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