School of Psychology News & events

Research Summary

Bright, M (2013 - 2014) Isolating vascular and neural components in functional neuroimaging. Wellcome Trust. £47,491.

Summary

This Fellowship will provide one year of support for Dr. Molly Bright, currently a post-doctoral research associate at CUBRIC, as she transitions to scientific independence.

Dr. Bright will develop and characterise a new blood pressure stimulus and test whether it influences neural activity. The result will determine how we interpret patient data involving concurrent changes in physiology and brain function and improve our ability to quantify the fMRI signal into clinically useful measures. The graded blood pressure stimulus will be deployed during MEG and BOLD fMRI in 15 healthy volunteers. Changes in MEG band-limited power and non-linearities in the gamma response to visual stimulus contrast will be calculated to determine the effects of blood pressure on neural activity. These results will be compared directly with non-linearities in related BOLD activation.

This project will have significant impact on future neuroimaging research at Cardiff University: it will lead to improved models for calibrating the BOLD signal, which is critical for accurately studying disease progression where patient physiology can vary with age or between sessions. The new methodology presents a unique test of autoregulatory function, which is disrupted in pathologies ranging from ischemia to Alzheimer's Disease, allowing new clinical collaborations to be initiated.