Fast fMRI of the Human Motor Cortex

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor – Associate Professor Martijn

The world's most powerful MRI systems, such as the 7 Tesla system in the Centre for Advanced Imaging here at UQ, are uniquely equipped to help decipher the inner workings of the brain. These ultra-high field systems use extraordinarily strong magnets to bring the image resolution down to the size of columns and laminae in the human cortex. 

Currently, functional MRI at ultra-high field is the only method that can non-invasively probe columnar and layer-specific activation patterns in humans. As each neuron metabolises oxygen to fuel its computational efforts, the oxygen concentration in the proximal capillary bed is altered, allowing indirect measurements of neural activation through blood oxygenation level dependent signal changes. These minute variations in signal strength can be used to create spatiotemporal maps of neuronal activation, which have revealed profound insights into the innerworkings of the mind.

This PhD project aims to push the limits of this extraordinary technique even further and apply it to study fine motor control in humans. You will be part of an interdisciplinary team that operates at the intersection betweenphysics, computer science, engineering and neuroscience, to create new software (such as, control programs for the MRI system itself) and hardware (such as, motion capturing technology). All working together to probe the limits of fMRI and non-invasively study the human brain.

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of MR physics, fMRI, Matlab, C/C++, Micro controllers would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of ceuroimaging and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of physics, electrical engineering, neuroscience, magnetic resonance imaging or software engineering is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 4, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Apply now