Neuroimaging

Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) Research - Neuroimaging Group
The Neuroimaging Laboratory (NiL) was established in 1991 in response to a need for the assessment of brain images, in order to improve our understanding of the brain in health and disease.

About the Neuroimaging Research Group

One of the key requirements of neuroimaging research is the multi-disciplinary collaborations between neuroscience, medicine, engineering and a host of sub-disciplines. While the research subjects and the clinical needs are provided by medicine, the theoretical underpinnings come from mathematics and statistics, and the methodological approaches from computer science and biomedical engineering, all forming critical components of the enterprise.

The Laboratory houses one computer cluster with 144 CPUs and eight workstations (Windows or Linux), as well as two data archival systems of about 80 terabytes. The MR images we study include 3D T1-weighted scans, T2-weighted (such as FLAIR sequence) scans, DTI (diffusion tensor imaging), 1H MRS (magnetic resonance spectroscopy), functional MRI (fMRI), Gd-perfusion MRI (pMRI), ASL (arterial-spin labelling), fluorodeoxyglu­cose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) and Pittsburgh compound B (PiB PET). NiL hosts several research students (PhD candidates, Master by Research and Honours students) and post-doctoral fellows. NiL is a very important and successful component of CHeBA and a regular stream of high quality publications have emanated from NiL in the last few years. NiL staff have also created and written many versatile and important neuroimaging processing programs/algorithms and scripts in C, MATLAB, Perl, and Python. The equipment purchased over time has been funded by competitive individual research grants.

Latest News

Head of CHeBA's Neuroimaging Laboratory Associate Professor Wei Wen and post-doc fellow Dr Jiyang Jiang have recently developed a pipeline which CHeBA has now made publicly available for download to all researchers and collaborators. This pipeline will provide users with comprehensive and accurate information on white matter hyperintensities and the hope is that researchers will find this pipeline user-friendly while boosting research productivity.

To read more about this pipeline and download the software, visit Neuroimaging Group Pipeline.

Aims

NiL is dedicated to researching the ageing of the human brain. By studying structural and functional magnetic reso­nance imaging and other neuroimaging modalities, we aim to improve understanding of brain ageing pathways, which in turn will lead to clinical advances in prediction, diagnosis and treatment. Our neuroimaging studies address normal ageing, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and dementia.

Our Lab is interested in computational neuroanatomy, the development of a comprehensive structural and functional model of the brain. The distribution of structural changes in the human brain reflect the underlying pathology. The increasing sophistication of MRI allows neuroanatomical structures to be visualised, in vivo, in unprecedented detail. Clinical MRI is able to give good soft-tissue contrast and high spatial (<1 mm) resolution. Due to rapid advances in computing power and algorithm development, we are now well placed to study the extraordinary MRI-visible morphological variability of the human brain through mathematical models sensitive to subtle changes in neuroanatomical shape, complexity and tissue characteristics. Our recent work includes the mapping and modeling of cerebral white matter hyperintensities, algorithm development for examining the shapes and sizes of brain structures and cortical atrophy and, most recently, structural brain connectivity using DTI tractography.

Opportunities with NiL

The Neuroimaging Laboratory welcomes students from a variety of disciplines (including engineering, mathematics, statistics and IT) to join us for vacation work experience. We welcome both local and international students. In particular, we encourage students who are considering post-graduate studies and are actively looking for thesis topics. We hope that our Laboratory's research environment will provide students with excellent exposure to the exciting and challenging research field of neuroimaging. While the jobs are voluntary, we are happy to negotiate some stipends for students who contribute to our current research projects.

Staff

Students

  • Russell Chander (PhD Candidate)
  • Heidi Foo (PhD Candidate)
  • Abdullah Alqarni (PhD candidate)
  • Dr Rebecca Koncz (PhD Candidate and Conjoint Associate Lecturer)
  • Dr Matthew Paradise (PhD Candidate and Research Fellow)

Alumni, Honorary Fellows and Collaborators

Job Opportunity

Job Opportunity for Post-Doc candidate or RA to work on grant with CHeBA Collaborator at Simon Fraser University

Group Projects

  • The Organisation of the Elderly Connectome
  • Inflammatory Markers and Brain Structure
  • Diagnosis and Prediction of MCI and AD using Pattern Rec­ognition Methods
  • Grey Matter Volume Changes in Normal Ageing and MCI
  • Morphology of Cortical Surface: Cortical Folding Pattern and Sulcal Width
  • Structural Brain Networks