Student Project: Implementation and validation of brain imaging paradigms

Neuroimaging research in humans offers a unique opportunity to determine how different aspects of brain function relate to individual differences in personality, behavior and risk for psychiatric illness. Currently, the Neurobiology Research Unit (NRU, applies this unique technology to understand how aspects of brain function are shaped by serotonin neurotransmission, a key neuromodulator of individual differences in brain function, personality, risk for affective disorders and responsiveness to related treatment methods. We are now recruiting motivated young students who are interested in participating in this exciting neuroimaging research.

Functional neuroimaging with fMRI is used to evaluate how specific brain areas respond to a particular task or stimulus. For example, displaying emotional faces evokes responses from areas like the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex, which are critically involved in emotion processing. Although individual tasks provides detailed information about certain types of neural processing, assessing brain activity for different tasks aimed at complementary aspects of brain function (e.g., threat, reward, cognitive control, etc.) can provide many pieces of information to fit together into a more informative whole. We are looking for motivated students eager to join a project that will implement and evaluate functional neuroimaging paradigms in humans. This evaluation provides an ideal opportunity for the student to learn about fMRI and its applications, and provide a critical foundation for on-going research projects. Together, the student’s responsibilities in this project will include:

1) Research and development of a set of imaging paradigms tapping complementary aspects of brain function.

2) Recruitment of participants including communication with participants, booking fMRI
scan times and appointments for other aspects of data collection (e.g., neuropsychological testing).

3) Collection and analysis of fMRI data. This includes evaluating behavioral responses,
task-related brain function and functional connectivity in individual datasets and across cohorts.

There is also an opportunity for a data analysis project in parallel, allowing the student to
gain experience working with collected data.

The project is a 12-month research year project starting in February 2016. Prior experience
with neuroimaging research is beneficial but not necessary. In addition to training provided by experienced staff members and project supervisors, there will be an opportunity to attend international training courses. Please contact Dr. Patrick Fisher ( if you would like to become involved in this exciting translational research project!

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