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PhD Studentship: Exploring temporal and layer-specific response properties of tonotopically organised auditory cortical areas using a novel approach in EEG-fMRI data fusion

Medicine

Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Wednesday 15 February 2023
Reference:  MED1921

Supervisor 1: Dr Katrin Krumbholz (katrin.krumbholz@nottingham.ac.uk)

Supervisor 2: Dr Vassilis Pelekanos (vassilis.pelekanos@nottingham.ac.uk)

Supervisor 3: Dr Magdalena Sereda (magdalena.sereda@nottingham.ac.uk)

Supervisor 4: Dr Alexander Hardy (alexander.hardy02@ntu.ac.uk)

Location: Hearing Sciences, University Park

Funding status: This studentship is funded by the NIHR (National Institute of Health and Care Research) Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre. The studentship will cover home University rates which includes an annual stipend of £17,668 per annum for 2022/23 and tuition fees. UK/Home students only.

Studentship start date: 1st April 2023. Duration is 36 months full time.

Closing date: 15th February 2023.  

Project title: Exploring temporal and layer-specific response properties of tonotopically organised auditory cortical areas using a novel approach in EEG-fMRI data fusion

Scalp-recorded electro- and magneto-encephalographic (E/MEG) responses represent a direct measure of neuro-electric activity, which, unlike fMRI responses, have essentially unlimited temporal resolution. At the same time, cortical E/MEG responses reflect aggregate contributions from multiple closely spaced sources, which can reinforce or cancel depending on their orientations along the folded cortical surface, creating a high degree of interindividual variability unrelated to the actual underlying activation strength. The high variability of cortical E/MEG responses is recognized as one of the main reasons why these responses – unlike their peripheral or subcortical counterparts (e.g., auditory brainstem responses) – have so far failed to acquire any significant clinical role. 

This project will seek to address this problem by developing a new approach for mapping cortical auditory-evoked EEG responses to their contributing sources within individual auditory cortical areas. The approach will involve combining auditory-evoked EEG responses with high-resolution tonotopic functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. It will enable us, for the first time, to characterize the responses’ temporal and adaptational properties within specific auditory cortical areas and across cortical layers, and to explore how these properties may change as a result of hearing loss and aging. 

This project would be particularly well-suited for graduates from technical/computational backgrounds (e.g., physics/engineering) with a strong interest in interdisciplinary research. You will join a large and vibrant research cluster and benefit from strong supervisory and peer support. You will learn how to record and analyse EEG and fMRI data using cutting-edge computational and statistical tools. You should have, or expect to obtain, a 1st- or 2.1-class bachelor’s, or a master, degree in a relevant scientific discipline, be self-driven and highly motivated, and have excellent communication and team-working skills. You should be eligible to apply for relevant research clearances that will be required including a check with the Disclosure and Barring Service. 

How to apply:

All applications should be made directly to the University (https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy/how-to-apply/apply-online.aspx), selecting PhD Medicine (36 months duration) as course.

Please email MS-HS-BRCadmin@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk with the followingdocuments and put “Dr Katrin Krumbholz advertised NIHR Nottingham BRC PhD studentship” in the email title: 

·        A C.V. (maximum 2 pages) 

·        Degree certificate and transcript (if already graduated) or a recent transcript

·        An up-to 800-word personal statement (maximum excluding references) about why you are interested in doing this PhD, how the ideas outlined align with your interests and experiences, and any specificideas for research projects you may have in this area

·        Either two references (in a non-editable format, on headed paper and signed by the referee) or the details of two referees that we can contact. One of the references must be academic

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Katrin Krumbholz katrin.krumbholz@nottingham.ac.uk  

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