MRes students work on their research project throughout the year.  Projects available for 2020-21 are shown below.  You can apply for one of the listed projects, OR contact a supervisor to develop a different project. To do this, check our list of Neurotechnology supervisors and also our Department of Bioengineering research and academic staff pages to see which supervisors you may like to work with, then contact them informally to discuss opportunities and projects.  If your first choice supervisor does not have space in their group (or is not taking on MRes students this year) then you are welcome to contact other supervisors. 

Once you have decided on a project (either from the list, or one that you have discussed with a supervisor) you should apply via the College online system and state your chosen project(s)/supervisor(s) in the personal statement of your application.  If you have already made your application but have not specified a supervisor or project, please contact the Centre for Neurotechnology Manager who can help you link your application to the correct supervisor.

MRes Neurotechnology projects available for 2020-21

Ultrafast phenotyping of optically cleared human cortical tissue grafts with lightsheet microscopy and automated image analysis

Supervisors: Vincenzo De Paola (Institute of Clinical Sciences), Anil Bharath (Bioengineering)

Model organisms are commonly used for studies of brain physiology and pathogenesis, but the extent to which the principles uncovered can be translated to humans remains unclear. Recently, we established a new approach to study human cortical synaptic networks using transplanted donor-derived cells and intravital longitudinal imaging and discovered new cellular and synaptic phenotypes in Down syndrome (Real et al 2018). 

This project aims at developing a new method to characterise the post-mortem cellular content of human cortical tissue grafts. Currently, this is a time-consuming and low-throughput step as it requires slicing the fixed brain. Only a small portion of the graft can be studied by immunohistochemistry with each marker, a process which often takes several weeks to months. Therefore, the specific aims of this project are to: 

1) Apply ScaleS (Hama et al 2015), a reagent which renders brain tissue transparent within hours, to optically clear human cortical tissue grafts;

2) Test the feasibility of using multiple markers on the same tissue; 

3) Develop an automated pipeline to analyse and quantify cell density and neurite extension from lightsheet microscopy images (with Anil Bharath). 

These tools will likely accelerate our understanding of how the complexity of the human neocortex is perturbed in several neuropsychiatric conditions.

Use of electrophysiological and structural markers of inter-hemispheric connectivity to model the beneficial effect of noisy galvanic vestibular stimu

Supervisors: Barry Seemungal (Brain Sciences), Timothy Constandinou (Electrical and Electronic Engineering)

Introduction: Electrical stimulation of the vestibular system – obtained by applying a current to the mastoid processes, and is called Galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) - enhances postural control, and vestibular perception, in healthy subjects and patients with neuro-degeneration. Our recent data in traumatic brain injury show impaired postural control with disrupted white matter tracts linking the frontal cortices. We hypothesise that the GVS effect upon postural control is mediated by enhanced bi-frontal connectivity.

Objectives: 1) Use noisy GVS to modulate vestibular-mediated postural control. 2) Assess changes in bi-hemispheric connectivity with GVS using: (a) neuro-navigated motor cortex TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation); and (b) interhemispheric coherence changes in EEG. 3) Model the link between intervention (GVS) and function (postural control) using neurophysiological (EEG, TMS) and structural parameters (diffusion tensor imaging) of inter-hemispheric connectivity.

This project requires a minimum of 2 students working together (but can accommodate a 3rd student). This project is health themed focusing on brain circuits in health and disease and how this relates to brain disease and diagnosis. You would be working with engineers, scientists and clinicians and both healthy and patient cohorts developing the stimulation devices and analysing the data through appropriate tools.

Previous MRes Neurotechnology Projects (for information only)

Some of the MRes projects from previous years are shown here.

Supervisor(s)Project title
Claudia Clopath, Andrei Kozlov Development of long-range connections in auditory cortex
Martyn Boutelle, Pantelis Georgiou, Mark Wilson Neurochemical CMOS array – bedside assay of ionic and inflammatory marker from the human brain
Dario Farina, Etienne Burdet, Emmanuel Drakakis, Patrick Kaifosh (Cognescent) Surface Electromyography for Brain-Machine Interface Applications
Ravi Vaidyanathan, Alison McGregor, Hildur Einarsdóttir (Ossur), Ásgeir Alexandersson (Ossur) Sensory Motor Interface for Lower Extremity Robots (SMILER)
Dario Farina, Paul Bentley A clinically-viable brain-computer interface for inducing neuroplasticity for stroke rehabilitation
Nir Grossman, Bill Wisden, Paul Matthews Development of non-invasive deep brain stimulation technology
Adam Hampshire, Aldo Faisal, Rob Leech, Gregory Scott Whole-brain dynamics and higher cognitive processing in disorders of consciousness
Tobias Reichenbach, Etienne Burdet Engineering tactile signals to aid hearing in noisy background
Chris Rowlands, Paul Chadderton 3D-resolved optogenetic excitation using time-averaged speckle patterns
David Sharp, Nir Grossman, Adam Hampshire, Peter Hellyer Closed-loop, personalized brain stimulation intervention for impairment of cognitive control
Mengxing Tang, Mike Warner, Matthew Williams 3D ultrasound computed tomography of the brain
Simon Schultz, Mauricio Barahona Analysis of calcium signals recorded endoscopically from the rodent brain
Mengxing Tang, Mike Warner Ultrasound technologies for brain imaging and therapy
Simon Schultz, Amanda Foust Ensemble coding models in the LGN: an asymmetry between ON and OFF?
Emmanuel Drakakis, Dario Farina Modular Reconfigurable Low-Power Stimulators