Lab Groups

Brain Physiology Group

This is a shared lab between Bagshaw, Mullinger, Mayhew and also used in collaboration with Lucas, on work looking at various aspects of brain physiology, how markers of physiology can be extracted from non-invasive measures, how to interpret non-invasive signals (eg negative BOLD, ERS/ERD) using multi-modal recordings, and looking at the impact of factors such as sleep and exercise

A lot of the research that takes place involves using EEG, multisensory behavioural and physiological testing, preparation and analysis of actigraphy. This widely shared facility aims to provide a more specific understanding of non-invasive neuroimaging methods, how they can be interpreted physiologically, and how they are impacted by issues such as sleep and exercise

Studying the human brain is limited by the need to use non-invasive techniques, the basic physiological interpretation of which is often lacking. By providing a more detailed and specific understanding of what brain imaging signals mean, and the information they contain, we will be help to interpret other studies in the CHBH, as well as generating a more fundamental understanding of what is meant by brain health.

For more information, please contact: Andrew Bagshaw, Karen Mullinger and Steve Mayhew

The Cognitive Ageing Lab

Age-related cognitive decline dramatically affecting quality of life pose a fundamental societal, economic and mental health challenge. While cognitive ageing itself is inevitable, there is a significant heterogeneity among older adults in the rate of age-related decline in basic mental functions. As cognitive ageing is associated with structural and functional brain changes, uncovering factors affecting these changes is key to understanding the observed variability in cognitive decline and potential susceptibility to mental health problems and dementia.

The Cognitive Ageing lab is based at the Centre for Human Brain Health and led by Dr Magdalena Chechlacz. The research in the Cognitive Ageing lab broadly focuses on understanding how inter-individual variability in the neurochemical, structural and functional organization of the brain affects cognitive ageing and susceptibility to mental health problems, such as dementia, anxiety and depression, in the elderly population. The current projects in the lab aim to explore multidimensional associations between sleep, brain networks and decline in attention functions in older adults based on in depth analyses of variability in sleep patterns and cognitive performance with advanced neuroimaging methods, multi-shell diffusion imaging, resting state functional connectivity and arterial spin labelling. We are particularly interested whether sleep loss/poor sleep quality frequently reported by older adults have adverse effects on the brain vascular system, accelerates age-related brain changes and subsequent cognitive deterioration. This research is divided into two work packages: 1) cross-sectional analyses using a large scale epidemiological resources (UK Biobank data); 2) series of supplementary experimental studies examining links between variability in sleep patterns, vascular health, frontoparietal connectivity and individual differences in attention functions in older adults.

The Cognitive Ageing Lab is also interested in the impact of genetic variability in neuromodulators (neurotransmitters) on age-related changes in frontoparietal connectivity.

For more information, please contact Magda Chechlacz

The Neuroscience of Consciousness and Cognition After Brain Injury Group 

The 'Neuroscience of consciousness and cognition after brain injury’ group, led by Dr Damian Cruse and Dr Davinia Fernández-Espejo, combines expertise in functional and structural brain imaging, electrophysiology, and non-invasive brain stimulation, to study the ways in which conscious awareness becomes impaired following severe brain injury.

Dr Cruse and his team specifically investigate brain markers of conscious experience that can also provide crucial clinical information for predicting recovery from severe brain injury. They accomplish this with electroencephalography and functional near infrared spectroscopy studies of healthy individuals, those in the acute stage of coma after severe traumatic brain injury, and those with diagnoses of prolonged disorders of consciousness, such as vegetative state. For more information, visit www.damiancruse.com 

Dr Fernández-Espejo and her team investigate the neural mechanisms underlying the clinical deficits and preserved cognitive functions in disorders of consciousness after brain injury. This research is directly translated into diagnostic markers and novel approaches for rehabilitation. To achieve this, Dr Fernández-Espejo’s team uses structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, as well as non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, in both healthy volunteers and patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness. For more information, visit www.daviniafernandezespejo.com

The state-of-the-art tools and rehabilitation methods developed by the ‘Neuroscience of consciousness and cognition after brain injury’ group have potential to profoundly impact the lives of patients, their families, and carers, while providing valuable insights into how the human brain supports conscious awareness.

For more information, please contact Damian Cruse and Davinia Fernandez-Espejo