This programme, the first of its kind in the UK, provides a strong theoretical and practical introduction to the world of Neuroimaging research. The course is a good preparation for a PhD in functional brain imaging, or for working as part of a neuroimaging team with fMRI and/or other imaging modalities.Entry RequirementsNormally applicants require a good Honours degree in Psychology or Neuroscience or Computer Science or other relevant scientific or engineering discipline from a UK institution; an equivalent overseas qualification; or an equivalent professional qualification. Students whose first language is not English must have IELTS of at least 6.5 or equivalent Course AimsHow does brain scanning equipment work?
What can brain scanners tell us about brain function?
How do differences in brain structure affect brain function?
Recent years have been characterised by a rapid development of functional imaging technology, with increasing availability worldwide of high resolution scanners for research and clinical applications. Functional brain imaging requires an understanding of current concepts in cognitive neuroscience and psychology, as well as a basic appreciation of neuroimaging techniques and the mathematical and statistical foundations for data analysis.
The rapid development of functional imaging technology and research has contributed to the call for improved education and training in functional imaging. Within this context the aim of the programme is to provide a strong theoretical and practical introduction to the world of neuroimaging research. It will equip students with a range of practical research skills to enable them to successfully complete research of this kind, either as part of a research team or as an individual.
The course will also provide the necessary training in safety and in the rules of scanner operation, to allow students to conduct a neuroimaging research project under the supervision of an Authorised User on Brunel’s 3T scanner, or else to conduct a project on one of its related ERP imaging or psychological laboratory facilities.
If you want to know how to use an MRI scanner and learn what neuroimaging has already taught us, this MSc is for you. Whether you want to pursue neuroimaging research, or simply become an expert in this important field of science, the Functional Neuroimaging MSc provides the relevant skills and knowledge.
The course is a good preparation for a PhD in functional brain imaging, or for working as part of a neuroimaging team with fMRI and/or other imaging modalities.Course ContentModules are subject to variation and students are advised to check with the School on whether a particular module of interest will be running in their year of entry.ModulesCognitive NeuroscienceHow has Neuroimaging increased our understanding of brain function? This module covers learning and memory, language and the brain, cerebral lateralization and specialization, the control of action, executive control and frontal lobes, emotional mechanisms, evolutionary perspectives, development, plasticity and consciousness.Principles of NeuroimagingThis introduces Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Electroencephalography (EEG), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy (NIRS), Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The module will focus especially on EEG and fMRI, considering MRI safety, MR signal generation, MR signal formation, contrast mechanisms and pulse sequences, neuronal to haemodynamic activity, BOLD FMRI, spatial and temporal properties of fMRI.Practical NeuroimagingHow do we design, conduct and analyse Neuroimaging experiments? How can we use this knowledge to evaluate other Neuroimaging studies? This module includes EEG equipment operation, using a Siemens TRIO 3T MRI scanner, experimental design, image processing, statistical analysis, statistical inference and data presentation.Visual NeuroscienceProcessing the information received by our eyes involves nearly half the cortex. In this module, we study the visual pathways and along the way consider a number of topics including: visual motion and the dorsal stream, biological motion, object recognition and the ventral stream, face recognition, disorders of vision, visual development, visual imagery, visual awareness, change blindness and neuroaesthetics.Research Project/Dissertation
Under the supervision of one of the CCNI’s research team, students will conduct a functional imaging experiment. This could involve the in-house EEG or FMRI facilities. Recent examples include:
Responses of the Cortical Reading Network
The Role of Personal Familiarity in Visual Processing: An fMRI study of the FFA and LOC
MT/V5 area & STS activation to video and point light display of perceptual skills in badminton: an FMRI study
An fMRI Study of Different Responses of the Brain while Presenting Two Opposing Stimuli Simultaneously and their Dominance
Attentional Modulation of the Human Primary Visual Cortex. An fMRI Study
Further details available on the School of Social Sciences websitehttp://www.brunel.ac.uk/about/acad/sss/postgraduate/psychology.Teaching and LearningThe four taught modules consist of lectures, seminars and practical work.
Experts in the field will give you a tour of imaging methods, and explain a number of imaging findings. For the methods modules, you will be given tasks to do on the MRI workstations, investigating, processing and analyzing imaging data. You will discuss any findings and problems with other students and your tutors.
The research module starts with informal discussion with your colleagues, and later with your supervisor. While a great deal of individual research is involved, you won’t be on your own. With regular contact with your supervisor, and working with your colleagues, projects are as much team efforts as individual accomplishments.AssessmentTwo of the taught modules are assessed entirely by coursework (essays). The Principles of Neuroimaging module is assessed by a combination of essay and multiple-choice examination.
The Dissertation is intended to be written in the format of a full-length paper as published in neuroimaging and related journals. The Dissertation is based on a student's own research project and includes a review of the relevant literature. It allows students to undertake in-depth study and investigation of their own functional neuroimaging design in an area relevant to them.
The module essays are coursework that are submitted towards the end of each module, and reflect a student's learning and investigation into one of many topics covered by the module.CareersThe MSc Functional Neuroimaging is an invaluable companion or prelude to a research degree or research position in functional neuroimaging, one of the most rapidly growing fields of scientific research.
Academic or research positions:
MPhil/Phd in neuroimaging or related subject
Research Assistant on a neuroscience project, or related project in psychology or biology. Imaging has applications now from the physical sciences to projects in economics and the social sciences.
Technical Assistant in functional neuroimaging.
Any occupation that requires a higher level of analytical, technical and presentation skills than can be offered by a graduate in the life sciences
The course is also an ideal precursor to an MPhil or Phd degree course.