Research conducted in the Nottingham MEG lab covers a wide range of topics, including development of novel methods for data processing and analysis; studies of perception and cognition in healthy volunteers; and applied studies of clinical disorders and brain development.
Traditionally, the focus of our physics led team has been both development of methodology, and multi-modal imaging. We have made significant contributions on source localisation, specifically using beamforming to measure neural oscillations (rhythmic electrical activity in cell assemblies). Further, we work on the combination of MEG and functional magnetic resonance imaging; combining the high spatial resolution of fMRI with the high temporal resolution of MEG, and also understanding the relationship between electrophysiology (measured in MEG) and haemodynamics (measured in fMRI).
Beamformer localisation of visual activity in the human brain: On the left hand side, the ‘time-frequency’ plot shows changes in neural oscillations at different frequencies (y-axis) and at different points in time (x-axis), with red representing increases and blue decreases in neural oscillations.
Multimodal imaging of the visual system: The left hand side shows a BOLD response (red) and two MEG effects (beta band (blue) and gamma band (green)) induced by visual stimulation (on between 0s and 4s). Note the improved temporal resolution when using MEG. The right hand side shows the location of haemodynamic and electrical effects, induced by the same visual stimulus. Note improved spatial resolution in fMRI.
A current focus of the group is the measurement of connectivity within and between cortical networks - areas of the brain inferred as “connected” to each other due to temporal interdependencies between their electrical activities. Novel techniques for identification of such networks have been generated by our group and are continually being developed. In addition, we have a strong interest in neural oscillations and their role in mediating network connectivity.
Large scale distributed brain networks identified using MEG measured beta band oscillations.
A network in the brain with four ‘nodes’. The plots on either side show the neural oscillatory response in each of these nodes to a memory task with increasing levels of difficulty.
Applications in Disease
Our wider MEG team, which incorporates the Institute of Mental Health, has a particular interest in psychosis, with studies aiming to characterise differences in neuronal activity between patients and control participants, and to relate neuronal activity measured using MEG to behaviour and to other neuroimaging data.
A multimodal approach is taken in many of our studies, whereby MEG data are collected alongside measures of haemodynamic activity (fMRI), neurotransmitter concentration (MRS), cognition and disruption of brain activity. This approach allows us to gain a more complete understanding of the many processes occurring in the active human brain.
Professor Peter Morris, Dr Matthew Brookes
Dr Siân Robson, Dr Emma Hall
Mr George O’Neill, Mr Ben Hunt, Miss Helen Smith, Miss Eleanor Barratt, Mr. Darren Price.
Past Students / Staff
Dr. C Stevenson, Dr. M. Stephenson, Dr. J. Hale, Dr. F. Wang, Dr. T. White.