Rebecca obtained an undergraduate master's degree in physics with theoretical physics from the University of Manchester in 2008. From there, she moved to the University of Nottingham to study for her PhD in advanced functional neuroimaging in the Division of Radiological and Imaging Sciences, which was conferred upon her in 2012. She now works as a research fellow in neuroimaging at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, School of Physics and Astronomy, collaborating closely with the NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit.
With a background in magnetic resonance physics, Rebecca spent her PhD studies developing advanced functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques to observe the changes in brain activity, functional connectivity and cerebral perfusion caused by the onset of disease or the administration of a drug. More specifically, she conducted a study into the effect of the peripherally acting beta-blocker, Nadolol, on the arterial spin labelling (ASL) perfusion and blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) fMRI response to emotional visual stimuli.
Rebecca spent 2012-2016 conducting a study using the functional neuroimaging technique of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in combination with fMRI to measure activation patterns in the auditory network in response to non-auditory sensory stimuli in profoundly deaf individuals, and to investigate whether these patterns change with cochlear implant use.
Rebecca now works on a project managed collaboratively between the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre (SPMIC) in the school of Physics and Astronomy, the NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit and the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester. The project aims to use fMRI and electrophysiology to investigate the neural bases of "hidden hearing loss", the consequences of noise damage to the auditory system that are currently undetectable by regular audiological testing methods.
I am interested in new techniques that can be used to observe how external influences alter how the brain works. Drugs and prosthetics, as well as illnesses and disease can change how the brain… read more
DEWEY RS, HALL DA, GUEST H, PRENDERGAST G, PLACK CJ and FRANCIS ST, 2018. The Physiological Bases of Hidden Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: Protocol for a Functional Neuroimaging Study. JMIR research protocols. 7(3), e79
PRENDERGAST G, MILLMAN RE, GUEST H, MUNRO KJ, KLUK K, DEWEY RS, HALL DA, HEINZ MG and PLACK CJ, 2017. Effects of noise exposure on young adults with normal audiograms II: Behavioral measures. Hearing research. 356, 74-86
I am interested in new techniques that can be used to observe how external influences alter how the brain works. Drugs and prosthetics, as well as illnesses and disease can change how the brain responds to its environment. Functional neuroimaging can help us to understand how these external influences alter normal brain function. Functional neuroimaging can often be enhanced by using multiple imaging modalities simultaneously (multi-modal imaging) to obtain the most information about a process. I am currently working with simultaneous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to assess cortical plasticity within the auditory cortex of deaf individuals.