Mapping cerebellar connectivity in neurodevelopmental disorders
- Research Opportunity
- PhD students
- Department / Centre
- Royal Melbourne Hospital
|Professor Christos Pantelisemail@example.com||+61417592830||Personal web page|
|Professor Stan Skafidasfirstname.lastname@example.org||Personal web page|
Summary Recent evidence suggests that the cerebellum may be a key site of neuropathology in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This study will examine both the direct effects of cerebellar pathology, and the role of cerebello-cortical circuitry, on the aetiology of ASD symptoms.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental disorders characterised by deficits in social skills and communication, stereotyped and repetitive behaviour, and impairments in cognitive functioning. Recent evidence suggests that the cerebellum may be a key site of neuropathology in individuals with ASD, and may therefore play a critical role in the symptoms that characterise these disorders. However, further research is required to better understand both the direct effects of cerebellar pathology, and the role of cerebello-cortical circuitry, on the aetiology of ASD symptoms. In order to facilitate this research in vivo, a high-quality paediatric cerebellar atlas is required. The aims of this project are therefore:
(1) To review and contribute to the literature on identifying cerebellar connectivity based on functional parcellations and methods to examine such connectivity in paediatric populations
(2) To determine whether cerebellar structure and/or function at 6 or 12 months of age can predict ASD symptomatology at 2 years of age
(3) To determine whether abnormalities in cerebellar structure and/or function, or change in these measures over time, drives abnormalities in other key connected regions, such as the thalamus and prefrontal cortex
Data for this study will be derived from the IBIS study, a longitudinal data set comprising over 2,500 baseline and longitudinal scans in over 400 children at high or low genetic risk of ASD (ref), and include both structural and functional MRI scans
The student will have the opportunity to learn advanced brain imaging techniques, and publication of results is expected at the end of the project. The study would be most suitable for a student who is interested in or has a good understanding of neuroscience, biology and medicine as well as some experience in computer.
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Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research
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Department / Centre
Research NodeRoyal Melbourne Hospital
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