Master projects

EEG-fMRI at 7T for the study of human brain function with high spatial and temporal resolution

Electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are valuable neuroscience tools that can detect, respectively, electrical and vascular changes that occur during brain function. In recent years, our group has worked on the combination of both techniques at a magnetic field of 7T, where fMRI has strong boosts in sensitivity. EEG-fMRI at 7T currently remains largely unexplored, and several lines of research are open for study:

– Methodology-oriented: both EEG and fMRI can be affected by important degradation effects when acquired together. Methodological work could involve the development of new hardware, acquisition techniques, or methods for signal analysis and denoising after acquisition.

– Application-oriented: the increased sensitivity at 7T allows us to study more subtle features of the brain, as well as to push the spatial resolution and/or acquisition speed, to look at finer-scale and more dynamic aspects of brain function.

Within this range of topics, various Master’s projects can be conducted, and possibly adapted to the student’s background and interests. Motivated students are welcome to contact us to discuss available projects.

Supervision:

João Jorge, LIFMET/CIBM-EPFL

Rolf Gruetter, LIFMET/CIBM-EPFL

 

 

Master project on Mouse fMRI

Functional MRI (fMRI) is a powerful non-invasive technique that makes it possible to identify either active brain regions during a given task (task-based fMRI), or brain connectivity at rest (resting state fMRI). fMRI thus has numerous applications in :

  • Neuroscience, for an improved understanding of brain function, plasticity and connectivity
  • Diagnosis and characterization of pathologies affecting brain function and connectivity (epilepsy, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.)

The development of transgenic mice has also made it possible to study brain alterations in a highly controlled and characterized phenotype, mimicking a given human pathology.

However, fMRI in mice remains a challenge because of technical limitations. Our recent work on rat brain shows that the combination of the ultra-high field scanner (14 Tesla) available at CIBM and the implementation of a new acquisition sequence for fMRI can also make mouse fMRI possible.

For this project, we propose to :

  • Set up a robust protocol for mouse fMRI
  • Measure activation in the healthy mouse brain following various stimuli

The success of this project will have a high impact on the research community.

Work will involve MR data acquisition at 14.1 T, as well as data processing for the extraction of brain activation maps.

This project is suitable for students with a background in physics or engineering, and with an interest in medical imaging and method development. Experience with Matlab is a plus but is not mandatory.

 

Supervision: 

Dr.  ILEANA JELESCU, CIBM – EPFL 

Prof. Rolf Gruetter, CIBM/LIFMET – EPFL