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Cognitive Neurosciences and Brain Dynamics Group

Principal: Professor Susan Rossell

The Cognitive Neurosciences and Brain Dynamics Group examines brain functions, structures, connectivity & dynamics. This group is housed in the Advanced Technologies Centre (ATC) at Swinburne's Hawthorn Campus. The group's research encompasses technology-based techniques in the study of cognition, cognitive development and decision-making, and brain functions, connectivity, and mechanisms.

Specific research interests include:

  • Structural and functional imaging - the imaging facility is a major cognitive neuroscience centre encompassing a range of equipment and strategies to study cognition, cognitive development, decision-making, the brain and brain dynamics:
    1. magnetoencephalography (MEG), using superconducting SQUID technology, provides millisecond resolution of brain activity plus good source localization, allowing excellent capacity for temporal and spatial resolution. The MEG will be installed in mid-2011.
    2. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using a 3 Tesla Siemen's MRI is used to visualize detailed internal structures and function of the brain. MRI allows for high spatial resolution (localization of brain activity to within 1mm) and is sufficient for structural and functional imaging. The MRI will be installed in mid-2011.
    3. electroencephalographic (EEG) and psychometric techniques
    4. trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) which allows for major advances in causal neuroscience
    5. sophisticated in vitro methods (e.g., Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy) to study cellular and molecular mechanisms relating to brain function
  • research into brain dynamics, using the language of partial and ordinary non-linear differential equations to develop important insights into how brain waves (the electroencephalogram or EEG) are generated and what they may be able to tell us about how the brain works (led by Professor David Liley).
  • understanding mental health disorders through the use of neuroscience techniques, including imaging. Disorders such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders, anxiety and mood disorders including bipolar disorder are studied (led by Professor Susan Rossell)
  • understanding the biology of individual differences associated with personality & abnormal personality, using a multidisciplinary approach incorporating psychological constructs, neurophysiological measures (EEG), brain imaging techniques (MRI, fMRI) and stimulation techniques (Transcortical Magnetic Stimulation - TMS; led by Dr. Joseph Ciorciari).
  • examining cellular neuroscience through studying processes related to neural function at the tissue or the cellular level (led by Professor Andrew Wood).
  • social and affective neuroscience research - aims to elucidate the mechanisms of abnormal neural functioning relating to social cognitive and emotional processes in psychiatric and neurological conditions.