Our Neuroimaging facility supports cutting-edge research into the brain and its disorders. We’re the international field leaders and boast Australia’s fastest human brain imaging system.
As a key member of the National Imaging Facility (NIF), our specialist facilities and expertise at Swinburne Neuroimaging is open to all Australian researchers and enables them to tackle today’s most pressing brain-related research questions.
We support research that probes the rapid dynamics of human brain function and underpins behaviour, cognitive development and mental health across the lifespan.
We're the sole single-site human imaging facility in Australia and New Zealand to offer magnetoencephalography (MEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
In addition, we have a wide range of additional and complementary capabilities.
MEG, MRI and EEG equipment
The Neuroimaging facility here at Swinburne is the only single-site human imaging facility in Australia and New Zealand to offer magnetoencephalography (MEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG).
MEG allows us to measure the brain at the speed at which neural activity occurs — that's in the order of milliseconds. By contrast, it takes seconds for blood to flow in the brain. This slower speed limits even the fastest MRI scanners. MEG is a safe and non-invasive brain imaging technique that offers high temporal precision that’s able to measure very small magnetic fields that the brain’s electrical activity produces.
This specialised equipment can also detect and accurately localise rapid changes in brain activity and connectivity. We house an Elekta/Neuromag 306 channel MEG system in a highly magnetically shielded room to yield extremely clean, low noise data.
MEG helps aid research in many areas, such as traumatic brain injury, dementia, stroke and autism. We’re one of only two sites in the Southern Hemisphere with the magnetoencephalography (MEG) equipment.
In addition our electroencephalography machine is Neuroscan high density MEG and MRI compatible.
Our neuroimaging research is already creating a real impact on people's lives — and we've barely started.
MEG’s temporal precision is important as it lets us investigate single, rapid processes. This is crucial when we’re looking at the timing of thousands of coordinated processes.
These steps must occur in exactly the right sequence for normal brain function.
Compare this with how a car engine’s fuel injection system works.
A car engine needs to fire each cylinder rapidly. The fuel injection system does this at a precise moment, relative to the other cylinders. When this timing degrades, severe damage can result.
The human brain is like an engine with hundreds of thousands of cylinders, all in harmony with one another.
Our MEG scanner provides a unique means to examine changes in neural activity and timing.
These could underpin conditions such as:
- traumatic brain injury
In addition, MEG promises to give new insights into developmental conditions like:
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique that uses a powerful magnetic field to obtain very detailed cross-sectional images inside the body and brain.
Our Siemens 3 Tesla whole-body MRI scanner offers extremely fine-grained structural and functional images of the entire body. It also has specialised equipment for human brain imaging.
In May 2020, we upgraded our Siemens Tim Trio 3T MRI to a 3T Prisma Fit.
Our MRI system has the latest scanning sequences installed. This gives researchers access to world-leading techniques to image the human brain’s structure, function and connectivity.
Electroencephalography (EEG) records the brain's electrical activity, with electrodes placed on the scalp.
Our Neuroimaging facility currently has:
- 3 laboratories with 64 channel Neuroscan Synamps2/RT systems (2 of them with Steady State Topography)
- 1 laboratory with a 40 channel Neuroscan NuAmp System
- a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) compatible 132 channel Neuroscan system
- 3 magnetoencephalography (MEG) compatible 64 channel ANT systems
- a 'Babylab' (128 channel EGI NetAmp system with infant HydroCel Geodesic Sensor nets).
Used alone, EEG provides accessible, high quality recording of brain activity. EEG can also be combined with MRI or MEG to maximise sensitivity and localisation of brain activity.