Many congratulations to Dr Katharina Glomb, the first INDIREA ESR to obtain her PhD! According to Katharina’s supervisor Gustavo Deco (Pompeu Fabra University) she has shown great efficiency, creativity and development of new ideas during her project. Undoubtedly Katharina has a very successful scientific career ahead of her, and we wish her all the best in the future!
Katharina: “As the first ESR to get started in the INDIREA programme, it is only fair that I should also be the first one to finish. I handed in my thesis about dynamic functional connectivity in spontaneous brain activity in October and defended in January. It was possibly one of the weirdest days of my life. The defense itself took place at 11am in front of a committee of three people which had been kind enough to read the whole thesis – Matthieu Gilson from my own lab, Mavi Sanchez-Vives from IDIBAPS in Barcelona, and Petra Ritter from the Charite University Medicine in Berlin. It took me until late in the evening to realize what had just happened and that I was really done; right after the defense, I was just exhausted and relieved.
In my thesis, I explored how communication between brain regions on a global level changes over time, and how to best describe the dynamics of these changes. The goal was not only to develop tools that could help to compare different brain states, patient groups, or tasks in terms of their dynamics, but also to contribute to our understanding of the brain as a dynamical system. I was very lucky to have Gustavo Deco as a supervisor and be part of INDIREA because I had lots of freedom while at the same time I was not alone at all. The INDIREA training camps were definitely highlights of my PhD, as was my research stay at RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan. I feel that apart from learning a lot of science during the last three years, I now also have a much better idea of why I’m doing research, and hope that I can keep doing it, at least for the time being. In my postdoc, I’d like to look at data recorded with methods like EEG or ECoG additionally to fMRI, in order to connect different temporal and spatial scales, and I’d like to directly explore the relationship between spontaneous and task-evoked brain activity.”
The INDIREA network met in Dublin in May 2016, to share knowledge on cutting-edge techniques in brain monitoring and stimulation. Researchers from Trinity College Dublin presented their most important and recent findings, and highlighted some of the possibilities that electroencephalography (EEG) provides through advanced statistical modelling and related techniques.
The final talk in this series was an honest and somewhat sobering investigation of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) that focussed on the extent to which these techniques can actually affect neuronal activity. The next day, all PhD students in the network gave 10-minute talks on their most interesting findings to date.
In addition to the scientific content, a full day of career training was organised for the PhD students in the network. The absolute highlight was an interactive session on grant writing, provided by INDIREA PI Masud Husain from the University of Oxford, during which he gave writing tips and shared some of his insider-knowledge on how committees assign funding to grant applications.
As per usual, the meeting also gave us the opportunity to informally discuss work (and personal life), and many new studies were conceived over drinks in a local pub. Fortunately, at least some of those turned out to still be great ideas the next morning.
Psychology has lost a wonderful friend, a caring mentor and a brilliant scientist. Professor Glyn Humphreys died suddenly while in Hong Kong as a Distinguished Visiting Professor. In Oxford he held the Watts Chair of Experimental Psychology and was a transformative Head of Department. He was a world leading authority in cognitive neuropsychology. Among numerous awards and honours, he received the British Psychological Society Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the field of psychology. Members of the Department of Experimental Psychology have been deeply affected by this extremely sad news. Glyn was so young and so full of life and vitality. Together with his wife and colleague Jane Riddoch they brought both wisdom and experience to Experimental Psychology and the Medical School. Our thoughts are with Jane and their family.
Tributes have begun pouring in across the neuroscience and psychology communities worldwide. A memorial webpage has been established for people wishing to share their memories. If you would like to contribute please send your post to Nele Demeyere -firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to send your condolences to Jane and family, please either email Janice Young or write to:
Janice Young, Department of Experimental Psychology, Tinbergen Building, 9 South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3UD England
Bootcamp 5 gave the ESRs experience on multiple levels of neurocomputational modelling. It covered basic principles of modelling as well as specific worked examples applied to whole-system behaviour, fMRI, EEG, and single neuron responses.
ATC 5 was combined with the Mid-Term Review meeting, which assessed the fulfilment of all aspects (scientific, research training, management, etc) described in Annex 1 of the Grant Agreement.
March 12 and 13 of this year saw the 4th Advanced Training Course of the INDIREA Marie Curie initial training network taking place at the Dept. of Experimental Psychology of the LMU in the heart of Munich. The goal of this meeting was to provide an introduction to EEG and ERP methodology which are relevant for any neuroscientist, and will also be applied by some of the students of the project. There were great introductory lectures with hands-on tutorials showing the use of BrainVision Analyzer, the commercial software developed by one of the partners of the ITN, namely Brain Products. Drs Tracy Warbrick and Filipa Viola did a great job at showing us many different features of this complex piece of software and made sure that even the students that will not analyze EEG data now have an idea of the benefits and pitfalls of this technique.
We were lucky enough to attend two excellent talks by University of Oxford’s Nick Myers and LMU’s own Paul Sauseng, and we heard a lot about what role synchronization might play in attention in the brain.
One of the highlights was the ESR’s poster session. It was a refreshing atmosphere in which it became clear that after about a year, everyone has made quite some progress and has much more of an idea of how their PhD projects will be shaped. It was also a great opportunity to present our posters to several of the attending PIs and to each other. Even during the dinner on the night of the first day, conversations about our projects and science in general dominated the table until quite late while actual horses were (drawing their training laps?) in the riding school to which the restaurant is attached.
Many thanks to the organizers of this meeting – I think we all learned a lot and enjoyed ourselves, too!
In September 22014 the INDIREA network held its third meeting in Magdeburg. The aim of this meeting was to learn about magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and its applications on cognitive and clinical neuroscience research, and more specifically in the field of attention.
The agenda for this workshop was very exciting and full of innovative approaches. Claus Tempelmann, from Magdeburg, began the boot camp by explaining the basic principles and general applications of magnetic resonance imaging. Afterwards, as a guest speaker from Bilkent University, Tolga Cukur presented an innovative approach to analyze functional MRI (fMRI) data, which is centered on the voxel and uses semantic categories to explain how the brain responds to visual attention. The afternoon session was opened by Tobias Donner from the University of Amsterdam, who spoke about exciting results related with perceptual judgments when the sensory input is constant. The two final talks of the day were given by Michael Hoffman and Ariel Schönfeld – both from Magdeburg – who addressed the topics of plasticity of human visual perception and the spatio-temporal correlates of visual attention, respectively. The day concluded with a guided city tour and dinner at the Fürstenwall restaurant.
The second day of the workshop included three excellent talks and one ‘hands-on’ session on fMRI. Gustavo Deco, from Barcelona, introduced the topic of functional and structural connectome as a way of combining MRI and computational neuroscience approaches. Next, Jens-Max Hopf from Magdeburg gave a presentation on the neural mechanisms of global feature-based attention, including research findings using magnetoencephalography, electroencephalography, and fMRI. Then, Glyn Humphreys spoke about relevant insights into the use of functional brain imaging in patients. Lastly, during the afternoon session all PhD students had a practical session on fMRI data acquisition and analysis, led by Alexander Pastukhov, while PIs and student representatives held a management meeting.
We had a nice experience in Magdeburg and a very profitable boot camp. Thanks Eli Fulcini, and Jochen Braun and his team for this lovely meeting!