Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory
Our work covers themes around the neural basis of human perception, memory, cognition and emotion in healthy individuals, development, aging and clinical conditions.
The Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory (FNL) consists of a number of labs based at Callaghan and Ourimbah campuses, as well as at the Imaging Centre at the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI).
We conduct basic research that focuses on understanding the neural mechanisms of sensory and cognitive processes in healthy and clinical populations. We also perform translational research with the goal of applying this knowledge to improve interventions, adaptive functioning and outcomes in a range of normative samples (e.g. childhood, adolescence, aging), and clinical conditions (e.g. schizophrenia, stroke, traumatic brain injury, developmental disorders, dementia).
Our expertise in basic and translational research extends also to applied areas of psychophysiology (i.e. consumer behaviour, biofeedback, neuroeconomics, exercise and sports science) and industry-specific research projects.
FNL features state-of-the-art testing facilities, including multiple 64-channel EEG labs (seven EEG systems: BioSemi and Neuroscan), high-resolution eye-tracking systems (two SR EyeLink 1000) and computerised neuropsychological assessment batteries (three CANTAB systems).
Our affiliation with the Imaging Centre at HMRI gives us access to the latest Prisma Siemens 3T scanner with functional (fMRI, ASL, MRS) and structural (e.g., MRI, DWI) imaging capabilities, transcranial current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) equipment, as well as a near-infrared spectroscopy (event-related optical signal, non-invasive optical imaging).
FNL includes multiple testing spaces and well as multiple workstations for EEG and MRI analysis, and research space for doctoral students. We are supported by a number of technical staff with software and hardware expertise.
FNL researchers are affiliated with the Priority Research Centre in Brain and Mental Health (CBMHR) and the HMRI. Our researchers collaborate with clinical and basic research staff in the School of Biomedical Sciences, as well both the Calvary Mater Hospital and the John Hunter Hospital.
Internationally, we have close research collaborations with a number of major research institutions, including the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands; the National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan; the University of Leipzig, Germany; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA; the Institute of Psychology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary; Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK; University of Toronto, Canada; Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Israel; Duke University, USA; Philadelphia Children's Hospital, USA.
We also collaborate widely with other research institutions in Australia, including University of New South Wales, Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), University of Wollongong, University of Queensland, Griffith University, University of Melbourne, the Florey Institute, Queensland University of Technology and Macquarie University.
Our work is funded by national competitive grants from both the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), as well as smaller grant schemes, including the Faculty of Science, the CBMHR, Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scholarships, and strong RIBG/CAPEX support.
We supervise in excess of 40 research students at Honours, Masters of Clinical Psychology, PhD and Clinical PhD levels. Our students achieve high acclaim and are competitive for post-doctoral positions as well as national and international awards.
PhD candidates receive funding support to attend national conferences and at least one international conference during their candidature. Many PhD students are co-supervised by our international collaborators, helping develop strong connections early in their career.
Publications and conferences
Our work is disseminated in international research journals such as the Journal of Neuroscience, Human Brain Mapping, Neuroimage, Schizophrenia Research, Biological Psychiatry, PLoS ONE, Psychophysiology, International Journal of Psychophysiology and Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Psychiatry Research, American Journal of Psychiatry, and Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
We disseminate our work at multiple international conferences, including the International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON), Human Brain Mapping (OHBM), Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR), World Congress of Psychophysiology (IOP), Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS), and International Neuropsychological Society (INS).
We conduct research in a range of areas related to sensory, cognitive and affective neuroscience, including:
- Neural mechanisms of executive control processes – impact on healthy lifespan development, mental health, dementia, stroke, sports injury (Led by A/Prof Frini Karayanidis)
- Mismatch Negativity (MMN) – Translating the potential (Led by Dr Juanita Todd)
- Cognitive neuroscience of schizophrenia (Emeritus Prof Pat Michie, Dr Juanita Todd, Prof Deborah Hodgson and Dr Lauren Harms)
- Cognitive neuroscience (Led by A/Prof Frances Martin)
- Sensory and affective Neuroscience and applied psychophysiology (Led by Dr Bill Budd)
- Family interactions and neurodevelopmental disorders – including research delineating typical and atypical emotional and social development, the role of parental mental health on child development, the impact of child disability on the family unit (Led by Dr Linda Campbell)
- Social cognitive processes in brain injury and diseases of ageing (Led by Dr Michelle Kelly)
The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.