Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Mapping brain network activity from structural connectivity using deep learning

Andrei-Claudiu Roibu © James Gifford-Mead Photography / Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

Talented young innovators from across the United Kingdom have been awarded prestigious Industrial Fellowships by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, to develop solutions to some of society's biggest challenges, from COVID-19 to climate change.

Set up by Prince Albert to organise the Great Exhibition of 1851 and extended in perpetuity to invest the profits in UK innovation, the Commission has been supporting promising research ever since. For 170 years it has provided crucial support to advance R&D and help to make UK industry more competitive internationally.

Through the Industrial Fellowships, the Commission brings together industry and academia to create commercially viable research and solutions for the mutual benefit of all. Fellows conduct their doctoral research with a company in their chosen industry, bringing academic expertise and approaches to a commercial operation. This enables students to investigate new ways of thinking about traditional problems, and forge exciting career opportunities. The programme also equips companies with cutting-edge research without the premium price tag and strengthens links between universities and commercial organisations.

Andrei is investigating how deep learning and AI can be used to help model the relationship between the structure of the brain and its functional properties. In nature, the structure-function relationship is crucial, with an object's shape enabling it to fulfil a job, as in the case of an animal's body shape determining how fast it can run. Predicting the relationship between the structure and function of the brain is one of the primary goals of neuroscience. Achieving this will not only allow a deeper understanding of human neurobiology but also aid in the treatment of certain neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. The raw data is obtained using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from the UK Biobank, a large long-term biomedical study and database containing information on tens of thousands of UK participants. MRI images and scans are invaluable for research, as they allow the study of the brain, its tissues, connections and activity in living subjects without the need for invasive operations or other medical procedures.

This AI model will learn the underlying relationship between the brain's structure and its functions. Once working, the model can be expanded by adding other types of information, such as genetics and lifestyle data, not only to provide a better understanding of the structure-function relationship, but also to aid in practical applications such as neurosurgery and to gain a better understanding of rare neurological diseases, allowing for the development of new treatments. Not only does Andrei's work have significant importance in the field of neuroscience, but also in the wider AI sphere, as the development of deep learning algorithms at this level of complexity could bring about contributions to both the fields of machine learning and medical imaging.

Similar stories

Direct evidence of reduced NMDA receptors in people with form of encephalitis

NMDAR-antibody encephalitis is an autoimmune brain condition caused by patient’s own antibodies that bind to NMDA (N-Methyl-D-Aspartate) receptors in the synapses between nerve cells.

Director of MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit appointed

From 2 January 2023, Professor Peter Magill will lead the Medical Research Council Brain Network Dynamics Unit (MRC BNDU) at the University of Oxford.

Jaideep Pandit honoured with RCoA Gold Medal

Congratulations are in order for Professor Jaideep Pandit, Professor of Anaesthesia and consultant anaesthetist, who has received the rarely awarded prestigious Gold Medal of the Royal College of Anaesthetists. Professor Pandit was a student and research fellow at DPAG and is now an Academic Visitor in the department; he is also a Fellow and Tutor in Medicine at St John's College.

Study reveals association between diagnosis of a neuropsychiatric condition and severe outcome from COVID-19 infection, and other severe acute respiratory infections

New research from the University of Oxford has shown an increased risk of severe illness and death from both COVID-19 and other severe respiratory infections, such as influenza and pneumonia, among people with a pre-existing mental health condition.

New study shows clinical symptoms for Alzheimer’s can be predicted in preclinical models

Establishing preclinical models of Alzheimer’s that reflect in-life clinical symptoms of each individual is a critically important goal, yet so far it has not been fully realised. A new collaborative study from the University of Oxford has demonstrated that clinical vulnerability to an abnormally abundant protein in Alzheimer’s brain is in fact reflected in individual patient induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cortical neurons.