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Piergiorgio Salvan


Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Piergiorgio is a post-doctoral research assistant working with Prof Heidi Johansen-Berg.

His research focuses on the Fit-to-Study Brain imaging sub-study: a year-long physical activity intervention in children aimed to improve cognitive abilities of those from disadvantaged households.  He combines machine-learning approaches with multi-modal and quantitative MRI to study predictive factors and biological mechanisms underlying healthy brain plasticity.  His research will provide a better understanding of how this large-scale intervention, involving 18,000 12-years-old children around the areas of Oxford, London and Birmingham, can foster brain plasticity underlying healthy cognitive development.

Piergiorgio is also interested in combining machine learning with network theory in order to better characterise large-scale brain plasticity following learning, neurostimulation, or recovery from damage.  The human brain is a multi-scale, complex system, and its manipulation may lead to non trivial changes in function and structure. As brain changes are key for any form of adaptive human behaviour, understanding the mechanisms underlying system-level neuroplasticity may help us to develop novel individualised translational approaches.

Piergiorgio obtained his PhD at King’s College London (Feb 2017) for his work on the ontogeny of the human language brain network.