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Dr KAREN MULLINGER
|Research Interests||My research interests are focused on multimodal functional brain imaging. I have interests in both the technical aspects of combining different techniques as well as using them to investigate neurovascular coupling and basic brain physiology to gain a better understanding of brain function and health.
Technical aspects of electroencephalography (EEG) and functional (f)MRI
Performing EEG and fMRI together is very challenging as the MRI environment is extremely hostile for measuring small electrical signals from neurons using EEG. Whilst simultaneous EEG-fMRI has been available as a research tool since the turn of the century there are still significant limitations in the areas of brain function which can be researched with this neuroimaging tool due to the artefacts in the EEG signals. I investigate the sources of these artefacts and use this knowledge to develop methods to reduce the problematic artefacts through better experimental set-up and new EEG hardware design.
Brain Function and health
My multi-modal work (using MRI: BOLD, CBF, CBV measures; EEG and MEG) has discovered the functional importance of several crucial fMRI signal components, previously misunderstood and overlooked since the techniques inception. One brain response of particular interest is the post-stimulus undershoot which I believe is key in understanding inhibitory brain responses, and is, for example, altered in schizophrenia.
Recently I have worked to combined MRI and Doppler measures of cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) to provide measures of underlying brain health and the supply of blood to the brain. Through this work we believe that combining the measures and the strengths of each will enable us to get a better understanding of overall brain health and alteration in disease and with age.