Functional Neurosciences and Imaging — Introduction

The objective of the Functional Neurosciences and Imaging Theme is to harness recent neurotechnological advances for the benefit of patients with brain diseases.

We aim to answer the following key questions:

1. Can we use brain signals to control when to use invasive electrical stimulation in the treatment of chronic brain diseases?

2. Can we use biomarkers to control how best to pattern brain stimulation for treatment?

3. Can non-invasive stimulation be used to promote and direct recovery through neuroplasticity?

4. Can we use neuroimaging to select patients that will best benefit from drug and surgical therapies?

Our goal is to bring brain stimulation and neuroimaging together in order to deliver novel stimulation therapies based on a thorough understanding of the circuit dysfunctions underlying brain diseases, to be gained through state-of-the art functional and structural imaging. Such an understanding is necessary, not only to optimise therapy, but also to optimise the selection of patients for such therapy.

Our aims are twofold: to develop better imaging tools and new and improved treatments based on brain stimulation; and to concentrate, in one centre, the critical mass and skills necessary to ensure that emerging technologies, such as optogenetics, carbon nanotubule-coupled multi-electrode arrays and ultra-high field MRI systems, can be rapidly and efficiently translated into clinical care in the future.