Mātai Scholarship

Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei (Pursue that which is precious, and do not be deterred by anything less than a lofty mountain)
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2021-2024 Marsden-funded PhD positions

Better than a hole in the head? Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of brain motion as an indicator of raised intracranial pressure.

Management of several conditions, characterized by high intracranial pressure (ICP), is hampered by the lack of a reliable, non-invasive technique to confidently determine if ICP is elevated. Raised ICP can severely compromise brain perfusion. Currently, the only way to definitively determine ICP is to measure it directly, requiring a highly invasive skull burr hole. What if there was a way to determine the ICP with a non-invasive Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan? We have developed a method called amplified MRI (aMRI), which can detect changes in brain motion with changes in ICP. Together with our capability to directly measure and modulate ICP in a clinically-relevant model, we now have the means to model the brain physiology across a range of ICPs.

This is a funded PhD position to start as soon as March 2021. 

The goal of this PhD is to determine if aMRI can provide a diagnostic index of ICP. We are looking for a student with interest in image processing, to undertake a PhD that crosses disciplines between medical imaging and bioengineering. S/he will assist with collecting imaging and physiological data on preclinical and human imaging experiments, including image acquisition, collection and image processing of the MRI data. This project is exciting and unique in its methods and application of scientific, computational modelling and bioengineering tools, with the potential to revolutionise management of patients with high ICP.

The successful applicant would be enrolled through the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences or the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland, and could be based in Auckland or at Mātai in Gisborne-Tairāwhiti.

Interested applicants can contact Dr Samantha Holdsworth, s.holdsworth@matai.org.nz  

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Mātai Māori/Pacific PhD and Masters Scholarships

We have scholarships that are open now for enthusiastic Māori or Pacific tertiary students with interests in medicine, medical sciences, or medical technologies.

You would be enrolled through the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland and will be based at Mātai in Gisborne-Tairāwhiti.

You will get to work with an exciting collaborative team on a project to do with biomarkers of concusssion (mild traumatic brain injury) and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning about modern medical technologies and making an impact in healthcare for your community.

Applicants can check the requirements for Masters and PhD at the University of Auckland here:

https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/study/study-options/postgraduate-study-options.html

 

To apply, or for further details, contact the Mātai team at info@matai.org.nz or phone us on 06 863 1425. 

Applications are due March 2021.

APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN FOR:

1) PhD or Masters project: Can fine motor skills improve brain cognition in ADHD? An MRI investigation

In specific brain conditions including ADHD and Dyslexia it has been shown that fine motor skills including fidgeting can improve brain cognition. Improved blood flow, neural connections, and brain chemical changes might explain this. This project may change how we look at students and young adults with ADHD and learning coping mechanisms.

This project will involve working at the Mātai Medical Research Institute in collaboration with the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland. We will look to recruit interested volunteers from high school students in the Gisborne area, and results from this study will immediately benefit families and schools in Gisborne.

In this project you will investigate this idea and explore:

1. Functional MRI to investigate blood flow differences in response to brain cognition.

2. Diffusion tensor brain imaging to explore changes in brain structure.

3. MRI spectroscopy, to investigate differences in brain response between typical and ADHD volunteers.

This project will involve learning imaging and MRI skills to visualise brain geometry, explore functional behaviour, understand neural brain structure, and chemical changes. You will learn a number of useful brain imaging software packages, and visualisation tools.

2) PhD or Masters project: Can we detect concussion with MRI?  

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), often referred to as concussion, is a significant issue for New Zealanders and worldwide. Concussion can come with a wide spectrum of injury, physiological and functional deficits. Current assessments of concussion lack the ability to gauge severity and outcome. In order to guide therapeutic intervention and offer preventive measures, it is important to improve our understanding of concussion.

This Masters or PhD project will be a good fit for someone interested in medicine, medical sciences, or medical technologies. The focus will be on investigating whether there is a correlation between damage based on advanced MRI and neuropsychiatric findings, with the goal of devising an accurate test for concussion.

You will be based at the Mātai Medical Research Institute in collaboration with The University of Auckland and other local and international organisations. You will be embarking on unchartered territory with our exciting collaborative team exploring new biomarkers, devices, and models of traumatic brain injury.

You will also learn about imaging and gain MRI skills to visualise brain geometry, explore functional behaviour, understand neural brain structure, and chemical changes. We will look to recruit interested volunteers in the Gisborne area, and results from this study will benefit individuals and families from Gisborne.