Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI; also known as concussion) occurs frequently in contact sports due to direct hits or rotational acceleration of the head. There is currently no reliable diagnostic measure of mTBI, with diagnosis made on the basis of symptoms alone. Recent advances in brain MRI techniques may enable accurate and rapid assessment of brain pathology in unprecedented detail, with potential use as a ‘biomarker' of mTBI. This PhD project will apply cutting-edge diffusion MRI techniques to varied populations of human mTBI subjects to quantify pathological brain changes over time.
The Sydney Translational Imaging Laboratory (STIL) at the Heart Research Institute, Sydney, Australia has an exciting opportunity for a PhD studentship examining the pathological consequences of sport-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Our research focuses on the assessment of mTBI both acutely in active sportspeople to detect initial injury-induced pathological changes, and chronically in retired players to detect long-term brain consequences. This project will examine subjects acutely and long-term after mTBI using cutting-edge ultra-high angular diffusion imaging to detect white matter pathology, and connectomics to understand structural and anatomical brain changes due to injury. We have recently acquired the highest-ever resolution image of the brain, and are applying this methodology across a number of concussion projects under our "Brain Passport" program - designed to both generate scientific novel findings and provide practical diagnostic tools to improve clinical management of concussion.
This research will contribute to the concept of a Brain Passport, in which diffusion imaging will be used on an individualised basis to reflect longitudinal brain changes after single or repeated mTBI. Our patient population includes those involved in Australian Rules and Rugby with a diverse age range and sporting history, with multiple recruitment and assessment sites around Australia.
The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2413