Ongoing Investigations

ADNI data is made available to researchers around the world. As such, there are many active research projects accessing and applying the shared ADNI data. To further encourage Alzheimer’s disease research collaboration, and to help prevent duplicate efforts, the list below shows the specific research focus of the active ADNI investigations. This information is requested annually as a requirement for data access.

Principal Investigator  
Principal Investigator's Name: Thomas Alderson
Institution: Ulster University
Department: Intelligence Systems Research Centre
Proposed Analysis: To whom it may concern, The student in question (me) has experience in neuroimaging with a paper investigating functional, effective and structural changes in MCI in review. The essence of the new project will involve investigating the essential nature of the structure/function relationship in MCI and AD. A connection matrix will be derived using DTI and used to inform the strength of inter-cortical and thalamic connections within a detailed large scale thalamo-cortical model. The changes in functional connectivity inspired by changes in structural connections will then be assessed. It would be highly desirable to follow a single subject longitudinally. This would be consistent with the aims of stratified medicine. A single coherent workflow from connection matrix extraction to model execution could be executed with the press of a button. This approach would allow the functional impact of an individuals "connectional fingerprint" to be investigated with several possible clinical applications. For the interested reader further details follow below. The PhD student will build on previous and current work that seeks to investigate which hypotheses (neuropathological factors) are most directly related to the observed EEG dynamics (cognitive decline) in AD. An extension of a previously developed large-scale model of mammalian thalamocortical system which can reproduce the EEG dynamics observed in the human brain will be developed. The proposed model is biologically-plausible, involving three anatomical organizations: the connectivity and geometry of the updated model will be informed by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI); a combination of different types of thalamic neurons and six-layered gray matter microcircuitry derived from research on cat visual cortex as well as various types of neurons, each with at least one dendritic compartment. The framework for this research has been established in ISRC and work is ongoing on another PhD project to improve the structural plausibility of the model. The proposed PhD project will focus of improving the model at both the micro-scale, neuron and synapse complexity as well as at the macro-scale in terms of regional connectivity. The PhD student will have access to software tools, various types of computational models and several publications detailing a systematic approach to conduct this research. Most importantly, a software framework has been developed using C with message passing interface (MPI) at the ISRC to simulate large-scale networks on more than a hundred cores. The framework includes different types of single-compartmental neurons, distribution of axonal conduction delays, long-term spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity (STDP), receptor kinetics (AMPA, NMDA, GABAA and GABAB), and short-term plasticity. The PhD student will extend the framework by using most recent information acquired from biology and DTI and fMRI data provided by other researchers, the student will be able to better inform the fiber direction, e.g. thalamus-to-cortex (thalamocortical), cortex-to-thalamus (corticothalamic) and the direction of corticocortical fibers (e.g. motor-visual or visual-motor) and will focus on expanding the existing large scale thalamocortical model (1 million neurons and around half a billion synapses) to include six layered cortical tissue detail with 22 types of neuron and a thalamus with multiple thalamic nuclei. Thank you for considering my application, I hope to hear from you soon. Regard, Thomas Alderson.
Additional Investigators