Internship on fMRI of spatial cognition and aging

Cerebral bases of visual processing and spatial cognition in normal aging

Description of the host institution

The Vision Institute is a leading European research centre on physiological and pathological vision. It brings together on one site basic, clinical and industrial research. It promotes the sharing of concepts and techniques, the encounter of complementary skills and expertises and the emergence of new lines of research. The Research Chair Silversight is located at the Vision Institute and studies the impact of healthy aging on visual perceptual and cognitive functions.

Project description

Normal aging is characterized by the degradation of many sensory (vision, hearing, ..) and cognitive functions (memory, spatial navigation, …). We are studying the age-related impact on visual and cognitive functions through a highly interdisciplinary approach (clinical assessment, psychophysics, neuroimaging, cognitive neuroscience). The objective of this project is to assess the effects of normal aging on the brain regions involved in spatial navigation and visual processing to better understand their relationship with the behavior (and, ultimately, with autonomy loss in older adults). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers a major tool for the noninvasive study of the anatomical and functional organization of the human brain. This allows, for example, the neural activation involved in cognitive tasks to be located in the brain anatomy. The intern will be involved in the acquisition phase, processing and interpretation of MRI data. Specifically, the student will perform structural analyses from the anatomical images (volume of cortical structures, cortical thickness, …) and functional analyses of activation (BOLD contrast) and functional connectivity (resting states). This project, which also includes a bibliographic research, also aims at training the student on the various techniques and analysis methods related to neuroimaging (and in particular MRI) so she/he can use these skills as basis for a doctoral project.

Note: This course does not require programming skills or experience in MRI or other neuroimaging methods.