Research Challenge Award
Established in 2016, the Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge was specifically designed to help the most promising up-and-coming early-career neuroscientists with ambitious research proposals for integrated non-invasive brain stimulation and imaging studies to gain the equipment and support that they require to carry out these projects. If you are working with non-invasive brain stimulation or imaging methods including—but not limited to—TMS, tES, tFUS, fNIRS, neuronavigation, or EEG, then we’d love to hear more about the research that you would like to carry out.
The comprehensive Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge prize will provide one lucky researcher with everything that they need to complete their proposed proof-of-principle or pilot study. In full, our Research Challenge winner will be supported with:
- A loan of specialist non-invasive brain stimulation and/or imaging equipment, courtesy of Brainbox Ltd, for a period of up to three months;
- Expert technical help and product support from the Brainbox team of product and application specialists;
- A presentation slot at the Brainbox Initiative Conference to share updates on their work;
- Plus many other opportunities at Brainbox Initiative webinars, workshops, and more.
In order to be eligible for the Research Challenge, applicants must:
- Be currently-enrolled graduate students or postdoctoral fellows within five years of gaining their PhD (excluding parental leave);
- Be working with, or planning a study with, one or more non-invasive brain stimulation and/or imaging techniques, including:
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
- Transcranial Electrical Stimulation (tES)
- Transcranial Focused Ultrasound Stimulation (TUS/tFUS)
- Electroencephalography (EEG)
- Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS/fNIRS)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI/fMRI)
“The Brainbox Initiative Research Challenge Award has helped me enormously so far. It has been a driving force behind getting my new lab up and running and has helped me to prioritise my research whilst starting out as a new lecturer.”
Research Challenge Winner 2016
“This is a unique and great opportunity to implement our ideas using state-of-the-art equipment. It provides me with a great platform to exhibit potential applications of my work during my PhD, which is crucial as I start my career as a researcher.”
Research Challenge Winner 2016
“Setting up my new lab has presented some technical challenges along the road, and having the product support and technical assistance from Brainbox has proven extremely useful.”
Research Challenge Winner 2016
Kevin is a PhD candidate in neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina. His research focuses on developing and refining multimodal brain stimulation and neuroimaging techniques for transdiagnostic applications. In particular, Kevin is interested in using electric field modelling for personalizing tES dosing, developing precision FUS with high target engagement, and characterizing the parameter space in accelerated rTMS. Kevin’s Research Challenge Award project seeks to refine our understanding of FUS parameters in healthy participants.
At present, Ben is working on a PhD using transcranial focused ultrasound neuromodulation techniques at Bristol University. To date, his primary research has focused on elucidating molecular mechanisms using in vitro primary cell cultures and animal models.
Ben's Research Challenge application proposes an impressive pilot project wherein he will make use of cutting-edge transcranial focused ultrasound stimulation (TUS/tFUS) techniques to establish whether TUS can be used to promote memory function in humans.
Kendra Kandana Arachchige
Kendra is currently in the final stages of her PhD, 'Cognitive mechanisms involved in gesture/speech integration: the role of verbal working memory and visual attention', and hopes to begin work on her winning Research Challenge submission in mid-2021.
Roisin McMackin is currently in the final stages of her PhD at The Academic Unit of Neurology, Trinity College Dublin, and hopes to submit her thesis Human Neurodegeneration: A Spectral EEG and TMS based Approach in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis later this year.
Lauren V Hadley (PhD) is a senior research fellow at Hearing Sciences – Scottish Section, University of Nottingham.
Maria Ironside, D.Phil, is a post-doctoral research fellow in affective neuroscience at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ironside completed her doctoral training in 2016 at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, under the supervision of Prof. Catherine Harmer and Dr. Jacinta O’Shea. As a graduate student she used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the effects of frontal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on vigilance to threat in trait anxious females, funded by the Medical Research Council of England. She is currently collaborating with clinical trials of tDCS for major depressive disorder (MDD) in Brazil to help establish cognitive neuropsychological biomarkers of treatment response.
Mirja’s winning submission to the Research Challenge uses transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) techniques to explore the ‘Reduction of cerebral excitation through combination of GSR biofeedback and tDCS’, and was chosen by the BrainBox Initiative’s scientific committee as one of this year’s two successful winners. As Mirja’s research develops over the next few months, we will be routinely following up with her on a regular basis to find out more about the exciting work that she is carrying out.
Dr. Ruddy is a research fellow funded by the Irish Research Council at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience in Dublin. She started her research career at Queen’s University Belfast, after graduating with a first-class honours degree in Psychology in 2010 and in the same year being named by ‘The Times Higher Education’ in their list of top 100 Graduates as ‘UK graduate of the year’. She went straight from undergraduate studies into a PhD, where she used functional and structural MRI measures of brain connectivity to investigate the mechanisms that give rise to inter-limb transfer of learning; a process termed ‘Cross Education’ whereby training performed with one limb (eg. the left hand) transfers to benefit the untrained opposite limb (eg. the right hand). From this work she published five peer-reviewed articles in high impact journals such as ‘Brain Structure and Function’ and ‘Journal of Neuroscience’, and co-authored a book chapter. In January 2014 she moved to Switzerland and started as a postdoctoral researcher in the Neural Control of Movement Lab in the department of Health Sciences and Technology at ETH Zürich. There, she worked for three years on projects concerning fundamental mechanisms of sensorimotor control and inter-hemispheric communication. It was here that she also discovered her interest in Neurofeedback and Brain-Computer Interface, as methods for understanding the importance of brain rhythms for control of movement.
Thank you for your award application.
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