Functional connectivity and the human brain functional connectome

Understanding how the brain works requires knowledge of how brain regions communicate with each other to form large-scale functional networks.

The “functional connectome” is a term used to describe the collective set of functional connections in the brain. Measuring these connections at any scale is a great challenge. Our research includes investigations into how best to measure these networks at a macroscopic scale (millimetre resolution) with non-invasive neuroimaging methods such as functional MRI (fMRI). Functional connectivity provides a measure of the correlations in activity over time between brain regions, and is the mainstay of current research into brain networks. Our investigations include correlation-based functional connectivity explorations as well as data-driven approaches such as independent component analysis and machine learning. We are also developing novel approaches such as Dynamic Regional Phase Synchrony (DRePS).

Selected publications

Omidvarnia A, Pedersen M, Walz JM, Vaughan DN, Abbott DF & Jackson GD. Dynamic Regional Phase Synchrony (DRePS): an instantaneous measure of local fMRI connectivity within spatially clustered brain areas.  Human Brain Mapping 37(5) 1970–1985 (2016) ( doi: 10.1002/hbm.23151 ).

Warren AEL, Abbott DF, Vaughan DN, Jackson GD, Archer JS. Abnormal cognitive network interactions in Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome: A potential mechanism for Epileptic Encephalopathy. Epilepsia 57(5) 812–822 (2016) ( doi: 10.1111/epi.13342 ).

Tailby C, Masterton RAJ, Huang JY, Jackson GD, Abbott DF. Resting state functional connectivity changes induced by prior brain state are not network specific. Neuroimage 106:428-40 (2015). ( doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.11.037 ).

Pedersen M, Curwood EK, Archer JS, Abbott DF & Jackson GD. Brain regions with abnormal network properties in severe epilepsy of Lennox-Gastaut Phenotype: Multivariate analysis of task-free fMRI. Epilepsia 56(11) 1767–1773 (2015) ( doi: 10.1111/epi.13135 ).

Archer JS, Warren AEL, Stagnitti MR, Masterton RAJ, Abbott DF†& Jackson GD† (†=joint senior authors). Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Phenotype: Secondary network epilepsies. Epilepsia 55(8):1245-54 (2014). ( doi: 10.1111/epi.12682 ). IF=4.6.

Archer JS, Abbott DF, Masterton RAJ, Palmer SM, Jackson GD. Functional MRI interactions between dysplastic nodules and overlying cortex in periventricular nodular heterotopia. Epilepsy & Behavior 19(4):631–634 (2010) ( doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2010.09.018 ).

Waites AB, Briellmann RS, Saling MM, Abbott DF, Jackson GD. Functional connectivity networks are disrupted in left temporal lobe epilepsy. Ann Neurol 59(2):335-343 (2006). ( doi: 10.1002/ana.20733 ).

Waites AB, Stanislavsky A, Abbott DF, Jackson GD. Effect of prior cognitive state on resting state networks measured with functional connectivity. Human Brain Mapping 24(1):59–68 (2005). ( doi:  10.1002/hbm.20069 ).

Research team