www.sysneuro.org mirrors a University of Melbourne domain
Welcome to our new PhD students, commencing in 2022!
Hadis Jameei &
NHMRC grant success!
Andrew Zalesky and Maria Di Biase were awarded an NHMRC Ideas Grant to investigate individual brain variability in schizophrenia.
Maria was additionally awarded a research grant from the Medical Advances Without Animals (MAWA) Trust.
Well done Maria!News
Mark Rowe Award
Dr Ye Tian was awarded the 2021 Mark Rowe Award from the Australasian Neuroscience Society. The award commemorates the late Australian Professor of Physiology and it is awarded annually to an early-career researcher. Check out the medal!
Divyangana Rakesh was announced a runner-up in the 2021 Mendelsohn Award. The Mendelsohn recognizes excellence in doctoral neuroscience research.
Mary Lugton Fellowship
Dr Ye Tian was awarded the inaugural Mary Lugton Fellowship. This two-year fellowship was established in 2020 with a gift to the University of Melbourne. Ye was also awarded a Univesity of Melbourne ECR grant and Alexander Guelma Trust Fund, awarded to the highest scoring ECR applicant in neuroscience.News
Victoria Fellowship in Life Sciences
Dr Ye Tian was announced recipient of the 2021 Victoria Fellowship. The Fellowship will enable Ye to travel aboard in 2022/23 to undertake specialist training in neuroimaging and brain parcellation.
Well done Ye!News
Sina Mansour ECR Award Winner
Sina Mansour (second from left), was awarded an ECR Award (Best Poster) at the Maths in the Brain Workshop at Monash University. Sina showcased his research on mapping and analysing high-resolution connectomes with diffusion MRI.
Well done Sina!News
Journal Cover Illustration
Dr Robin Cash's research was selected to feature on the cover of the September 2021 issue of Human Brain Mapping.
Robin designed the illustration! The illustration depicts stimulation target personalisation of TMS therapy for depression.News
Queensland Neurostimulation Centre
Opening announced of Australia's first clinic to provide fMRI-guided brain stimulation therapy for depression.
Using methodology developed by our team, stimulation will be targeted to the precise location of specific brain circuits mapped from a patient's brain scans.News
Strategic Grants for Outstanding Women
Well done to Maria Di Biase on award of the MMS Strategic Grant for Outstanding Women 2021.
The grant will allow Maria to translate lab-based discoveries into clinical care for patients with schizophrenia, and develop her leadership capacity through individualised training.News
We're Looking forward to OHBM 2021! Caio Seguin will lead a symposium on brain network communication.
Sina Mansour, Saampras Ganesan, Ye Tian and Mangor Pedersen will present their recent work in connectomics. And don't forget to check out our educational course on network neuroscience.News
Ye Tian participated in Neurochat 2021, a three-day online workshop for neuroimaging researchers in China. Ye's presentation was viewed by hundreds of attendees and provided an overview of research that she completed during her PhD candidature.News
Sina Mansour on high-resolution connectomics
Sina Mansour presented his research on high-resolution connectomics at the OHBM Australia Chapter Webinar. He has established new tools to to map connectomes at high-resolution using diffusion MRI.News
Ye Tian presents at the Terra Incognita workshop
Ye Tian presented an invited seminar on the Melbourne subcortex atlas as part of the first workshop on the subcortex.News
Spotlight on Ye Tian
Congratulations to Ye Tian who received numerous prizes and awards in the last few weeks for her PhD research published in Nature Neuroscience.News
Ye Tian announced winner of 2020 Mendelsohn Award
Ye Yian was awarded first prize in the 2020 Mendelsohn Student Award! The Mendelsohn recognizes excellence in doctoral neuroscience research.News
Vanessa Cropley awarded Dame Kate Campbell Fellowship
Vanessa Cropley was awarded the DKCF, recognizing her outstanding research performance! Each of the Fellows has made contributions to MDHS through exceptional research and wider involvement, both in our local community and the world stage.News
Mapping the terra incognita of our brains
New research has created the most detailed subcortical atlas to date, mapping the most ancient part of our brain – the subcortex.News
Andrew Zalesky among the most highly cited researchers in 2020
Andrew Zalesky was recognised in the annual highly-cited researchers list by Clarivate Analytics, ranking him in the top 1% of researchers in his field according to citations.News
Interviewed by David Astle, ABC Evening Radio
Andrew Zalesky was interviewed on ABC Evening Radio by David Astle about new research on mapping the human subcortex and applying this research to develop improved brain stimulation therapies for obsessive-compulsive disorder .News
Robin Cash honoured with Editor's Choice Award
Research led by Robin Cash on a biomarker for TMS treatment outcome was voted best paper published in Human Brain Mapping over the course of 2019. Candidates for the Editor's Choice Award are nominated by the Associate Editors of Human Brain Mapping, and the final selection is made by the Editor-in-Chief together with the two Deputy Editors-in-Chief after weighing all the nominated papers.News
Andrew Zalesky voted one of Australia's most innovative engineers
Andrew Zalesky was voted one of Australia's most innovative engineers by Engineers Australia for developing new tools to analyze brain networks.News
Caio Seguin announced winner of 2019 Mendelsohn Award
Caio Seguin received first-prize in the Mendelsohn award and shared his research project in neural communication and the clinical relevance of network communication models in understanding how neural signals are affected during disease.News
Your brain has ‘landmarks’ that drive neural traffic and help you make hard decisions
Brain regions exchange information by sending and receiving signals through a network of nerve connections. This exchange is crucial to all aspects of the brain’s functioning, including how we experience the world, form and retrieve memories, and make decisions.News
Inagural Australian School on Connectomics
Hosted by the Systems Group, the Australian School on Connectomics showcased internationally recognised experts, in the field of connectomics, from Australia and abroad. Attracting 40 national and international attendees, sessions covered the fundamentals of connectomics and provided participants with the necessary tools for initiating their own analyses.News
Like sightseeing in Paris – a new model for brain communication
Caio Seguin developed a new network communication model to explain how brain networks can be navigated to achieve efficient information transfer.News
Brain inflammation in schizophrenia
Maria Di Biase reports evidence of an overactive immune system in some individuals with schizophrenia. Reducing microglia activation may ameliorate or even prevent the development of psychosis in at-risk individuals.News
We use neuroimaging techniques to conduct research into the human brain in health and mental illness. We develop advanced computational models and tools to study brain networks and systems, and apply the knowledge gained from these studies to develop improved brain stimulation and other therapies. Our researchers integrate expertise from a range of disciplines, including neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, engineering and computer science.
- Research excellence - we are committed to conducting research of the highest quality and impact.
- Research training - we are dedicated to training the next generation of scientists and engineers.
- Inclusiveness - we welcome a range of views and promote a supportive research culture of mutual respect.
- Interdisciplinarity - we are an interdisciplinary group and welcome researchers from diverse academic backgrounds.
- Making a difference - we are driven by the desire to create positive change and improve the lives of people suffering with mental illness.
Key initiatives that we have established include national training programmes such as the Australian School on Connectomics, one of the first textbooks on brain network analysis and widely-used neuroimaging tools, including the NBS and the Melbourne subcortex atlas. Our researchers have published extensively on understanding mental disorders in terms of the biological function of the brain. Check out our resources for further details!
Our researchers and students are located at the University of Melbourne and based within the Faculties of Engineering and Medicine. We belong to the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre.
Lab head, NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
NHMRC EL Research Fellow
ARC DECRA Research Fellow
NHMRC EL Research Fellow
Mary Lugton Research Fellow
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Bec Cooper, PhD student, Psychiatry
Kavisha Fernando, PhD student, Psychiatry
Saampras Ganesan, PhD student, Biomedical Engineering
Cassandra Hoffmann, PhD student, Psychiatry
Hadis Jameei, PhD student, Psychiatry
Yuanzhe Liu, PhD student, Biomedical Engineering
Sina Mansour, PhD student, Biomedical Engineering
Connie Ng, PhD student, Psychiatry
Hua Ye, MSc student, Bioscience
Divyangana Rakesh, PhD student, Psychiatry
Cassandra Wannan, PhD student, Psychiatry
Yumeng Wu, MSc student, Biomedical Engineering
- Dr Jinglei Lv, 2018-19
- Dr Paul Klauser, 2015-16
Visiting International Researchers
- Dr Thomas Bolton, 2020, Switzerland
- Dr Pierpaolo Sorrentino, 2019-20, Italy
- Dr Kavinash Loganathan, 2019, Malaysia
- Dr Gina Monteverde, 2018, Mexico
- Dr Patrick Friedrich, 2017-18, Germany
- Dr Nabi Zorlu, 2017, Turkey
- Dr Koji Kamagata, 2016-17, Japan
- Dr Edwin Van Dellen, 2016, Netherlands
- Dr Yuri Masaoka, 2014-15, Japan
- Dr Naoyuki Katagiri, 2014, Japan
- Dr Esther Via, 2014, Spain
- Dr Soon-Beom Hong, 2012-13, Korea
- Dr Ye Tian, PhD, 2020
- Dr Tabinda Sarwar, PhD, 2020
- Dr Xin Wang, PhD, 2020 (Exchange Student)
- Dr Caio Seguin, PhD, 2019
- Dr Akhil Kottaram, PhD, 2018
- Dr Maria Di Biase, PhD, 2017
- Dr Ellie Ganella, PhD, 2017
Honours and Masters Graduates
- Holly Pedersen, MSc, 2021
- Kyle Reece, MSc, 2021
- Mabrur Rahman, Hons, 2021
- Jonathan Cavallo, Hons, 2020
- Kav Fernando, Hons, 2019
- Saampras Ganesan, MEng, 2019
- Emin Serin, MSc, 2019 (Exchange Student)
- Ian Hsu, MEng, 2018
- Shervyn Silvapulle, Hons, 2016
Structure-function coupling in the connectome
Use advanced network communication models to investigate the extent to which brain network structure constrains brain function
Project leaders: Caio Seguin & Andrew Zalesky
Imaging-genetics in psychiatry
Conduct research at the interface of genetics, neuroscience and psychiatry using cutting-edge computational methods and neuroimaging techniques
Project leaders: Maria Di Biase
Computational neuroscience: Simulating brain dynamics and generative modelling of brain networks
Simulate a person's brain activity based on their connectome and develop models to grow brain networks in silico
Project leaders: Andrew Zalesky & Caio Seguin
Brain stimulation and clinical translation
Develop innovative brain stimulation therapies for depression and other psychiatric disorders based on new knowledge of aberrant brain circuits and systems
Project leaders: Robin Cash
Brain mapping: Brain atlases with multiple topographic features
Map innovative atlases of the human brain that incorporate multiple topographic features
Project leaders: Ye Tian & Andrew Zalesky
Machine learning prediction of brain and body ageing
Your brain and other organs may be older (or younger) than your chronological age! Why?
Project leaders: Ye Tian, Vanessa Cropley & Andrew Zalesky
Network communication in the brain
Use network science to understand how information is communicated in nervous systems
Project leaders: Caio Seguin & Andrew Zalesky
Symptom comorbidity networks in psychiatry
Investigate causal links between psychiatric symptoms and cognition across mental illnesses
Project leaders: Vanessa Cropley
Brain connectivity in a dish
Grow mini brains (organoids) in a dish and map their axonal connectivity
Project leaders: Maria Di Biase, Maciej Daniszewski & Alice Pebay
The PIPs Study: Proteins of the Immune system in Psychosis
Does the immune system impact brain development in people with schizophrenia?
Project leader: Vanessa Cropley & Andrew Zalesky
Mapping brain metabolites
Develop advanced neuroimaging techniques to map brain metabolites
Project leader: Vanessa Cropley, Rishma Vidyasagar, Andrew Zalesky & Paul Klauser (University of Geneva)
Techniques that we use...
Our researchers use neuroimaging, computational and neuromodulation techniques:
- Structural, diffusion and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Neuromodulation, particularly transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
- Complex systems theory, brain networks and connectomics
- Bioinformatics, computational modelling and systems neuroscience
- Clinical neuroscience
Disorders that we study...
We focus on neuropsychiatric disorders. Our researchers have particular expertise in brain systems, networks and circuits impacted by:
- Schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders
- Major depressive disorder and refractory depression
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Educational and research presentations from our researchers and graduate students
Neurochat 2021: Understanding brain topography and cognition
30 minutes [in Chinese]
fMRI-guided TMS personalisation for depression
Best practices in diffusion imaging
Maria Di Biase
Terra Incognita: Virtual workshop on the subcortex
Introduction to thresholding connectomes
Introduction to null models in network neuroscience
Introduction to comparing connectomes
Functional gradients of the human subcortex
Three-minute thesis presentation on structural connectivity
Personalized TMS stimulation targets for depression
Schizophrenia Awareness Week
Maria Di Biase
Co-authored by Alex Fornito, Andrew Zalesky and Ed Bullmore, the textbook provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to methods for unraveling the extraordinary complexity of neuronal connectivity. From the perspective of graph theory and network science, we introduce, motivate and explain techniques for modeling brain networks as graphs of nodes connected by edges, and cover a diverse array of measures for quantifying their topological and spatial organization.
This text is ideally suited to neuroscientists wanting to develop expertise in the rapidly developing field of neural connectomics, and to physical and computational scientists wanting to understand how these quantitative methods can be used to understand brain organization.
Winner of the 2017 PROSE Award in Biomedicine & Neuroscience and the 2017 British Medical Association (BMA) Award in Neurology
...a thorough and didactic presentation of the tools available to research scientists wishing to engage in the emgerging field of network neuroscience...this text promises to be an essential title on the bookshelf of the intellectually curious neuroscientist.Professor Danielle S Basset, University of Pennsylvania
Australian School on Connectomics
Established in 2018, the Australian Connectomics School aims to provide researchers of all backgrounds with an introduction to the fundamentals of brain network analysis. The School is organized into didactic sessions that include theory as well as practical demonstrations of the latest software tools. Topics covered include:
- Quantifying brain connectivity with functional and diffusion MRI
- Building structural and functional brain networks
- Measures of network organization and their intepretation
- Comparing connectomes
- Brain network dynamics and computational modeling
Check out the School website for further details and photos from the most recent edition of the School.
The next School is planned for late 2022, or 2023. Stay tuned for further details!
Great balance between mathematical and computational background, and practical applications giving a comprehensive understanding of techniques discussed. Thank you! Extremely useful topics covered and practical material really helps to get started with analysis in a real way! Participant feedback
Queensland Neurostimulation Centre
Opening in 2022, the Queensland Neurostimulation Centre will be the first clinic in Australia to offer personalized brain stimulation therapy for depression.
The clinic uses a TGA-approved personalization method developed by our researchers and robotic technology to deliver targeted transcranial magnetic stimulation. This ensures that treatment is delivered to precise brain locations that are optimized for each patient's unique brain network architecture.
Our research suggests that personalization can improve treatment efficacy:
- Cash R, Cocchi L, Lv J, Fitzgerald P, Zalesky A. Functional magnetic resonance imaging-guided personalization of transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment for depression. JAMA Psychiatry. 2021.
- Cash R, Cocchi L, Lv J, Wu Y, Fitzgerald P, Zalesky A. Personalized connectivity-guided DLPFC-TMS for depression: Advancing computational feasibility, precision and reproducibility. Human Brain Mapping. 2021.
- Cash R, Zalesky A, Thomson R, Tian Y, Cocchi L, Fitzgerald PB. Subgenual functional connectivity predicts antidepressant treatment response to transcranial magnetic stimulation: Independent validation and evaluation of personalization. Biological Psychiatry. 2019.
- Cocchi L, Zalesky A. Personalized transcranial magnetic stimulation in psychiatry. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. 2018.
Openly available software tools and computer code developed by our researchers
Melbourne Subcortex Atlas
- Download the atlas from NITRC or GitHub
- Atlas available in CIFTI and NIFTI formats, either as a stand-alone atlas of the human subcortex or integrated into established cortex-only atlases to enable whole-brain connectome mapping
- Check out the paper and thread
- Also check out the commentary by Evan Gordon
- The network-based statistic (NBS) is an established method for statistically comparing brain networks between groups and testing for associations with subject-specific measures
- Download the NBS from NITRC
- Matlab and R packages are available, as well as an extension for directed networks
- NBS is also available as part of the CONN, Mrtrix3, GraphVar and BCT packages
- Check out the NBS paper and NBS manual
- Post questions and seek help on the NBS Help Forum
- The Hirschberger-Qi-Steuer (HQS) algorithm generates random covariance/correlation matrices for null hypothesis testing on functional connectivity matrices
- Download the bare-bones Matlab function implementing HQS
- Random covariance matrices can also be generated by sampling from an inverse Wishart distribution
- Check out the paper on correlation as a measure of functional connectivity
Random cortical parcellations
- Matlab function to compute navigation routes based on a given metric space
- Check out the paper on navigation of brain networks
- Like sightseeing in Paris – a new model for brain communication
Tools for high-resolution connectomics
- Python implementation of a high-resolution connectomic framework
- Map functional and structural connectivity at the resolution of cortical vertices
- Check out the paper on the neural correlates of identity and behavior mapped at high resolution
Target personalization of TMS for MDD
Come and study the human brain in health and disease with the best and brightest minds from Australia and around the world! We welcome applications for graduate study from both domestic and international graduates. We are an interdisciplinary group and encourage students from diverse academic backgrounds. Our current students and researchers include neuroscientists, physicists, engineers and psychiatrists.
Why choose Melbourne?
The University of Melbourne is the #1 ranked university in Australia. You will work alongside and be supervised by supportive researchers who are world leaders in their field. Researchers in the Systems Group are among most highly cited and impactful researchers in the world. We are committed to training graduate students and have established new training initiatives such as the Australian School on Connectomics.
We are located within a state-of-the-art facility at the Alan Gilbert Building. Facilities include a 7 Tesla MRI scanner, petascale computing resources and the brain imaging laboratory. We are part of the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre and Department of Biomedical Engineering, both of which have rich and diverse student groups that offer peer support and social activities.
Melbourne is multicultural city of more than 5 million people and considered Australia's most liveable city. No matter where you are from, you will feel at home in Melbourne. Numerous accommodation options are available within walking distance of the university campus and city centre.
Apply for graduate study
Our students can enroll in graduate research programs either through the Faculties of Engineering or Medicine at the University of Melbourne:
The PhD is up to four years of full-time study and the MPhil is typically two years.
Step 1 - Eligibility. Future students should first check that they meet the specific entry requirements for graduate research in Medicine or Engineering at the University of Melbourne. Scholarships are highly competitive. You require at least 80% or higher to be competitive for scholarship selection.
Step 2 - Project and Supervisor. Choosing a research project and supervisor are important decisions. You may want to consider one of our established research projects. You should contact the project leader in the first instance to express your interest. You can also propose a new project based on your own interests. All of our researchers are eligible supervisors and available to discuss potential projects with you. Ensure to include your full academic transcript and CV when emailing a potential supervisor. Detailed project proposals are not required at the time of application, but a research topic and confirmed support from a potential supervisor should be established.
Step 3 - Apply. Once you have support from a potential supervisor, you can apply using the online system. If eligible, you will automatically be considered for a Graduate Research Scholarship that provides a living allowance and/or tuition fee remission. Most domestic students are exempt from paying tuition fees. Domestic applicants should apply before October 31. Also consider applying for externally-funded scholarships.
It was wonderful to undertake part of my PhD in Melbourne as an exchange student. Working with Andrew and the team is always inspiring and the research environment is fantastic, where I have spent the most happy and productive time of my PhD.Dr Xin Wang
Exchange PhD 2019
Resources for future students
Visiting researchers and academics
We welcome visiting researchers, academics and clinicians to our group. Our group hosts international researchers for varying periods of time, from short visits of a few months to long-term placements and exchanges. Check out our alumni for details of previous academic visitors. Researchers and clinicians have visited our group to learn how to apply software tools and methods that we have developed to their own data.
Contact our researchers to discuss visiting and exchange opportunities.
I got the opportunity to work with world leaders in the fields of Psychiatry and Neuroimaging on Australian and other international large datasets. My partner was also able to take advantage of our experience abroad by carrying out several fellowships during which she gathered huge clinical experience. As a family with two kids, we had the great opportunity to live close to the University campus and City centre in a small house with a backyard. This experience not only enriched us from an academic and professional point of view, but it also allowed us to live unique adventures that have strengthened us as a family.Dr Paul Klauser
Visiting Researcher 2015-16
Resources for visiting researchers
We are looking for talented and motivated postdocs to join our group and establish a research career at the University of Melbourne. Consider applying for a postdoctoral fellowship:
- NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellowship (Investigator Grant)
- ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
- University of Melbourne McKenzie Fellowship
- Marie Curie Fellowship
Many of our researchers have been awarded these fellowships in the past and can mentor you in crafting your application.
Employment opportunities are advertised on the Careers website.