Tom Chambers

Research student, School of Psychology

Research summary

My PhD focuses on using multimodal imaging to better investigate the contribution of the cerebellum to various cognitive processes, as well as to explore how this relationship is altered in psychiatric conditions.

Teaching summary

I am a tutor on the School of Medicine SSC (Student Selected Component) module.

Undergraduate education

MSci Neuroscience (Frist class Hons): University of Nottingham

Postgraduate education

PhD Integrative Neuroscience (current): Cardiff University (Wellcome Trust 4-year award)

Employment

Previous to undertaking this PhD, I have undertaken two years’ research in neuroimaging of paediatric neuro-oncology at Nottingham NHS Trust. One research project was in the development of a stratification tool for predicting cerebellar mutism syndrome occurrence in paediatric patients following tumour removal (Liu et al., 2018), while the second was analysing neuroimaging data as part of the HERBY clinical trial for use of bevacizumab in paediatric high-grade glioma (Rodriguez et al., In press).

Research interests

Research topics and related papers

The idea that the cerebellum is only involved in motor coordination is a very pervasive view among lots of neuroscientists and is still widespread despite at least 30 years of in-depth studies, revealing the cerebellum to contribute to various cognitive processes. For example, neuroanatomical studies reveal connections between the cerebellum and almost all cognitive areas of the cerebrum and various subcortical structures, cognitive studies have shown functional associations between these cerebellar and cerebral areas, and clinical evidence from various pathologies of the cerebellum indicate disruption of cognition as a major symptomology. Lots of these improvements in our understanding of the cerebellum has been due to the more recent development of cerebellar-specific processing tools, which are required due to the cerebellum’s very unique anatomy and which then allow us to better investigate different substructures of the cerebellum, rather than having to treat it as a large, single mass.
My PhD utilises these cerebellar-specific imaging tools and applies them to large, well-phenotyped neuroimaging datasets to explore the relationship between various cognitive processes and cerebellar structure, along with factors which might alter these relationships. For instance, along with the growing appreciation for a cerebellar contribution to cognition, has been the mounting evidence of cerebellar involvement in numerous neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. A second part of my PhD focuses on ascertaining both structural and functional cerebellar changes in Schizophrenic patients, as well as the impact of genetic and environmental risk factors for schizophrenia upon cerebellar development. This is done using various neuroimaging datasets, including cross-sectional and longitudinal large-scale general population datasets, as well as clinical population datasets.

Funding

Wellcome Trust Integrative Neuroscience PhD

Research group

CUBRIC; Cognitive neuroscience; Neuroimaging and genetics

Research collaborators

Krish Singh
Xavier Caseras
James Walters