Derek Jones

Based at the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC), School of Psychology.

Research interests

My research focuses on characterising the brain's white matter non-invasively using magnetic resonance imaging techniques. If the grey matter acts as the 'service stations' – then the white matter acts as the 'motorways' and hence forms an integral and fundamental part of brain networks.

My research has been primarily focussed on development of methods for diffusion magnetic resonance imaging and fibre tractography – that allows us to study the three-dimensional pathways and connections of white matter bundles. This has led to important discoveries in both healthy and diseased states (see references).

Tractometry is the name we give to quantifying additional aspects of white matter microcstructure along functionally relevant pathways, such as proxy indices of myleination (harnessed from techniques such as multi-component relaxometry and quantitative magnetization transfer imaging), and of axon morphology (including axon density and axon diameter, harnessed from advanced models of diffusion).

The aim is to providing a more complete multi-spectral characterization of white matter – and therefore a more holistic view of the brain than functional imaging alone can provide.

Facilities

I am the MRI Director of the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC), which is part of the UK's largest 5* rated School of Psychology. This has state-of-the-art neuroimaging resources dedicated to neuroscience research. These include:

  • a 275-channel VSM/CTF MEG system
  • a 3-Tesla GE HDx MRI scanner
  • a 32-channel MRI compatible EEG system
  • 2 EEG laboratories
  • 2 TMS systems
  • a 300-node computing cluster dedicated to neuroimaging data analysis.

The Centre also has dedicated support staff to support neuroimaging research.

Available PhD projects

  1. White matter asymmeties and their functional consequences
  2. Multi-spectral characterization of white matter
  3. Automated white matter tract identification system
  4. Optimal pipelines for processing tractometry data.
  5. Any additional projects within the remit of my research interests described above (from MR physics / mathematical development, through to applications) will be considered.

Research keywords

Neuroimaging, white matter microstructure, connectivity, structural MRI