Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a child-friendly brain imaging technique that uses light to detect brain activity. It uses a cap containing light emitters and detectors that the person being imaged wears while doing tasks of interest. In this project, working directly with young normal hearing and hearing impaired infants and children, the student will first obtain normative fNIRS data about the development of important language areas in the brain in normal hearing children. They will then explore the effect of deafness and early intervention on this brain development in individual hearing impaired children.
This PhD project has capacity for several students. It would suit graduates with qualifications in audiology or speech pathology with motivation to become familiar with fNIRS technical techniques and analyses methods. Experience working with young deaf children and their families is desirable. Graduates with backgrounds in neuroscience, engineering or related disciplines are also welcome to apply. These applicants should have strong data analysis or signal processing skills including use of MatLab and have the interpersonal skills to work with young children and their families.
The general methods that will be used in this project include fNIRS imaging, language assessments, and signal processing.