The development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has been instrumental to our understanding of the function and structure of the human brain. In this talk, we start by taking a look at the main features of this imaging technique and the associated pre- and post-processing pipelines. We then move on to the VBToolbox, a functional MRI (fMRI) analysis software package developed by the Boundaries of the Brain (BOB) group at the University of Malta. This package makes use of principles from spectral graph theory to detect correlations in the function of the human brain, both locally (at each voxel) and also across the whole brain. The data series collected during an MRI scan session are each associated with a volume element (voxel) within the brain, and the main idea is to consider each voxel as the node of a graph whose edges are weighted by the degree of similarity between the different series. We shall review some of the results obtained with the VBToolbox and discuss their implications, and end the talk by looking at current developments and future work.
The Data Science Research Platform (DSRP) at the University of Malta conducts research in the interdisciplinary field of data science. The scope of the group is to use signal processing, machine learning and statistics to develop innovative techniques and to extract useful knowledge from various data sources in an effective manner to benefit the wider public.