Director of the Bangor Imaging Centre in the School of Human and Behavioural Sciences, home to a research dedicated 3T whole body MRI system used for functional and structural imaging studies.
Liaising with researchers from the College of Human Sciences on study design, data acquisition and processing and resources available to help with their research questions, my aim is to keep the Bangor Imaging Unit a world-class center for neuroimaging research in North Wales.
My personal research falls into three broad areas: development and validation of MRS techniques for the detection of neurotransmitters; the use of these techniques to measure changes associated with neurotransmission and neural activity in health and disease; and the use of magnetic resonance imaging to investigate basic neurologic and physiologic processes in health and disease. My current ongoing research however is focused on two of these areas: the study of functional neurochemical changes through the use of functional magnetic resonance spectroscopy (fMRS); and measurement of changes in cerebral physiology and blood flow.
Based on the same principles as MRS, fMRS collects multiple MRS spectra in a dynamic series to study metabolite concentration changes during brain function. fMRS is able to measure changes in neurotransmitters over very short time scales, in seconds rather than minutes, either alone, or combined with other measures of neural activity such as EEG and BOLD. Direct measurement of neurotransmitter and neurometabolite changes allows fundamental questions to be addressed regarding the excitatory, inhibitory and metabolic processes underlying neural activity.
Understanding the what, how, and why, of cerebral blood flow (CBF) changes, has implications for many fields of research, from clinical conditions (stroke, brain injury, hypoxia, Alzhiemers) to basic cognition (fMRI is based on blood flow changes). Similarly, it is important to understand the physiologic drivers for change, and what other changes in physiology affect CBF. Current work is investigating the effects of prolonged hypoxic exposure as might be experienced at altitude on CBF and cognition, the effects of healthy ageing, and possible relationships between resting levels of neurotransmitters and blood flow.
I am the course director of the MSc in Neuroimaging, and lecturer for the “Introduction to Neuroimaging”, "Introduction to Neuroimaging analysis", “Advanced Techniques in Neuroimaging” and "Advanced Neuroimaging analysis" modules. I have supervised 4 PhD students to completion, and currently have co-supervision of 4 others. I also supervise several MSc students’ neuroimaging research projects that intersect with my labs research interests in neurochemistry and cerebral physiology, having already successfully supervised 28 MSc students to completion.
Wider Scientific Involvement
Recognizing the importance of open and shared science I am actively involved in collaborative research with colleagues in the USA, Ireland, Norway and the UK. I am also a well-respected member of the international magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) research community,having been on the organizing committee for several international symposia, and recently involved in developing the Minimum Reporting Standards for Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.
Masters in Neuroimaging
Module organiser and Lecturer:
Introduction to Neuroimaging.
Introduction to Neuroimaging analysis
Advanced Neuroimaging analysis
6 Masters Students projects in 2019-20
10 undergraduate disertations
PhD supervision -
Vallilath Madham Vinod Ramakrishnan
Joshua Payne - Graduated
Pauliina Sorvino - Graduated
Shelby DeMeulenaere - Graduated
Gabriella Rosetti - Graduated
Self-funded (inc. agency-funded) projects: Professor Mullins welcomes informal enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in projects related to functional magnetic resonance spectroscopy, imaging of cerebral physiology, and/or neuroimaging in general. Please submit a draft research proposal (1-2 pages) to email@example.com.
Competitive scholarship opportunities available: None at present, but I am always ready to investigate opportunities.