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Amygdala integrity in frontotemporal dementia


The amygdala, a complex brain region with numerous projections to other brain regions, is known to play a central role in processing emotional information.  Evidence indicates that this brain region undergoes significant atrophy in many dementia syndromes, including frontotemporal dementia.

This project aims to identify the severity of the patholocial changes in the amygdala and its connections and the relations between these changes and measures of emotion processing in frontotemporal dementia subtypes and related conditions.


Professor Olivier Piguet.

Research location

School of Psychology

Program type



Dementia syndromes are associated with specific patterns of brain changes.  In two of the three main subtypes of frontotemporal dementia, the amygdala undergoes significant patholocial changes.  Importantly, amygdala subregions connect to different brain regions.  How these connections are affected with frontotemporal dementia is unknown.

In additon, the amygdala plays a central role in how we process emotional information.  Contributions of the subregions of the amygdala and their connections to emotion processing remain to be established.

This project will combine a range of structural neuroimaging techniques (volumetic, connectivity) to map the changes in the amagdala network across dementia syndromes and their relations to measure of social cognition and emotion processing.

Findings arising from this project will improve our understanding of the clinical profiles of these dementia syndromes.

Additional information

The student will be located within the Brain and Mind Centre for the duration of this project.

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2453

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