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The Multisensory Human Brain - Solving the debate on direct and indirect pathways (MultisensoryBrain)
Start date: Apr 1, 2009, End date: Jul 31, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The fellowship aims to elucidate at which processing stage the different sensory systems (vision, audition) of the human brain interact, and whether this stage depends on what kind of information is integrated, and why. The project proposal starts from very recent data suggesting that our sensory systems are not nearly as independent as traditionally thought. Therefore, it will provide building blocks for a novel theoretical frame for multisensory integration and perception in general. Furthermore, the results may provide directly applicable insights into cross-modal compensatory plasticity in blind/deaf individuals, and new starting points for understanding how the functional/anatomical integration pathways of reading are disrupted in dyslexia. The research objectives will be addressed using a unique approach of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) in combination with cutting-edge functional connectivity analysis methods and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) to track anatomical connectivity. The outgoing host (Nathan Kline Institute, New York, USA) is characterized by its multidisciplinarity and is world-leading in the field of multisensory neuroimaging research. The returning host (Cognitive Neuroscience department, Maastricht University, the Netherlands) is internationally renowned for its pioneering role in fMRI-methodology including functional/anatomical connectivity. The applicant finished her PhD in cognitive neuroimaging cum laude and is currently post-doc at Maastricht University. The high-level multidisciplinary training and international experience in another research culture will make a major contribution to the further development, consolidation and widening of her career prospects within the EU. The mutual intentions of creating a long-term collaboration between the outgoing and EU returning host further contributes to the impact the fellowship will have on EU scientific excellence and competitiveness in the field of multisensory integration.

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