The breadth of research in the Imaging unit is illustrated by a number of ongoing imaging projects, which can be grouped into studies of:

  • Normal function in young and old participants
  • Abnormal function in disease, addiction and mental illness
  • Treatment and monitoring

See below for a list of research labs in our unit and the sorts of projects they are currently carrying out...

Bestelmeyer Lab

• Projects using adaptation techniques to evaluate models of face and voice perception.
• Investigations of the neuroanatomical and temporal underpinnings of the perception of paralinguistic aspects of voice such as affect.

d’Avossa Lab

• Projects investigating the relationship between spatial attention, neural signal variability, and performance variability in discrimination tasks.
• Evaluating the hypothesis that trial-to-trial changes in signal amplitude represent ongoing updating of estimates of cue reliability.
• Attempting to determine which of the two main mechanisms of endogenous attention, distractor exclusion and target enhancement, these signals are related to.

Developmental Social Vision Lab

• A series of experiments (led by Jon Walbrin, a PhD student in the lab) investigating neural responses to scenes depicting social interactions of different types (e.g. cooperative vs. competitive).
• A project investigating the neural response to goal-directed actions in different social context (e.g. shared goals vs. independent goals).
• A project (partially funded by the Royal Society) investigating the development of the "social brain", focused on the perception of social interaction in children aged 5 to 15.

Downing Lab

• BBSRC funded project with Kim Graham, Cardiff focusing on using fMRI to assess the perceptual functions of the medial temporal lobes, and to compare these directly to the functions of category-selective areas of the extrastriate cortex. For example, see this paper or this paper.
• A collaborative project with Lew Hardy and Ross Roberts (School of Sports, Health, and Exercise Sciences,Bangor) and Leanne Simpson, funded by DSTL, on the neural underpinnings of mental robustness.
• A collaborative project with CUBRIC at Cardiff University examining the neural correlates associated with scene perception and visual spatial memory. This work is also in collaboration with a BBSRC grant.

Extremes Research Group SHESS

• A project investigating the pathophysiology of acute mountain sickness, involving participants having MRI scans pre and post exposure to a hypoxic environment.
• A study of the anabolic response to exercise in patients with in chronic kidney disease


• Investigations into the use of behavioural factors as predictors of functional cerebral asymmetries such as language, emotion processing, and face and body perception.

• Using DTI to investigate differences between left- and right-handed subjects, as well as people who are left or right brain dominant for language. 






Mullins Lab

• Using MR spectroscopy to measure glutamatergic correlates of neural activity.

• NeuroSKILL project funded by the EU’s INTERREG IVA Ireland Wales Programme researching age related changes in neurochemistry, as well as functional connectivity and cerebral blood flow measures in young and healthy aging adults.
• Projects investigating MRS measures in pain tolerance and chronic pain.
• Research into functional connectivity and volumetric changes in response to chronic pain.
• DTI projects including analysis of pathways relating to circadian rhythms.



SoBA Lab

• Projects investigating how aspects of another person’s identity, such as body-shape and group membership, are integrated in the brain.
• Categorising and stereotyping of others based on group membership plays a vital role in how we understand and engage with other people, which is why we aim to understand their underlying cognitive and neural mechanisms.
• Researching how we interact with non-human agents, as part of an ERC funded project.

Valyear Hand and Brain Lab

• Our lab mission is to better understand the neural-behavioural basis of human hand function, and to use this knowledge to improve rehabilitation outcomes for individuals with movement problems.

• The principal aims of the fMRI projects we are currently undertaking at the Bangor Imaging Unit are: (1) to newly identify brain areas important for action planning and selection, and (2) to better understand how the space-time features of action plans are represented in these brain areas.