NEUROSALIENCE EP17: Dynamic modeling of the brain, NeuroImage, and the neuroscience crisis in Australia with Michael Breakspear
By Peter Bandettini and the Neurosalience production team
In this wide ranging podcast discussion, Peter talks to Michael Breakspear about his motivations for modelling brain dynamics and how his research may pay off in the long run towards clinical applications. Michael is also the current Editor-in-Chief of the journal NeuroImage; there is discussion of some of the changes that have occurred, such as new types of papers, new policies on data sharing, and of course the transition to open-access. Michael mentions a new offshoot of NeuroImage called NeuroImage Reports, which welcomes re-analysis of previous results. Lastly, recent news of the Australian National University shutting down its neuroscience program because of budget problems is discussed.
Michael Breakspear Ph.D. is a physicist, psychiatrist, and the leader of the Systems Neuroscience and Translational Neuroimaging Group at the Hunter Medical Research Institute at the University of Newcastle. He is the current Editor-in-Chief of the journal NeuroImage. His work in physics focuses on dynamic models of large-scale brain activity, toolbox development and the detection of nonlinear dynamics in empirical data. His work in translational imaging encompasses healthy ageing, dementia, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, with a focus on connectomics and risk prediction.
Michael grew up in Sydney and studied medicine, philosophy and mathematics. He undertook early-career research training in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney before moving to the School of Psychiatry at UNSW as a mid-career researcher. He formed his Systems Neuroscience Group at the University of South Wales in Sydney in 2004, then moved to QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in 2009. He relocated to Newcastle in 2019 and established the Systems Neuroscience Group, Newcastle (SNG-Newy) with aspirations to integrate basic methods, bioinformatics and clinical translation with a unique regional Australian character. Their imaging centre is in a beautiful bushland setting in Awabakal country.
In addition to basic research training, he also completed training in psychiatry and nowadays combines his research career with clinical sessions in adult psychiatry. Michael has an interest in recovery-focussed treatment of mood disorders, psychosis, and addiction. In the past he has also worked in prison mental health and inner-city community psychiatry.
Michael has a passion for climate science, being rather social, and surfing.