PET is Wonderful Annual Meeting 2020 Oct 27, 2020 02:00 PM - 05:40 PM — Virtual Meeting (online)
Through the Looking Glass: Breaking Barriers in STEM Oct 28, 2020 12:00 PM - 03:30 PM — Virtual Meeting (online)
NRS Mental Health Network Annual Scientific Meeting 2020 Nov 04, 2020 09:00 AM - 05:30 PM — Virtual Meeting (online)
Scottish Radiological Society Annual General Meeting 2020 Nov 06, 2020 09:30 AM - 03:30 PM — Virtual Meeting (online)


SINAPSE experts from around Scotland have developed ten online modules designed to explain medical imaging. They are freely available and are intended for non-specialists.

Edinburgh Imaging Academy at the University of Edinburgh offers the following online programmes through a virtual learning environment:

Neuroimaging for Research MSc/Dip/Cert

Imaging MSc/Dip/Cert

PET-MR Principles & Applications Cert

Applied Medical Image Analysis Cert

Online Short Courses

Goultchira Chakirova

Position: PhD student
Institute: University of Edinburgh
Department: Psychiatry

Description of Phd:


Patients with prefrontal damage have difficulties in shifting cognitive set, an impaired ability to move attention between one stimulus dimension and another (extra-dimensional set-shifting) and a  failure to reverse previously acquired stimulus-reward associations (reversal learning). Growing evidence in both animal and human studies suggests that these functions are segregated within the prefrontal cortex and are differentially modulated by ascending monoaminergic inputs.  Behavioural experiments have shown set-shifting and reversal learning abnormalities in patients with schizophrenia, and deficits in set shifting in patients with bipolar disorder. These data, and the presence of similar behavioural deficits in animals with prefrontal lesions, suggest potentially separable neural mechanisms in these disorders. FMRI tasks have been devised to examine the neural basis of extra-dimensional set shifting and reversal learning, but a systematic comparison in people with psychosis has not yet been made. The successful applicant will develop two fMRI tasks based on ongoing pilot work: one that clarifies the neural basis of cognitive set shifting, and another which examines reversal learning. In years 2 and 3, the successful applicant will apply the tasks to a clinical sample of people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and control participants (20/group). The intention is to identify activation/connectivity profiles associated with these functions, clarify how these differ in patient groups and with a view to understanding how these deficits may relate to the aetiology of psychosis and its treatment.


Key Publications
  • Chakirova G., Welch K.A., Moorhead T.W.J., Stanfield A.C., Hall J., Skehel P., Brown V.J., Johnstone E.C., Owens D.G.C., Lawrie S.M., McIntosh A.M. 2010. Orbitofrontal morphology in people at high risk of developing schizophrenia. European Psychiatry 25 (6), 366-372.
  • Whalley H.C., Sussmann J., Chakirova G., Mukerjee P., Peel A., McKirdy J., Hall J., Johnstone E.C., Lawrie S.M., McIntosh A.M. The neural basis of familial risk and temperamental variation in individuals at high risk of bipolar disorder. Biological Psychiatry, In Press, Available online 24 May 2011.
  • Chakirova G., Whalley H.C., Thomson P.A., Hennah W., Moorhead T.W.J., Welch K.A., Giles S., Hall J., Johnstone E.C., Lawrie S.M., Porteous D.J., Brown V.J., McIntosh A.M. 2011. The effects of DISC1 risk variants on brain activation in controls, patients with bipolar disorder and patients with schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 192, 20–28.