Research Challenge 2016 update with Dr Helen Nuttall

Dr Helen Nuttall is based within the Psychology department of Lancaster University where she is currently working on establishing how motor brain areas work in concert with auditory regions to assist speech perception under challenging listening conditions. Helen studies this question using several research methods: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), combined with behaviour and neurophysiology, as well as electroencephalography (EEG).

As part of the BrainBox Initiative, Helen also teaches TMS on the international TMS Workshop for Cognitive Neuroscience at Lancaster University.

The next course will be held on 26-28 Sept 2017.

What has the prize allowed you to achieve so far, which you wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise?
The BrainBox Initiative Research Challenge has allowed me to complete a TMS-EEG pilot study. I did not have access to TMS-compatible EEG equipment prior to receiving the loaned equipment from Rogue Resolutions, so a project of this nature would not have been possible for me to undertake without the prize.

How has your research evolved since the beginning of the project?
My research has evolved and diversified through the addition of a new research tool to my toolkit, which is the EEG system. This has allowed me to pursue research questions that I previously did not have the resources to explore, and in doing so, has broadened my research horizons.

What’s been the best part of your experience so far?
The best part of my experience so far has been refining my skills in EEG. Although I worked with subcortical EEG during my PhD, recording and analysing cortical EEG is somewhat different. I have thoroughly enjoyed building on my previous knowledge and learning new skills.

What are you most looking forward to as the project progresses?
I am most looking forward to presenting the results of my study at the Society for the Neurobiology of Language conference in Baltimore in November 2017. My favourite part of being in science is sharing and discussing data with colleagues in my field.

What will you do once this project is complete?
Once the project is complete, I will use the pilot data to form the basis of a larger grant application, which if funded, would enable me to build on questions that have followed from the work I have done on the prize project.