Profile Update 28.02.2019
I am currently preparing to submit my PhD thesis. At this time, I am completing my final PhD project, in collaboration with NextGenVis affiliate Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging, where I am investigating chromatic pRF size estimates across cortical depth using high-resolution fMRI. Beyond my PhD research, I continue to collaborate with NextGenVis affiliate Lundbeck A/S on a project investigating visual biomarkers in rodent models of Parkinson’s Disease (PD).
Over the past three years I have produced three publications from my PhD. I am first author on two publications where we use electrophysiology to identify a new visual biomarker in Drosophila (fruit fly) models of PD, and how this can be eventually translated to human patients and drug testing. Additionally, I am first author on a publication where I used fMRI to investigate how temporal contrast sensitivity is represented as a function of visual field eccentricity in the healthy human brain, and how this relates to visual perception.
- Himmelberg, M.M., West, R.J.H, Elliott, C.J.H, & Wade, A.R. (2018). Abnormal visual gain control & excitotoxicity in early-onset Parkinson’s disease Drosophila models, Journal of Neurophysiology,119(3), 957-970. doi:10.1152/jn.00681.2017
- Himmelberg, M.M., West, R.J.H, Wade, A.R., Elliott, C.J.H (2018). A perspective plus in Parkinson’s disease, Movement Disorders, 33(2), 248. doi:10.1002/mds.27240
- Himmelberg, M.M.& Wade, A.R. (2019). Eccentricity-dependent temporal contrast tuning in human visual cortex measured using fMRI, NeuroImage, 184. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.09.049
Within NextGenVis, I have acted as Junior Research Board Representative for the ESRs from the start of the network. I also won business start-up funding from EUROGRANT, in collaboration with Barbara Molz – a fellow NextGenVis ESR at the University of York, for our business-project ‘ClassiFLY’. Finally, I have completed my secondments at University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) and Lundbeck A/S, both of which proved beneficial for acquiring experience, skills, and networking outside of academia.
Following the completion of my PhD I aim continue a career in visual neuroscience by gaining a postdoctoral fellowship, with the long-term goal to establish my own lab where I would like to continue researching low-level visual processing in health and disease.
My NextGenVis Experience:
Overall, I have found NextGenVis to be an incredibly rewarding experience and I have had the most enjoyable years of my life to date. It has been a privilege to have been involved in the network and meet a diverse range of talented and friendly ESRs (and PIs!) that have always been eager to support each other. I have had experiences that I would have otherwise never had and this has given me a solid foundation for a career in science. Most of all, NextGenVis has given me the opportunity to work with my supervisor, Prof. Alex Wade, who has always been an incredible source of guidance and support for myself throughout my time in NextGenVis, and I’m very lucky to have had him as my mentor.
PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 2018, University of York, UK
Supervisors: Professor Alex Wade and Professor Antony Morland
Bachelor of Psychology (Hons), 2014, Western Sydney University, Australia
Supervisor: Dr. Tamara Watson
Australian Psychological Society Prize, 2014
Western Sydney University Medal for Outstanding Scholarship, 2014
My research interests include low-level visual processing and visual cortical changes in patient populations with neurological and psychiatric disorders. Currently, research aims to investigate visual abnormalities in patients with a genetic form of Parkinson’s Disorder.
I am currently working with drosophila to investigate how LRRK2-G2019S (the most common early-onset PD related genetic mutation) impacts the drosophila visual system via abnormalities in visual gain control. I will use EEG to quantify similar visual abnormalities in human PD patients. I will be applying fMRI-pRF based techniques to investigate the response of neural populations to contrast and temporal frequency in both healthy and PD patient populations. Changes in contrast sensitivity of these population receptive fields can then be related to behaviour and disease severity.