Quick Project Snapshot

Functional connectivity and the human brain functional connectome

Understanding how the brain works requires knowledge of how brain regions communicate with each other to form large-scale functional networks. The “functional connectome” is a term used to describe the collective set of functional connections in the brain. Measuring these connections at any scale is a great challenge. Our research includes investigations into how best to measure these networks at a macroscopic scale (millimetre resolution) with non-invasive neuroimaging methods such as functional MRI (fMRI). Functional connectivity provides a measure of the correlations in activity over time between brain regions, and is the mainstay of current research into brain networks. Our investigations include correlation-based functional connectivity explorations as well as data-driven approaches such as independent component analysis and machine learning. We are also developing novel approaches such as Dynamic Regional Phase Synchrony (DRePS).

Selected publications

Omidvarnia A, Pedersen M, Walz JM, Vaughan DN, Abbott DF & Jackson GD. Dynamic Regional Phase Synchrony (DRePS): an instantaneous measure of local fMRI connectivity within spatially clustered brain areas.  Human Brain Mapping 37(5) 1970–1985 (2016) ( doi: 10.1002/hbm.23151 ).

Warren AEL, Abbott DF, Vaughan DN, Jackson GD, Archer JS. Abnormal cognitive network interactions in Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome: A potential mechanism for Epileptic Encephalopathy. Epilepsia 57(5) 812–822 (2016) ( doi: 10.1111/epi.13342 ).

Tailby C, Masterton RAJ, Huang JY, Jackson GD, Abbott DF. Resting state functional connectivity changes induced by prior brain state are not network specific. Neuroimage 106:428-40 (2015). ( doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.11.037 ).

Pedersen M, Curwood EK, Archer JS, Abbott DF & Jackson GD. Brain regions with abnormal network properties in severe epilepsy of Lennox-Gastaut Phenotype: Multivariate analysis of task-free fMRI. Epilepsia 56(11) 1767–1773 (2015) ( doi: 10.1111/epi.13135 ).

Archer JS, Warren AEL, Stagnitti MR, Masterton RAJ, Abbott DF& Jackson GD(=joint senior authors). Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Phenotype: Secondary network epilepsies. Epilepsia 55(8):1245-54 (2014). ( doi: 10.1111/epi.12682 ). IF=4.6.

Archer JS, Abbott DF, Masterton RAJ, Palmer SM, Jackson GD. Functional MRI interactions between dysplastic nodules and overlying cortex in periventricular nodular heterotopia. Epilepsy & Behavior 19(4):631–634 (2010) ( doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2010.09.018 ).

Waites AB, Briellmann RS, Saling MM, Abbott DF, Jackson GD. Functional connectivity networks are disrupted in left temporal lobe epilepsy. Ann Neurol 59(2):335-343 (2006). ( doi: 10.1002/ana.20733 ).

Waites AB, Stanislavsky A, Abbott DF, Jackson GD. Effect of prior cognitive state on resting state networks measured with functional connectivity. Human Brain Mapping 24(1):59–68 (2005). ( doi:  10.1002/hbm.20069 ).

A/Prof David Abbott

Epilepsy Neuroinformatics Laboratory

The Neuroinformatics Laboratory undertakes advanced neuroimaging analysis methods development and applied research to further our understanding of the human brain in health and disease. Whilst the work in the laboratory is relevant to a wide range of brain mapping applications, a particular emphasis of the research is towards methods that can help better understand the causes and consequences of epileptic seizures. This includes implementation, development and application of advanced image analysis procedures for structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) - including simultaneous EEG & fMRI. These non-invasive imaging modalities together with advanced computational methods are capable of mapping human brain activity at millimetre spatial resolution and millisecond temporal resolution. Our scientists work collaboratively with local and international clinical research teams, sharing analysis methods and data in a multidisciplinary pursuit of discovery.

The Neuroinformatics Laboratory has a range of software publicly available.  Please click below for further information and downloads.

Software Available


All Projects by this Lab

Functional neuroimaging analysis to identify brain abnormality in epilepsyArtefact reduction in functional MRIFunctional connectivity and the human brain functional connectomeFunctional MRI Processing PipelinesLaterality of brain functionMorphometryQuantitative voxel-based analysis of qualitative imagesSimultaneous EEG-fMRIT2 relaxometry


The Florey's Epilepsy division is a world-leading centre for epilepsy research. The division has major groups at both the Florey’s Austin and Parkville campus. The group studies mechanisms that cause epilepsy from the level of cells to the function of the whole brain. We use technologies including advanced MRI and cutting edge cellular physiology techniques to allow us to understand genetic and acquired mechanisms that give rise to epilepsy. Together with our colleagues from The University of Melbourne and across Australia we are working towards finding a cure for epilepsy.

All Labs that operate in this Division

Epilepsy Cognition LaboratoryEpilepsy Neuroinformatics LaboratoryImaging and EpilepsyInnate Phagocytosis LaboratoryIon Channels and Human Diseases LaboratoryNeural Networks LaboratoryNeurophysiology of Excitable Networks LaboratoryPsychology and Experimental NeurophysiologySleep and CognitionTraumatic Brain Injury Laboratory