New ‘Life Science Imaging Centre’ promotes transdisciplinary research

31 Jan 2024

The Life Science Imaging Centre (LSIC), a new central research facility at HKBU, aims to support the University’s transdisciplinary research endeavours. It will expand the horizon of knowledge creation in line with HKBU’s 10-year Institutional Strategic Plan to nurture future-ready students via transdisciplinary education and research.

The new Centre is equipped with advanced brain imaging facilities, covering a 3T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, Electroencephalogram (EEG), functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) system. Professor Zhou Changsong, Director of LSIC and Head of the Department of Physics, says that the Centre delves into a wide range of transdisciplinary research areas, including but not limited to Healthcare and Medicine, Neuromanagement, Neuromarketing, and Neuroaesthetics.

Faculty members across different disciplines have utilised LSIC’s advanced facilities and embarked on numerous innovative and pioneering research projects. Professor Zhou is leading a research team to employ MRI and TMS facilities to identify effective strategies for modulating neurocognition and treating mental health disorders. As the TMS system uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate specific regions of the brain non-invasively, it enables researchers to modulate brain activity for both activation and inhibition.

In the meantime, Dr Tian Liang, Assistant Professor of the Department of Physics, and his team are conducting a research project to examine the associations of the human gut microbiome with food preferences and consumption and brain activity. Participants of the study will undergo functional MRI (fMRI) and EEG sessions at LSIC to measure their brain activity and provide information about their cognitive control over the impulse to choose food from certain categories. The research aims to develop dietary interventions targeted at gut microorganisms to improve people’s health.

The Centre also facilitates the development of research that can deepen the public’s comprehension of social sciences, arts, creativity, and humanities, as well as other topics with significant societal and practical implications. Dr Yu Rongjun, Associate Director of LSIC, is looking into the neural architecture of leadership. By utilising fMRI in conjunction with realistic simulation tasks, Dr Yu’s project aims to identify the neural correlates of transformational leadership and the thinking process of transformational leaders.

Professor Johnny ML Poon, Associate Vice-President (Interdisciplinary Research) and Founding Dean of the School of Creative Arts, and Dr Liila Taruffi, Assistant Professor of the Academy of Music, are investigating collaborative inter-brain behaviours in music ensemble. The research team uses fNIRS to measure the brain activities of musicians within a clarinet duo and explores the inter-brain synchronisation among the musicians and its correlation with the quality of their performance and the cohesion of the ensemble.

Leveraging neuroscience and advanced imaging technology, LSIC exemplifies HKBU’s commitment to creating the best possible conditions for transdisciplinary research by connecting scholars and researchers from different disciplines to address pertinent issues together.