Natasha Taylor

Natasha is a PhD candidate within the Faculty of Medicine & Health at University of Sydney. She developed her interest in neuroscience by completing a Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours) -2019. Subsequently, she commenced her PhD with Dr James M. Shine, to investigate the role of neuromodulatory systems in neurodegenerative disease. She has a passion for cognitive neuroscience, and what to determine how neuromodulatory systems influence cognitive function in both healthy and diseased brains. She wants to determine how brainstem neuromodulation can influence the global network topology and dynamic functional connectivity of the brain using neuroimaging analysis and large-scale dynamic modelling.

Forefront Group: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Group


Dr Mac Shine

Affiliate Organisations:

University of Sydney, Brain and Mind Centre.
Parkinson’s Disease Research Clinic, Brain and Mind Centre.


  • Neuroimaging (MRI)
  • Cognition
  • Neuromodulatory systems

Neurodegeneration of interest:


Specific Skills:

  • Neuroimaging analysis
  • Clinical research
  • Cognitive neuroscience

Project - Determining the role of neuromodulatory impairment in neurodegenerative disease and dementia (2020-2023)

  • Investigating the interactions between neuromodulatory systems and their modulation of cognitive function
  • Further identification of the separate and shared characteristics of dementia syndromes and neurodegenerative diseases by determining the specific neuromodulatory systems that have significant pathology that contribute to disease progression

Research Project Description

Determine the role of the noradrenergic impairment in neurodegenerative disease and dementia, specifically focusing on differences in cognitive and attentional task performance; to identify the noradrenergic role in executive function.

  • Structural MRI of Locus Coeruleus using neuromelanin-sensitive acquisitions to determine the integrity of the noradrenergic Locus Coeruleus in a neurodegenerative population

Identify differences and abnormalities in functional connectivity across brain networks in relation to ascending neuromodulatory fluctuations in neurodegenerative disease during task-specific analysis of cognition and attention performance using fMRI.

  • Determine noradrenergic role in executive cognitive function by using task-specific fMRI analysis, understand the global alteration in brain network topology relating to performance on cognitive tasks
  • Determine the structural and functional connectivity of the noradrenergic system using specialised imaging methodological analysis in order to understand whether structure and functional connectivity relates to cognitive ability

Redefine the neuromodulatory role in brain function, by determining the unique contributions of noradrenergic and other neuromodulators in executive function, in order to explain the diverse symptoms of neurodegenerative disease in relation to the neuromodulatory impairment which alters brain networks and circuitry.

  • DoDetermine a computational model of the role of neuromodulatory systems on global states of brain dynamic functional connectivity

Determine whether heightened anxiety alters the dynamic functional connectivity during walking in Parkinson’s Disease

  • Elucidate the influence of anxiety in alterations in brain network topology during a virtual reality walking task-based fMRI paradigm with varying anxiety inducing conditions in a freezing of gait PD population
  • General linear models will be used to determine whether network topology differs across 3 different modalities of threat
  • Determine functional connectome in anxiety in freezing of gait in PD