Meg Spriggs: PhD Candidate for Brain Research New Zealand

Meg Spriggs is a PhD candidate within BRNZ. She’s an MRI and EEG specialist working alongside the Dementia Prevention Research Clinic in Auckland, assisting clinic participants and other researchers with brain imaging.

As an undergraduate psychology student, Meg was introduced to EEG and MRI. She now uses this technology on a daily basis for her research, alongside participants from the Dementia Prevention Research Clinic (DPRC). Using MRI and imaging technology has been an overwhelmingly exciting part of her role. “We’re currently experiencing an exciting time for brain research,” Meg explains, “new techniques enable us to understand how the brain works and allow us to move the field forward at an unprecedented rate.”

Meg’s research is focused on identifying change in patterns of brain activity in the early stages of dementia. I’m assessing the first wave of data collection for participants of the DPRC. “I hope that the data I collect now will be helpful for understanding longitudinal brain changes when then the same participants come back to the DPRC for subsequent assessments,” Meg says, “My hope is that this will not only be beneficial for the individuals involved, but for our understanding of the neural processes underlying dementia.“ One of the goals of the DPRC is to implement treatments and interventions to help slow the onset/progression of dementia by five years. “I hope that the baseline measures of brain function I collect,” Meg says, “will help track progression which will help in developing and assessing the effectiveness of such interventions.”

Not only is she involved in research projects, Meg also teaches labs for one undergraduate research paper and volunteers one day a week at a residential care facility, where she enriches the lives of residents with fun activities like Zumba, music and bingo.

BRNZ has enabled her to feel connected to young BRNZ peers located at other universities. “In February I attended a BRNZ Early Career Researcher workshop in Christchurch,” Meg says, “I left feeling excited and motivated by what I had learnt. I also felt that I’d made connections with many other like-minded people at the same stage in their career. This sense of community is unique and I’m lucky to be a part of it.”

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