Dr Trung Ngo

Tel: +6142 111 7258
Email: Trung.Ngo@monash.edu / Trung.Ngo@uq.edu.au

Trung completed his PhD in Neuroscience with eminent Australian neurobiologist, Jack Pettigrew, at the University of Queensland. His research studies employed caloric vestibular stimulation (CVS) — a simple, non-invasive (unihemispheric) brain stimulation technique— to demonstrate evidence for a novel neural mechanism of visual rivalry: the interhemispheric switch (IHS) model.

Trung was awarded an NHMRC postdoctoral clinical research fellowship to continue investigating rivalry mechanisms and characterise rivalry abnormalities in psychiatric groups. In particular, the project examined slow binocular rivalry (BR) switch rate as a clinical diagnostic tool and endophenotype for bipolar disorder (BD). From 2010 he was project coordinator and technology lead for this work at MAPRC. His fellowship studies also examined CVS as a potential therapeutic intervention in persistent pain disorders.

His research is currently based at QIMR Berghofer’s Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory, involving the collaborative development of a new online BR test (with MAPRC) for large-scale data collection in genotyped cohorts of psychiatric and control subjects. This work aims to identify an endophenotype for BD that improves genome-wide association studies of the disorder and thus provide new insights into the pathophysiological and molecular mechanisms of its aetiology.

 

Research/Industry Collaboration Interests & PhD/DPsych projects

[A] Systems- to genetic-level mechanisms, individual differences (incl. clinical correlates), phylogeny/ontogeny and history of (i) perceptual rivalry, (ii) bistable/IHS phenomena, and (iii) vestibulocortical neuromodulation.

[B] Development of integrated/portable hardware (devices) and software applications for (i) perceptual rivalry viewing (e.g., 3D displays), data collection and analyses; (ii) probing IHS rhythms (incl. extended recording & real-time analyses); and (iii) inducing, recording and real-time analyses of vestibulocortical neuromodulation.

[C] Multi-platform development of candidate endophenotype perceptual and cognitive task measures for large-scale user-friendly testing in genotyped and at-risk/youth cohorts (e.g., web, mobile, tablet, gaming, virtual reality).

[D] Clinical applications of non-invasive vestibular neuromodulation, and the genetics and neuroimaging of its therapeutic response, with the aim of characterising novel electroceutical pathways and response biomarkers (e.g., gene-based associations with neuroplastic networks/pathways) across a spectrum of psychiatric and neurological diseases.

[E] Investigating the thesis that bistable (anti-phase) interhemispheric oscillations are a fundamental neurobiological mechanism — given they’re widely observed in several species (e.g., rodents, birds, cetaceans, humans, Drosophila) across diverse phenotypes such as biological rhythms (e.g., sleep/wake and menstrual cycles), autonomic functions, oculomotor activity, perception/attention and mood/behaviour changes. Investigations in this area will aim to determine whether the underlying genes, molecular mechanisms and neural network dynamics are conserved in nature, with significant implications for elucidating their potential clinical utility (e.g., early psychosis, BD, depression, PTSD).

 

Publications

Research papers

Law PCF, Riddiford JA, Paton BK, Gurvich CT, Ngo TT, Miller SM (2015). No relationship between binocular rivalry rate and eye-movement profiles in healthy individuals: A Bayes factor analysis. Perception 44 (6): 643–661. 

Palmer CJ, Paton BK, Ngo TT, Thomson RH, Hohwy J, Miller SM (2013). Individual differences in moral behaviour: A role for response to risk and uncertainty? Neuroethics 6 (1): 97–103. 

Miller SM, Hansell NK, Ngo TT, Liu GB, Pettigrew JD, Martin NG, Wright MJ (2010). Genetic contribution to individual variation in binocular rivalry rate. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107 (6): 2664–2668. 

Ngo TT, Liu GB, Tilley AJ, Pettigrew JD, Miller SM (2008). The changing face of perceptual rivalry. Brain Research Bulletin 75 (5): 610–618.

Ngo TT, Liu GB, Tilley AJ, Pettigrew JD, Miller SM (2007). Caloric vestibular stimulation reveals discrete neural mechanisms for coherence rivalry and eye rivalry: A meta-rivalry model. Vision Research 47 (21): 2685–2699. 

Miller SM, Gynther BD, Heslop KR, Liu GB, Mitchell PB, Ngo TT, Pettigrew JD, Geffen LB (2003). Slow binocular rivalry in bipolar disorder. Psychological Medicine 33 (4): 683–692. 

Miller SM, Liu GB, Ngo TT, Hooper G, Riek S, Carson RG, Pettigrew JD (2000). Interhemispheric switching mediates perceptual rivalry. Current Biology 10 (7): 383–392. 

Ngo TT, Miller, SM, Liu GB, Pettigrew JD (2000). Binocular rivalry and perceptual coherence. Current Biology 10 (4): R134–R136.

 

Reviews

Law PCF, Paton BK, Thomson RH, Liu GB, Miller SM, Ngo TT (2013). Dichoptic viewing methods for binocular rivalry research: Prospects for large-scale clinical and genetic studies. Twin Research and Human Genetics 16 (6): 1033–1078. 

Miller SM, Ngo TT, van Swinderen B (2012). Attentional switching in humans and flies: Rivalry in large and miniature brains. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 5: 188. 

Ngo TT, Mitchell PB, Martin NG, Miller SM (2011). Psychiatric and genetic studies of binocular rivalry: An endophenotype for bipolar disorder? Acta Neuropsychiatrica 23(1): 37–42.

Been G, Ngo TT, Miller SM, Fitzgerald PB (2007). The use tDCS and CVS as methods of non-invasive brain stimulation. Brain Research Reviews 56 (2): 346–361.

Miller SM, Ngo TT (2007). Studies of caloric vestibular stimulation: Implications for the cognitive neurosciences, the clinical neurosciences and neurophilosophy. Acta Neuropsychiatrica 19 (3): 183–203. 

 

Book chapters

Ngo TT, Barsdell WN, Law PCF, Miller SM (2013). Binocular rivalry, brain stimulation and bipolar disorder. In S. M. Miller (Ed.), The constitution of visual consciousness: Lessons from binocular rivalry (pp. 211–252). Advances in Consciousness Research (Vol. 90). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company. 

Wade NJ, Ngo TT (2013). Early views on binocular rivalry. In S. M. Miller (Ed.), The constitution of visual consciousness: Lessons from binocular rivalry (pp. 77–108). Advances in Consciousness Research (Vol. 90). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

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