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I completed my BSc in Cognitive Psychology and MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oslo. For my year-long MSc project, I worked with a research group at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging on a project on anaesthesia and consciousness, supervised by Dr. Katie Warnaby. This is the same project as I continue working on for my DPhil.

During the first year of my MSc, I worked as a research assistant for a large neuropharmacological study on the role of opioids in reward processing.

For my BSc thesis, I conducted a small empirical study on the cognitive representation of social status relations using a social comparison response latency paradigm.

Jostein Holmgren

BSc, MSc

DPhil Student

Investigating anaesthesia and consciousness using multimodal neuroimaging


In my research I investigate how anaesthesia causes loss of awareness of the external world using multimodal neuroimaging techniques. I am particularly interested in the neural mechanisms of anaesthesia at the level of interacting brain regions, and its relevance to the neuroscientific basis of consciousness in general.

My DPhil project initally focuses on the development of an individualised measure of depth of
anaesthesia based on real-time measurements of the brain’s electrical activity. My supervisors and their colleagues recently identified a pattern of changes in brain activity with increasing dose of anaesthesia that may indicate that an individual is unaware of the external world. This pattern, known as slow-wave activity saturation (SWAS), was subsequently parameterised and detected in noisy clinical environments, even in the presence of muscle relaxants and opioids routinely delivered alongside anaesthesia. SWAS may therefore be a clinically important endpoint for anaesthesia delivery.

The next stages of the clinical translation of SWAS include 1) developing a robust method of identifying SWAS in real-time and 2) validating the SWAS endpoint by demonstrating perceptual isolation when titrating anaesthesia delivery to achieve SWAS.

Recent publications

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