Associate Professor Zack Shan | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Associate Professor Zack Shan

PhD Cleveland State University/Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland; Master, Institute of Chemistry, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; BSc (Hons), Southeast University, Nanjing, China

  • Associate Professor, Head of Neuroimaging Platform
  • Thompson Institute
Office location
USC Thompson Institute
Zack Shan

Associate Professor Zack Shan heads the Neuroimaging platform at the UniSC Thompson Institute and leads research into myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

Zack is a biomedical engineer specialised in brain imaging and analysis of brain imaging data. His research has been focused on integrative translational neuroimaging, which included

  • generating and testing hypotheses and identifying brain changes underlying neurological and mental disorders; and
  • developing predictive brain models for disease diagnosis and prognosis leveraged machine learning techniques and increased brain image data accumulation at the Thompson Institute.

The ME/CFS project aims to understand the underlying illness process of ME/CFS and develop brain imaging criteria that will aid ME/CFS diagnoses. The study is the first to investigate brain function in ME/CFS in energy supplies and chemical messengers.

Research Grants

  • ME Research UK, £419,485; Non-invasive MR imaging of chronic neuroinflammation in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS); Shan Z, Lagopoulos J, Del Fante P, Kwiatek R. Jun/23 – Jun/26.
  • Mason Foundation, $354,600; Dynamic Monitoring the Central Parasympathetic Modulation to Elucidate Neurological Underpinnings of Post-Exertional Malaise and Non-restorative Sleep; Shan Z, Kwiatek R, Del Fante P. Feb/23 – Feb/26.
  • NHMRC Ideas Grant, $1,269,546; Multimodal MRI of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Understanding its Neuropathophysiology and Developing an Objective Neuromarker; Shan Z, Kwiatek R, Del Fante P, Calhoun VD, Bhuta S. 01/20 – 12/24.

Higher Degree Research (HDR) opportunities

Opportunities are available for Honours and PhD research projects. Research will employ cutting-edge neuroimaging methods combined with quantitative, data-driven modelling and analyses for:

  • Machine learning applications in neuroimaging
  • Neurological underpins of unrefreshing sleep in ME/CFS
  • Neuroimaging of central autonomic control
  • Individual mental risk/disease severity prediction using multimodal MRIs
  • Imaging interactions between the immune and central nervous system.

In the news

Research areas

  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
  • Translational neuroimaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Medical image computing
  • Machine learning

One of Zack's most recent and impactful research papers reveals that brain scanning could predict whether a young person will develop a mental illness. This opens new possibilities for the future of mental healthcare.

Zack is lead author of this research paper, discussed in our article in The Conversation and in our national webinar.

View Zack's full list of publications.

Dr Zack Shan is the Senior Research Fellow in Neuroimaging, and his specialist areas of knowledge including neuroimaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), medical image computing, artificial intelligence, multivariate analysis, machine learning and deep learning, and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

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In the news

Novel brain imaging study seeks answers to chronic fatigue mystery
30 Nov 2022

Vibrant and full of energy, occupational rehabilitation consultant Nadia was living her best life - until the fatigue took hold.